Auto Service World
Feature   February 20, 2018   by Adam Malik

EDITORIAL: Survey says, there’s more you can do for your customers

Many of you probably shared this experience over the recent holiday season: you want to get the perfect gift for someone. You know exactly what they need. You looked online first, saw that the store carried the product and made your way in.

But you can’t find it. An empty shelf stares back at you. After 10 minutes of walking up and down what feels like every aisle, you finally find someone who works there. Maybe they are helpful, probably they aren’t. Eventually, you coax the employee into looking in the back room. Nothing. They look on the computer. Nope.

“Sorry, better luck next time,” they said.

Now what? Go somewhere else? Buy something kind of similar instead? What a hassle. And you’re annoyed. All this time spent and you have nothing to show for it.

Turns out, many service and repair shops are having similar experiences when dealing with you, their jobber store. Instead of looking for gifts, however, they’re looking for parts in order to serve their customers quickly and efficiently.

When you don’t have the right part, it’s aggravating. Now your customers have to go somewhere else. It’s a hassle.

Jobber News recently asked readers of our sister publication, CARS Magazine, to complete a survey on what they would like to see from you in order to do their jobs better. Parts availability and customer service came up a surprising number of times.

Of course, there were complaints about pricing structure – that’s one that will probably never satisfy any customer – but getting top-notch assistance when they call and having parts available were at the top of their wish lists.

A number of service shops lamented the fact that they sometimes can’t get the part they want, can’t get it delivered in a timely manner or feel that the counterperson on the other end of the phone doesn’t put enough effort into making sure all their needs are being met.

From the more than 100 responses we received, it became repetitive to the point where we wonder if jobbers are resting on their laurels and if there’s a significant problem that needs to be addressed.

A number were quite happy with the service they’re getting. It was not all doom and gloom. But there seems to be plenty of room for improvement for many – especially when more than half of our respondents say they are calling between three and five jobbers in order to get what they need.

We’d love to hear from you about our survey results. Do you agree? Are they being unreasonable in their feedback? Could you deliver better service? What are they not understanding about your position?

If your response is “they don’t get what we do or the pressures we face,” who is really at fault? Are you properly explaining your situation to them? Is it clear why you can’t carry every single product for every single car ever made? Do they understand that their expectations for delivery may be impossible?

Review the comments from your customers. These are honest responses.

About 20 per cent of shops haven’t changed their first-call jobber. Are you in that group or part of the 80 per cent who get dumped because you can’t deliver what your customer wants?

Let me know what you think about this or any other story in our magazine. E-mail me at