When you start your own business, your initial goal is to make every customer happy. But as the years go on, you realize some people aren’t going to be happy no matter how good of a job you do.
I’ve come to realize that it’s just some people’s nature to always be argumentative, find a way to complain or give every type of serviceperson they encounter a hard time. While your run-of-the-mill misanthropes are bad enough, it’s the people who try to get you to work for free that really drive me crazy.
I’ve run into many of these people over my decades servicing cars. Let’s be generous and refer to them as “price shoppers,” as opposed to some of the more creative names that come to mind. We all know with a bit of effort, somewhere out there you can find a cheaper part. And if you can find the part cheaper, there’s no doubt you’ll find someone to install that part cheaper, too. The thing these price shoppers never consider is that sometimes you get what you pay for — that goes for everything from brake pads to body work.
Where you really run into trouble dealing with price shoppers is when you get into diagnostic work. Case in point, diagnostic charges. Diagnostics is NOT repair work. Wherever these people came up with the idea that a serviceperson should spend an hour or more figuring out a problem on their vehicle and then give them that hour free of charge is absolutely absurd. I tend to tell people who ask me for free diagnostics to try going to work every day and then only ask for half a paycheck at the end of the week to see how they like it. As I’ve always said, “Stupid is free, knowledge will cost you.”
There are those out there who will tell you to forget about these types of customers and only dwell on the good ones. But, when you’re in the business of working with the general public, how do you know who is who before you take on a job? I still can’t tell.
When I first started, I had no idea there were people out there who would try to nickel and dime you on every service. I soon found out that there will always be people who think they know more than you about what your services are worth. They just can’t accept the fact that they actually have to pay for your years of knowledge, expertise and quality service if they want a quality repair.
It’s a good thing I don’t run across people like this very often, but it seems like it’s always too late before I realize I’m actually dealing with a price shopper. The good news is that once you know who you’re dealing with, you can be more proactive in dealing (or not dealing) with them in the future. All in all, it’s good to know the difference between the ones you can help and the ones you can’t. That’s when all you can do is remind yourself, “You can’t please them all.”