3 Reasons Why Auto Service Advisors Can Avoid the "Customer Is Always Right" Policy
“The customer is always right” is one of the most enduring ideas in customer service… and also one that can be a little flawed. Yes, customers might leave temporarily happy if you just go along with everything they say—but after a day, a week, a year? Odds get better and better that they’ll wish they had gone with what you said.
In auto service, this policy is an especially bad fit. With customer safety and significant amounts of their money at stake, it’s important for auto service advisors to deliver not just what the customer wants, but what the customer needs.
Here are three specific reasons why auto service advisors can sometimes ignore the “customer is always right” policy.
1. Auto Service Advisors Are Paid for Their Expertise & Should Provide It
Completing auto service advisor training will turn you into an expert at determining a car’s needs for repair and refurbishment. As a result, you will be much better at determining what is wrong with a car than the owner. Though it is important to take an owner’s concerns into consideration when looking into a car’s issues, that does not mean you need to indulge them by checking into nonexistent problems you have confirmed the car does not have.
For example, if a customer insists that a fan belt issue is causing their car to squeak, but you have confirmed that the fan belt is not the problem, don’t feel pressured to have the fan belt looked at again if the customer wants you to. Instead, try explaining why you believe other causes might be creating the issue.
2. If a Repair Job Will Cost More Than Expected, Don’t Let a Customer Insist on the Original Price
Though part of your job as an auto service advisor will be to provide accurate estimates of what a repair job will cost, it’s important to remember that this is just an estimate. New problems are often discovered while a repair is being made, and this can sometimes lead to a bill increasing to a far higher price.
While negotiating bills is not uncommon in the automotive industry, and is a fine thing to do when there is added expense, it is important to remember that there is a reasonable limit to the amount of negotiation you should do. Again, your resources are valuable, and you don’t have to give away a ton of services because a repair is going to cost more than the estimate. If a customer pushes you for a bill that is lower than reasonable, be confident in standing your ground and explaining why it’s important.
3. “The Customer Is Always Right” Can Degrade Auto Service Advisors’ Professional Relationships
It’s important to remember that you will likely be working as a part of a team of professionals during your automotive service advisor career. Respect and trust among team members can make a business work efficiently, and promote a healthy work environment in which everyone can meet their potential. Having a policy where the customer is always right, though, can be an obstacle to this ideal scenario.
It’s not uncommon for employees to feel betrayed or ignored when management simply goes along with whatever the customer says, or doesn’t push back against rude behaviour. This can lead them to invest less energy in their work, or to seek out employment in a different location—both bad news for an automotive business.
A customer is just one of many people coming and going from your place of business, but a happy, contributing professional adds value to a business every day. If ever you are in a position to contribute to workplace policy at an automotive business, don’t be afraid to voice this concern. A smart business owner knows that a functioning team is more important than a single difficult customer’s request.
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