In the Customer’s Shoes

Sept. 1, 2015

True story: A tree fell on my ’08 Tribeca during a storm in July. It wasn’t the worst of storms we’ve experienced and the tree wasn’t the most precarious or vulnerable one in our yard, but it was the right amount of force at the right time in the right spot.

The roots hung on long enough to slow the fall in a way that caused minimal damage—a busted rear spoiler and dented roof, essentially. Not bad, but enough to warrant a trip to a collision center, something I rarely experience as a customer. The timing of the situation was terrible (there’s never a good time for such things) as my family and I were out the door for the day and spending time on the phone with the insurance company, shops and the tree removal guys wasn’t on the agenda.

But, it offered a good look inside the industry from a different vantage point and made me think about a couple of things. First, I’ll say that I went with a recommended DRP shop. Why? Two reasons: time and proximity. Yes, I know of some outstanding shops and operators in Minnesota, but I needed the closest one possible, and I needed it immediately. I think most vehicle owners are in the same situation after an accident, and therein lies the great challenge for non-DRP shops. How can you make yourself top-of-mind for customers who aren’t looking for you until they have an immediate need? I’d like to hear some real strategies from shops that have had success with this.

My repair process from estimate to completion was solid, and the car looked like new when done. But, upon pickup, it was a little drizzly outside, so I was handed my keys and told to call if I had questions. There was no walk-around to point out what had been done, no offer to pull the car in the shop. It seems that should be standard protocol, as customers often don’t know what goes into a repair. If nothing else, shops should be proud to point out their work. But these things are easier to notice as a customer—a perspective to consider in all you do.

Jake Weyer
[email protected]

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