How often has a customer given you ‘the look’ after you hand back the keys to their car and tell them that you found areas of concern in their vehicle that are issues they should have rectified?
They’re giving you that look because they don’t trust you. And having that trust is crucial in the relationship between shop and customer, explained Jay Buckley, head of product management and tech team lead at Dayco.
Something he’d commonly hear when he owned his own shop was the customer asking why they’re being told their vehicle needs other work done when they bring it in for something completely different. They feel like problems are being found just so the shop can make more money.
He’ll tell them “If you go in to the doctor because you have the flu, what’s the first thing they do? They put you on a scale and take your blood pressure. How come? He’s responsible for your health. Your mechanic is responsible for the health of your car. He would not be doing his job if he didn’t take a quick look front-to-back, regardless of what you’re in there for.”
That’s their job, after all. If a technician is doing a brake job and they see a ball joint about to fall apart and don’t inform the customer, there could be serious consequences. “Two days later, you [could be] broke down on the side of the road, or worse yet, you’ve caused an accident or injured yourself — that’s my fault as a technician because I didn’t inform you. It’s my responsibility,” Buckley, an ASE certified technician, explained.
When it’s put that way, the customer usually gets it.
“Yes, there are high-pressure guys out there that will try to sell [consumers] things you don’t need. That just underscores the importance of forming a good relationship with the people who take care of your car,” Buckley added.
By doing that, you can avoid dealing with customers who are merely price shoppers. People need to learn to love their technician, Buckley told Auto Service World. Show them why your shops should be trusted. Show off your credentials and training certificates. A doctor puts their degree on the wall so why can’t a technician proudly show off what they’ve earned?
“When you walk into a place and the wall’s full of ASE certifications and other training diplomas [showing] that they’ve constantly kept their skill set up to date, you’re probably in the right place,” he said in an interview. “If you walk in and nobody’s licensed or certified, and there’s no evidence of any ongoing training in today’s insanely complex automotive world, well, you probably should keep looking.”