This week has been get the car repaired week. I spent most of the day yesterday getting my wife’s car fixed. This morning I’m sitting in the lobby of the local repair shop waiting on an alignment and oil change on my car.
Fair warning. I’m an eavesdropper. If you are willing to have a loud conversation in public, I’m willing to listen.
A customer came into the repair shop, we’ll call it Tires R Us. The conversation went like this:
Customer: I bought a battery from you and it’s no good. I am here to return the battery and get my money back.
Manager: I see. What makes you think the battery is bad?
Customer: I had to have my car jumped yesterday and when I drove to another repair shop they told me the battery is bad.
Manager: Was it a Tires R Us store?
Customer: No, I was out of town and I went to Store X. They sold me a new battery.
Manager: I see. Did you bring the battery with you? I will need to test it.
Customer: I did bring the battery, but I don’t see why you must test it. I want my money back.
This is when the conversation got extremely loud.
Manager: I can’t give you your money back if the battery is good. The manufacturer’s policy is to have us test the battery first. If the battery is bad I can give you the money back.
Customer: I just told you Store X told me the battery is bad. I don’t have time to wait for you to test the battery. I want my money back. Why don’t you understand? I don’t want that battery. It’s bad.
Manager: (As he prints out a service ticket to hand to the customer) Well it doesn’t work that way. I have to test the battery and if it’s good, you won’t get your money back.
By this time the customer is irate. Yelling at the manager how he will never do business with Tires R Us again and proceeds to storm out of the store.
In my view, both parties were losers in this exchange.
The manager should have started by setting the expectation of the customer. Before asking why the customer thought the battery is bad, the manager should have explained how the process works. That whenever a battery is returned that the manufacturer requires the battery to be tested.
In my business, this is called setting expectations. I use a Documented Approach to what is the best way to position a home for sale. When everyone is clear on the process the experience is a happy home sellers getting great results.