When Saving the Customer Money…Backfires!

A few months back a customer came in with a broken seat frame on her Honda Pilot. The car had over 150,000 miles on it and the seat frame broke through use. Replacing the seat frame, with labor, would be well over $1100. My foreman recommended welding the frame, saving the customer hundreds and hundreds of dollars. Two months later the car returned with the seat frame broken in a different spot.

Explaining this to the customer was difficult. She paid for a repair and wanted satisfaction. The service advisor informed her that the seat frame broke in a different spot and that we were looking to save her money by welding the frame, as opposed to replacing it. She asked why she was not given a choice.

After a few go-arounds with the customer, the service advisor told her we would credit what she paid on the weld repair toward the job of replacing the seat frame. She was okay with this.

The lesson here is to clearly explain all of the options to the customer. Don’t let your first inclination to save the customer money keep you from letting the customer decide what the repair should be. Present all the options, the pros and cons, and always have the customer involved in the decision-making process. You can certainly give your opinion, but you should not decide for the customer. Plus, we need to clearly state all the options on the invoice and review them again at the time of car delivery.

This article was contributed by Joe Marconi, one of the top shop owners in the country, and a business coach that helps other shop owners reach their goals through the Elite Coaching Program.

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