Allpar Forums banner

1 - 2 of 2 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,828 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I was rooting around the site today and I found that series of articles written by the woman who owns/owned the independent repair shop. I have to say that I thought don't reflect well on this site at all. The common thread through all of them seems to be that the author and her shop were constantly under great financial strain, the employees were all crooks and the customers were morons, but at the same time, the author ran an extremely sucessful business and found the work gratifying, all with a high and mighty tone that really put me off.
I have a couple of suggestions for the author, based on my own personal experience:

- Word of mouth is EVERYTHING. I, for one, am extremely vocal about my experiences at any business. If I don't like the service, I won't go back. It's not fair to assume that I'm a sheep who's just going to flee to Wal-Mart, either. I like and support local businesses. If I have to, I'll drive out of my way to go somewhere else. I help friends and family members with their vehicles as well, and I think that my opinion is pretty well-respected based on the fact that I keep a 19-year-old car on the road by doing as much of my own work as I can. If I tell people that your shop has poor customer service, they will probably go somewhere else. The ASE ratings are great, but they can be very, very hollow. We had a dealer in the area that was "Five Star" rated by Chrysler that was pretty much universally considered to be crooked. The rating says that you can turn the wrench, but means nothing if you're condescending to the customer.

- The customer is number one. We are not all crooks and morons who know nothing about cars. Many of us are embarrassed to admit that we need car help, that's the primary reason we "lie". A car that's out of order could reflect poorly on us, and people are embarrassed to admit that their lives could be out of order too, especially to someone who treats customers poorly for the sake of being right. I'm talking about the interchange between the husband of the woman whose car was "messed up" by the author's shop with the dash indicator light. The loss of that customer could have been avoided by avoiding the condescending, snide, superior tone that the author assumed. The focus seems to have shifted from the customer to the shop. For example, I volunteer as a motorman and conductor at an electric railway museum that has seen some rough times, with low visitor counts and a couple of poor reviews. Things are improving for us, but some of the staff seem to insist that the museum run like an operating railroad, to a very strict timetable. My concern is visitors first, and I have gotten reprimanded a couple of times for taking too long to talk with the passengers, etc. My question is always "Will (blank) satisfy the visitor more?" I know I would prefer to have staff give me more attention than to have the streetcar to nowhere and back leave at 12:50 on the nose. It's the same thing with customers. I would rather not be treated like an idiot, regardless of how impeccable the service is. And that attitude that customers are lying, stealing scum who come to track dirt all over shows. Again, personal experience: I work at a call center for my school, calling potential donors. Many of our prospects do not want to be solicited, and one actually accused me of being an "instrument of Satan" for calling on Sunday. More often than not, I get hung up on, or cursed at. But I have to actually BELIEVE that EACH AND EVERY person I call is sitting, waiting to write me out a check in order to convince some wishy-washy folks to give. If I call expecting to be hung up on or to have epithets hurled at me, people will be able to sense that, no matter how hard I fake it, and I won't make money. If I were running a business, I would treat the customer the same way. Even if I feel that most customers are crooks, I have to BELIEVE that they aren't until they prove me wrong or give me a reason to doubt them. Customers are people, not money containers that pour into your business, and people are extremely sensitive to non-verbal cues.

-While I agree that some employees are crooked and that care needs to be taken in hiring, a mistrusted employee is unproductive and unhappy. Gratification is just as important as money, and employees are not idiots, either. As an employee, I realize when I'm being given hollow titles, and a stack of business cards isn't going to satisfy my desire to "make it". I would much rather be told, sincerely (again, something that people can sense), that I'm a fantastic tech and that I've been a tremendous asset, given examples of things I've done that nobody else would have been trusted with, etc. That makes me feel that I am of value for something other than simply producing repairs. Again, the author fails to realize that the employees are people, not robots, and a LOT of external factors play in to how well they work. A 30-year ASE certified tech isn't a dummy, either. While the author may have a general understanding of vehicle repair and maintenance and certainly has more business-running experience, it's completely unfair to assume that they are morons who should be kept subordinate at all costs. While structure is necessary in any organization, there is a less condescending way to do things.

The whole attitude of these articles really ground my gears. Think of this as a "user review", I guess.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
35,254 Posts
You do have a point in that some problems may be self-fulfilling.

The gist I got was that for the most part she had a good relationship with customers and staff, but was picking out some problems from 20-30 years of operation to alert other small business owners (and customers) to the issues so they (and they) don't have the same problems.
 
1 - 2 of 2 Posts
Top