Is Your Mechanic “Pushy” or Informative?

12. November, 2014


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I just read an article in a trade magazine that brought a question to my mind. The article was titled “Time For Service Advisors To Get Pushy”. I have worked in dealerships and independent repair shops and have seen “pushy” sales tactics that customers have been subjected to. I have also seen honest maintenance advice. The question I have is how do customers feel about advice on vehicle needs?   So…I would like some feedback as to what your thoughts are here.

I know it is not an easy thing to hear that your car is due for some maintenance. You take your vehicle in to have something repaired and then you hear “Your car is due for a coolant flush”, or it is time for a 60,000 mile service. $$$… Well, the truth is that yes, your car will last longer if it is maintained. I have seen a situation where a customer didn’t get the cooling system serviced and it became so rusted up that it could not be reversed. The freeze plugs were rusting from the inside. That particular vehicle owner wanted it fixed, after five complete power flushes, it was still not clean. Will this happen any time that a cooling service is not service per maintenance recommendations? No. Could it happen? Yes.

On the other side of the story you have service advisors that are paid on commission for what they sell.  Hmmm, does that create a situation where you might get sold things you don’t really need?  Kind of seems like that could happen.  I have never agreed with commission sales tactics for auto repair and service. What I hear from my customers is that they want to trust what their mechanic tells them. In some cases, the customer doesn’t really know a lot about their cars and how they work, so it seems that customer could be a very easy target for “pushy” sales tactics.

OK, back to the question, when you take your car in for service do you appreciate being told what your car needs, or does that come off as “pushy”?   I have heard customers say, “nobody ever explained it like that before” when I tell them what can happen if the maintenance is neglected. I know car repairs and maintenance are expensive, I also know that not doing it can be more expensive. Do car owners get taken advantage of in some cases? Yes they do.   How do you know if you are taken advantage of, or if you are being care of? Do you feel that when your mechanic tells you your car needs something that he is just trying to drive the bill up, or do you want to know how to keep your car safe and avoid costly repairs?

As a business owner, I will tell you that it can feel really uncomfortable to tell someone they need to spend some money now to prevent huge expenses later. The last thing I want is to have a customer feel they are being sold unnecessary services.   It sometimes feels that the customer is thinking “here we go, the sales pitch.” I guess I have some perspective of this, I had a dentist one time that every time I went in, I needed “more work”. I found a new dentist. Is that how it feels when you go to your mechanic?

So… feedback on this topic would be appreciated, do you want to know what your car needs, or do you just want the problem you came in for fixed and not hear about more expenses?   Can you feel the difference between someone telling you something is due on your car and someone that is selling you? There are not many cars that come through my shop that don’t need some type of maintenance done. Do you want to know? I feel that my customers should know. I also feel that they can take the information and make their own decisions. Why “get pushy”?

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