'What Would You Do?'
Every shop owner runs into 'situations.'
Editor's note: Shop owners run into "situations" all the time - situations that leave them scratching their heads, trying to figure out how to resolve the issue fairly to everyone concerned. They want to make the right decision in solving a dilemma, but things are not always black and white. Sometimes there are gray areas. Following is a good example of just such a dilemma. What would you do?
A customer has been bringing in her vehicle to this shop for the past five years. Every oil change, every service recommendation and every repair has been performed by this shop.
Three years ago, when the customer purchased a set of new tires, she requested the shop to rotate the tires every other oil change. She agreed to pay the shop extra for this service, even though the tire store would have rotated the tires for free.
The last two years, she forgot to ask to have the tires rotated. This caused the front tires to wear out much faster than the rear. The front tires now need to be replaced, but the rear tires still look new.
The customer is requesting the shop do something since they neglected to recommend the rotations.
What would you do?
• Amy Herndon, manager, Cool Air Automotive Inc., North Richland Hills, Texas – “As a shop manager, I would feel it necessary to take care of this customer. We and our loyal customer have agreed on this service so it was in part our responsibility to look at the rotation history and view what has or has not been done. We should have been checking the tire condition, not just the pressure at every oil change.
“I would offer to offset a portion of the cost of two new tires due to the excessive wear. I need to take care of her since she and all my other loyal customers are the reason we continue to stay in business. Word-of-mouth is the best form of advertisement.”
• Charlene Parlett, AAM, owner, Southeast Auto Service & Repair, Hinesville, Ga. – “The loyalty of this customer affects how we would handle it, and it looks like the shop should take at least partial responsibility for dropping the ball. Regardless of whether the customer requested the rotations or not, we are her trusted professionals!
“The tech should have noted the tire wear at each visit and recommended to rotate the tires (if it was recommended and declined, that would be a different story). A good shop management system would also help by allowing easy access to the original request to rotate every other oil change as well as the service history, perhaps helping to avoid this scenario altogether by giving the service adviser the chance to make the same recommendation missed by the tech.
“Depending on the condition of the front tires, we would offer free rotations for the duration of life left in them, as well as a free alignment to make sure there are no other issues affecting the tire wear. We would also alternatively offer the customer a prorated discount to replace them, as well as lifetime rotations and a free alignment when we put the new ones on.”
• What the shop did for the customer – The shop took full responsibility since none of its technicians ever recommended that the tires be rotated. She needed two front tires. Each tire cost about $100. Because the two tires cost approximately $200, the customer was offered $100 cash plus two free oil changes, or $200 in store credit. She ended up taking the $200 in store credit.
• T.J. Reilly’s thoughts on the dilemma – The customer definitely has some responsibility here since the tire store had told her to have them rotated. I don’t think the shop is liable. That being said, I think the shop did the right thing. Too often, shop owners overlook the value of a customer and that person’s referrals.
I’m guessing that this shop is probably not using a vehicle inspection sheet, or the inspection sheet doesn’t have tire wear noted on it. Without a checklist for your technicians to refer to, it’s almost impossible for them to remember every possible service item. Did you know that every time you get on a commercial flight, that both the pilot and co-pilot use a checklist?
Would you like to participate in an upcoming “What Would You Do?” feature by saying how you would handle the problem? If so, just email your name and the name of your shop and its location to Levy Joffrion, assistant editor of AutoInc., at email@example.com.
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