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Walk the Talk

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Good intentions aren’t hard to find in the auto care industry. You’d be hard pressed to come across a shop operator anywhere in the country that doesn’t pride themselves on providing great customer service or high-quality repairs. When we’re hunting for features and ask shop leaders what makes their businesses stand out, those two attributes are the most frequent answers, hands down.

And those answers are legit for many shops, at least in the sense that the concepts are understood and processes have been developed to implement them. But sometimes a shop leader’s perception of their business doesn’t match reality—sometimes there’s a breakdown somewhere along the way that prevents the proper execution of ideas. That’s when it’s important to maintain a system of checks and balances—of quality control—to ensure all work is being carried out as it should be.

Case in point: I brought my wife’s car to a highly-acclaimed shop on a recent Saturday for an oil change. This is a shop that touts the ability to take walk-in oil changes no matter what (though I still called ahead anyway). I was told I’d get a call when the job was done and since I was hosting my son’s birthday party that afternoon, I was able to leave it for much of the day.

But hours went by, the call never came and by the time I called after a busy afternoon, the shop was closed—until Monday. After a frustrating Sunday with no vehicle for my wife, I called Monday morning to see if there was ever any intention of letting me know the car was done, or if they intended to hold it indefinitely, and they seemed surprised. Someone clearly thought the call had been made, though I wonder how long they would have shuffled the vehicle around before someone realized that hadn’t happened.

After receiving a coupon for discounted service and an apology, I was over it. My positive previous experiences at the shop made up for this one negative one. But what if I were a first-time customer? I probably wouldn’t be back.

Just a simple reminder to ensure that your business holds true to your vision of it—that you have steps in place to check on the strategies that should be driving your success.


Jake Weyer, editor

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