Written by Hedley Judd, National Director TEPA (Tyre Equipment, Parts, Association)
No good deed goes unpunished.
This is an indictment on the society we live in today, where everything is moving faster and faster and time is expensive. So how does this saying equate into our lives in the motor industry. The reality is that motorists are looking for the quick solution to their automotive problems. These quick solutions is where the root of most consumer complaints from lie, and unnecessary expenses are incurred by the business.
Taken in context there are two significant scenarios that playout in this arena. The first is where the consumer is in a hurry and asks for less, or more, additional work to be performed. To avoid confusion here, it reflects as when a particular repair requires a number of steps to be performed correctly and these steps are reduced either to save costs or time, both of which compromise the final quality of work performed.
The second is where the business performs work beyond the mandate of the core business function and/or its scope of expertise or qualifications, in the pursuit of ‘potential’ additional profits. In this instance, when a consumer’s vehicle is in the shop and either the business or the consumer identify additional work to be done, which falls outside the core business model. Many times the consumer will plead for assistance whilst not understanding the consequences of the action.
In most instances it is when the business tries to help a consumer that it exceeds its mandate, qualifications, expertise, or any combination thereof.
In the current economic climate it is always the opportunity to improve the bottom line that drives the owners, managers, salespersons, and other employees (depending on the ‘incentive’ schemes). Such improvement to the bottom line, if driven through out of mandate, scope, qualifications or expertise is the additional work referred to here.
It is when this additional ‘work’ doesn’t go according to plan and the costs start escalating, that all potential profit evaporates rapidly. Not to mention the reputation of the business and the industry.
Without going into specific examples, which there are numerous, the most important thing to remember is that if the business does it right, it is the hero; if they get it wrong all hell breaks loose.
Now this is where the title of this piece gains its strength – when it goes wrong, it keeps going wrong. In many of these instances it should not have been started in first place. With time being of great importance, itis imperative that, in order to save both the business and the consumer time, you don’t take on work that exceeds the scope, mandate, qualifications or expertise of the business. It is when the work goes wrong that it will haunt the business and invariably end up being fixed by another business, out of frustration from the consumer (who was possibly wrong from the start).
The staff in the business must clearly understand the parameters within which the business operates and stick to performing just that work. When the work exceeds the set parameters it must not be regarded as a negative outlook from the business but rather as an honest consumer interaction. Integrity cannot be bought but it can be displayed and lived up to.
It is best practice to do business correctly and not try and assist any consumer with a ‘good deed’. The consumer just as quickly forgets that the business performed the ‘good deed’ and will in an instant throw the entire book at the business in order to ensure that ‘no good deed goes unpunished’. In a single sentence ‘good deeds’ cost money. Do not let it be yours.