I wanted to take a little bit to share some of my recent customer stories. Some good expeiances and some bad.
Customers, what can I say? There are many different types of people in this world, some make great customers, and some you would rather avoid. There are some that will take up all your time with really unimportant questions, and you will happily answer all of them and spend the time with them only to have them say it COSTS HOW MUCH? For example, I had a lady that took over a half hour of my time to ask me about a small part she found on her garage floor which was a small rubber drain elbow for her air conditioning system.
When she arrived, we took the car in right away, while we were checking it out. she asked me all types of questions about the part, the shop, another customers Cadillac ect. All of which I was happy to answer, the shop charged her far less then a half hour labor to re-install the part for her. And with that she complained as if we should have spent this time and charged her nothing. Had we worked on the car previously and knocked it loose ect we would have, had she been a regular customer probably. This would be a customer I would rather avoid because, she will take your time, and will try to avoid adequate compensation.
Another story recently was a Father/Son team, who brought in an older vehicle that would classify as a beater. They actually pushed the car to the shop with the family van. The car was a no start with over 245K miles on it. They had taken it to another shop previously for this symptom which had happend 2 times recently to them. The other shop sold them a fuel system cleaning and a set of spark plugs as it was "flooded". The customer stated it would start with starting fluid then die. Which sounds to be a fuel issue as in too little vs. flooding with too much fuel. When I was filling out the work order I had asked if there was any additional contact numbers. The son said yea call my cell because my dad will not answer his phone.
So we diagnosed the vehicle, it needed a fuel pump along with the fuel filter which appeared to be original. I called the Son, and told him what we found with our diagnosis, and gave him the estimate and the total of the time we had in the car for diagnosis. He said ok, I said so you want us to go ahead and replace the fuel pump? he said yes, I said ok we'll get going on it and give you a call when it's done or if anything else comes up.
I start on the the job, and have the fuel tank removed along with the fuel filter. The father then calls to check on the car. I recapped everything I told his son, he asked what the total would be I gave him the same numbers as the son. He then sounded upset, said I guess your doing it then, bye and hung up on me. The son later picked up the car without any problems. The Father seemed very rude, even though it's not my fault the repair was more then the car is worth, or that his Son ok'd the job which he agreed to have him as our contact as it was his car.
Here is a shot of the old fuel filter from this vehicle, the dark fluid in the tray is the gas from the filter with all the black particulate build up from inside.
As you may see more often then not most auto repair stories are negative. Mainly because noone wants to spend money on their car, take time out of their schedule to drop off their car, or be without transportation. I do have many good customers though, with sucessful results.
One customer recently who is a great customer, came into the shop with his pickup leaking coolant. After pressure checking the cooling system, I found a leak at a gasket on the intake manifold. I reccomended we replace the intake as it is plastic and could be warped or cracked. This was an expensive repair, I explained we could try replacing the gaskets if everything looks ok ie no crackes in the plastic ect. He said no go ahead and do the whole thing. Didn't argue the cost of the repair or anything. He came in the next day to check on it while I was reassembling the intake. Very happy nice guy, I showed him the cracked plastic (Shown Below) I found which showed him why I had reccomended the intake before I removed it.
These kind of customers I would do anything I could for, need a ride home or be picked up no problem. Anything to get them in the door right away when they have a problem. Now don't get me wrong, the complaining cheap customers I will still preform the same level of quality of repair for. It's the little extra things I will not go above and beyond for. So treat people how you would like to be treated right...