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How to counter a comeback vehicle

Thursday, October 25, 2018 - 06:00
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With the complexity of modern vehicles and the environment they work in, having comebacks and repeat repairs is inevitable. However, some steps and processes can minimize them and their negative effects on your business and customers.

Above all else, when it comes to repeat repairs, we need to keep the customer in mind and limit their inconveniences and hassles. Keeping them informed and fixing the issue as quickly as possible will hopefully gain their trust back and give some understanding of the situation.

Comebacks are the result of several varying issues: miscommunication between the customer and advisor, advisor and tech, part failures, misdiagnosis, and so on. Many are preventable, and some are not. It’s in the handling of the situation that will make the difference, though it is best to prevent comebacks from happening in the first place.

Understanding the customer’s exact concerns and preventing them

This requires spending time with the customer and their vehicle to understand the issue fully. Many times, the customer’s expectations can be the cause of the issue, not you. Other times, it is just the customer’s inability to explain their problem.

These types of comebacks are the easiest to prevent. You can simply go out to the car with the customer and verify their exact concern. Road testing is a great first step. Yes, this is going to take time and effort, but in the long run, it will save you time, money, and customers.

This is especially important when customers have noise issues with their vehicles. What bothers one person, another person (tech) may not hear. I had a customer come in about a noise in their car. I started the car, and the whole lower dash assembly began to vibrate and make a noise loud enough that I had to raise my voice to be heard over it. “Do you hear the noise now?” I asked. She responds, “No. You have to drive for it to happen.” I wondered to myself, “What could it be if not this noise? Is this car even safe to drive?”

I put it into drive and, as the RPM fluctuated, I heard a “zing” noise from under the car. “There it is! That’s it!” She exclaimed over the dashboard noise. I put the car into park, re-engaged drive, and the zing noise repeated itself. I immediately recognize the noise as the catalytic converter shield vibrating loosely due to some rusted welds.

If any tech was given this car, I can assure you that they would have immediately blamed and fixed the lower dash assembly. Imagine giving the vehicle back to the customer with the dash noise fixed but not the converter shield. She would not have been very happy!

A failed part

Comebacks that are the result of a replaced part failure will happen. The easiest way to avoid this is to use quality parts. Quality parts are not only better but often come with warranties that cover some of the replacement cost in the event of premature failure. Take care to have all your documentation in place so if an issue does occur; you have a minimum delay in getting the needed parts and reimbursed.

Shop and industry failures

Then there are the repeat repairs and comebacks that are the result of misdiagnosis, improperly performed work, accidents, and so on. No matter the cause, the number one priority is to keep the customer happy and back on the road. Investigate the root cause during and after the repair without delaying the completion and return of the vehicle.

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