We have all felt that empty feeling in our gut when a client walks back in the door with the “look” shortly after installing that new set of tires on their BMW. As they uncomfortably begin to describe some rim damage that didn’t exist when the car was dropped off…yuck.
Yes, you have policies in place to address such situations, but for whatever reason, the training on quality control has failed and now you are left to deal with the fallout. What next?
It is obvious there is a quality control issue that must be addressed, but how you take the next steps are very critical to the image of your business, as well as the credibility of your team. The first step is to remain calm while reviewing with the client their concerns. Walk out to the vehicle and allow them to express what they feel is of issue. Once you have listened and observed with sincerity, start the process of restoration.
In our case, we had an incorrect set up on the tire machine with a low profile run-flat that ultimately allowed contact with the rim. This scratched the lip in multiple places. In addition, the technician continued with the installation without stopping to involve the advisor so we could get in front of the issue with the client. The technician did tell the advisor, but the timing was such that the client looked at the assembly on the car prior to checking out. Imagine how much easier this would have been had the advisor gotten to the client immediately to make them aware and assure them that we would professionally restore or replace the wheel.
Needless to say, I spent the next day with each and every technician reviewing the situation and the importance of why we have policy and process in place. Our technicians are now well aware of what to do (stop immediately and report the issue to the advising team) if damage occurs or could occur to a client’s vehicle, and understand the importance of getting in “front” of these concerns.
A better example this week where a technician wisely notated worn lug nuts and a partially damaged center cap “before” we began work. He gave the advisor a quick heads up that enabled a client visit to the vehicle to see in person and discuss the concerns. Not only did we replace the brakes on the car, but also replaced 20 lug-nuts and 4 center caps! The service concluded with the client scheduling another vehicle for service and thanking our team for being honest and helping resolve the issues. (This ain’t rocket science folks.)
If you are in the automotive service business, incidents can and will happen. Coach and train your team on how to handle these situations, and demonstrate how important timing is with advising your client. Your shop's reputation and credibility ride on it.