4 Steps to Resolving an Auto Service or Repair Issue
When we interact with consumer service businesses —whether it's a hairstylist, a veterinarian, or an automotive shop—it’s important to know how to handle problems when they arise. Maintaining objectivity can be difficult, but orderliness is helpful in deciding on an approach. This provides a framework for addressing a problem.
Step 1. Clearly define the problem.
What went wrong? Was it:
- the actual product
- the product performance
- the fees
- the end result
- unclear, incomplete or inaccurate information you were given
- the company representative you dealt with
- an expected timeline that wasn’t met
By taking the time to clearly work through the problem before talking to the business, you can be very specific in your communication with the business and avoid misunderstandings.
Step 2. Identify reasonable steps that can be taken to address the problem.
Think about what the company could do to address the problem. This can involve any number of things depending on the product or service. This can include: apologies, disciplinary action, rework, replacement, future discounts, refunds, special services, or upgrades. Think about what the company could do to correct the problem as well as help to resolve any residual bad feelings you may have.
Step 3. Communicate the problem to the company.
- Utilize customer feedback cards – Let the business know that you have an issue. They may not be aware of the problem, and most businesses want their customers to be satisfied. If they don’t know about a problem they can’t fix it.
- Check any warranty/policy information on your invoice or at their website. You’ll want to be aware of the policy before contacting the business if at all possible. That way you’ll know if you are asking for something that they have already committed to, or something that may require a manger’s approval.
- Try to speak directly with the company person you originally dealt with. They will be most familiar with your situation, and could be an ally if you need to involve someone at a higher management level.
- Set up a time to meet in person if a show-and-tell is needed. If people are expecting you, they are less likely to be distracted and can give you their full attention.
- If a resolution can’t be met, then ask for a manager. Again, you’ll want to set an appointment with the manager, so the manager will have time to review paperwork and discuss the current situation with the employee.
- When communicating with someone from the company, explain clearly what the issue is and what would be a satisfactory resolution for you. Putting it in writing is a good idea, to avoid misunderstandings. Also, it may take 3-5 days to hear back from someone. This allows the other party time to think through your points and their actions.
Step 4. If a resolution can’t be worked out directly with the business, work with an outside party to reach resolution.
- Let the manager know you’ll be contacting a 3rdparty. A 3rd party could be: the Better Business Bureau, an industry association the company belongs to, or a local arbitrator.
- Keep records of anything pertinent to the issue. Make whatever copies are needed for the 3rd party.
- Find out how soon you can expect to hear back from the 3rd party and who will be contacting you. Follow through on whatever is required and hopefully a compromise or acceptable solution will conclude the matter.
It’s important to remember that the best outcomes are reached when everyone remains calm and the problems is communicated in a rational, easy to understand manner. Most business want to solve problems that arise, so it’s always good to try to give them that opportunity.
Hopefully, you’ll never have a problem here at British American Auto, but even with all the quality control processes we have in place, issues can arise. If you should ever need to reach us about a complaint, our team is:
- Mark Woodland, Customer Relations - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jay Bergerson, Service Manager - email@example.com
- Sandi Weaver, General Manager - firstname.lastname@example.org