It’s rare these days to see a successful shop that is “just” good at fixing cars. Shop owners, service advisors and technicians often have to be a mix of marketing guru, customer service rep and expert salesman just to get customers in the door.
The shops that are bringing in customers then have to worry about keeping up with the technology and training that today’s increasingly sophisticated — and specialized — cars demand. In short, there are a lot of demands being placed on repair professionals.
Despite these demands, sometimes slowing down and sticking the basics is the best way to ensure you’re taking care of the customer.
Case in point, I hopped in an Uber the other day that had one headlight out. When I mentioned it to the driver, he responded with, “Oh, man, I was just in the shop a couple weeks ago to get one replaced. I wish they just would’ve replaced both while I was there.”
In a similar situation, I recently took my car in to get new rotors. It just so happened that the low-wiper-fluid light also came on a few days earlier. When I drove the car home after it was test driven, inspected and repaired, the pads and rotors worked great, but the dummy light was still illuminated on account of the near-empty reservoir.
Neglecting to install a set of headlights in pairs and overlooking a vehicle’s washer fluid — not a big deal, right? In the grand scheme of things, maybe not. But, at the very least, it planted a seed of doubt in my mind about how thorough these shops would be if entrusted to tackle a more complex job.
Retired Admiral William McRaven, who served as a Navy SEAL for almost four decades and oversaw the raid on Osama Bin Laden, gave a 2014 commencement speech at the University of Texas that has since gone viral (you can find it on YouTube). In it, he champions the importance of completing one simple task every day: making your bed in the morning.
“If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.”
In this industry, it’s easy to get caught up in the parking lot full of cars that need service or worry about the diagnostic training that the next generation of vehicles will require. But if you won’t take the time to be thorough with the basics today, how can your customers trust you when they need that $3,000 head gasket replacement tomorrow?