DEVELOP A FAMILY TECHNICIAN, LIKE A PHYSICIAN
Unfortunately, tales of crooked mechanics are as prevalent as crooked politician stories, resulting in most car owners being wary or downright defensive before they even walk in a repair shop’s door. Auto Technicians are human too, and know how it feels to be on both sides of that service counter. Here are a few suggestions for dealing with your automotive technician / repair shop in a way that will benefit both of you.
- Be loyal to a good technician. A good technician knows that he / she needs to provide you with honest, quality work at a fair price if they want your loyalty. If you find a repair shop that does this, don’t “shop around.” A tech or repair shop that you’ve developed a win-win relationship with will often reward your loyalty by waiving minor fees or offering special incentives to their best customers.
- Offer trust. There are times that repairing the most immediate or obvious problem results in identifying other, often more serious issues that could not be readily diagnosed prior to the repair work. A good technician will communicate this possibility to you during the diagnostic phase; be prepared and do not become defensive when it happens. If you know your technician well, you should trust that he / she is telling you the truth, and not trying to “upsell” you. Remember, your technician didn’t cause the problem – he’s just the messenger.
- Communicate openly. If you have had your car somewhere else for repairs within the last 6 months, tell your technician up-front exactly what was done. If you have noticed fluid under the car, strange noises, running problems, or any other out-of-the-ordinary behavior, tell your technician when you bring the car in.
- Be honest about the problem. Some people think that if they tell the mechanic too much the bill will be larger. Just the opposite is true. Hiding symptoms may result in additional diagnosis (which costs money) or worse, may result is an incomplete or improper repair. Sharing everything you know about what the car is doing is the way to the lowest possible repair bill.
- Don’t expect miracles. Be realistic about your expectations on vehicle performance, outcome of repairs etc. A 10 year old is just that.
- Refer the garage to friends. The best compliment is to bring the shop new business based on your good relationship.
- Appreciate. If your technician went above and beyond the call of duty, or even just did a good job, send a note to his boss or the Service Manager. Phone calls are good but don’t provide the same effect as written documentation. The mechanic usually will see the letter and get a bonus for his good work. And, chances are, they’ll remember you next time.
- Respect. Technicians have to study hundreds of systems and models. Their job is much harder than the reward or respect they receive.