The automotive business is one that is built on trust. You bring your vehicle in because it’s making an odd noise, or something isn’t working perfectly and you are depending on the technical know-how, the integrity of the mechanic, and the shop to diagnose the problem and give you honest feedback on what is causing the issue. We all fear being oversold on things we don’t need and are often unpleasantly surprised by the cost of parts and labour.
Fact. In our tech-heavy world, a pickup truck can actually have more computing power than the space shuttle. Vehicles have become significantly more complex over the past number of years and keeping them in perfect working order requires up-to-date testing and diagnostic equipment, a lot of training, and a focus on getting the job done right. To be able to give our customers an honest, accurate diagnosis and a fair estimate we need to be up to date. My boss at Canadian Tire Wasaga Beach is not afraid to spend the time and money to make sure we are current and even a little ahead of the curve. Our two master technicians have more than half a century of experience across a wide range of vehicle types. We sure know how to fix vehicles.
The tougher part of my job is making sure the customer is confident in what we are doing. Nobody wakes up in the morning and wants to spend a bunch of money fixing their car. To earn their trust, we have to be completely honest about what we find when we inspect their vehicle. Sometimes it’s good news, but sometimes it’s not. Delivering that message has to be done with compassion, clarity, and integrity. I like to take the customer out to the shop and show them first hand what we have found. It helps build trust. We offer to show them the parts we take out so they can see for themselves the reason they needed to be replaced. That also builds trust. When we have the car up in the air, we look for any potential issues, especially safety-related ones, and let the customer know that there are things that require, or may soon require some attention. We always categorize these things as urgent, or needs attention pretty soon, or needs attention down the road. This also builds trust. Some people get upset with this process, because they assume we are just trying to drive our business, but we feel a moral obligation to tell somebody if there is a serious mechanical issue, especially if it is safety-related.
The other difficult issue we face is collateral damage. Sometimes when we work on a vehicle, especially older ones, when you try to remove a rusty old part, something else breaks. Just disturbing one part can cause the failure of a related, or unrelated part. It happens. Our policy here is “If we broke it, we fix it”. This can lead to some interesting discussions with customers if we HONESTLY believe we did not cause the problem. We try to tell customers upfront if we think there will be collateral damage and build it into the estimate if it seems likely to occur. That too builds trust, grudgingly.
Our pledge to our customers is that we will always give you open and honest feedback on your vehicle. We will never sell you something you don’t need. If we break it, we fix it. Honestly!
SUBMITTED BY: JAKE VERNER, SERVICE MANAGER
75 45th St S, Wasaga Beach, ON L9Z 1A7
Store: 705-422-1250 | Auto Centre: 705-422-0805