The motor mechanics industry has a reputation – and it’s not a great reputation. As a rule, people seem to assume that if they take their car to a mechanic, they’re going to get ripped off in one way or another. And strangely, they seem to accept this as part of the “game”! I’m probably in the minority (and maybe you’re going to think me naive) but I don’t think that everyone who sends their car to a mechanic is getting taken for a ride and being charged for work that didn’t really need to be done.
Maybe it’s because of John. John’s my local Automasters (Osborne Park, WA) guy. I have been taking my car there for over 5 years now and I always come away happy that whatever was done to my car needed to be done and will prevent major, more expensive problems happening down the track.
So what’s so good about John? Well, when it comes time for me to pick up my car and pay the bill, he goes through the account with me in detail, explains each item and why it needed to be done. He also explains the things they found that don’t need to be done right now, but will become an issue in the future if not taken care of. He doesn’t do this just because I am a chick either. He does it for everyone. I know because I have had to stand there and wait for 5 or more minutes while he goes through the account with someone who arrived before me 🙂
So what is John doing when he goes through my bill with me? He is educating me. In my travels through the business world, I always note with interest when someone reacts badly to a situation – be it the invoice for work done, or the fact that their website is down, or that an item they ordered didn’t meet expectations. In almost all these situations, their reaction is unreasonable and stems from lack of knowledge.
For instance – we engaged an accountant once to do our tax. We assumed they would automatically know all the little extra things we could claim for and in doing so, get us this nice big tax return. Boy were we disappointed, but unjustifiably so. Our’s was an unreasonable expectation stemming from a lack of knowledge about how these things work.
A negative reaction to you or your business, justified or not, hurts your brand. What can you do to better educate your clients so that they don’t get nasty “surprises” (ie big, unexpected bills, smaller than expected tax returns) or feel their expectations haven’t been met.