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Listen To Your Customers – They May Be Smarter Than You Think

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Preventive maintenance makes sense from both a shop and consumer standpoint. Servicing techs who point out and make necessary repairs not only help keep their customers’ vehicles in top-running condition, but they gain customer trust and confidence in the process.

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Consumers win by avoiding bigger ticket repairs down the road and increasing the longevity of their vehicles.

I’m a firm believer in preventive maintenance — including periodic battery and brake checks, regular oil changes, tire rotations, you name it.

Recently, I made an appointment for a tire rotation at the independent tire dealer where I bought my tires, albeit a little earlier than the mileage requirement because my TPMS light was on.

When I checked the car in with the service adviser, I pointed out that my TPMS light was on and asked them to please pinpoint and inspect the suspect tire.

Hours later when I arrived to pick up my car, the person at the front desk printed me a receipt, handed over my keys and was ready to send me on my way.

Not so fast! I proceeded to ask if they were able to determine which tire was activating the TPMS light. He looked at me with a puzzled look (probably wondering why I was asking, because most people probably don’t), called up my account on the computer, and said he’d be back in a minute.

He went into the bay area to speak with the “tire manager,” and, when he returned, was very apologetic, saying that they had dropped the ball. Even though one of my tires was nine pounds underinflated, the tire tech filled it up to spec and proceeded with the rotation. Apparently, this newer tech pointed out the air pressure discrepancy, but neither he, nor anyone else, did anything about it.

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They immediately pulled my car back in to figure out what was wrong. Turns out, it was a rim leak due to corrosion on the wheel, which they promptly addressed.

While no immediate harm was done, I would have been back as soon as the TPMS light reappeared.

I could have gotten upset with the situation, especially working in the business and having higher expectations, but I didn’t. It was because of how quickly they resolved the problem and “made good” on their error.

So, here’s the takeaway:

  • Even if you think you have all the proper systems and procedures in place, periodically take the time to review them. (My air pressure discrepancy should have been documented and addressed before the car was returned to me.)
  • Listen to your customers; they may be smarter than you think. (I specifically asked that they pinpoint which tire was responsible for the TPMS going on, and they were ready to return my car without providing an explanation.)
  • If you go the extra mile to make up for an error, customers can be very forgiving. (The extra attention and a free oil change coupon definitely “inflated” my opinion of this shop.)

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