We have all had our ‘feel good’ moments about maximizing our customer relationships by going above and beyond when we diagnose a customer vehicle with the goal of saving them money during their visit to our shop. Minimizing their expense, getting them back on the road in a timely manner and providing a pleasant service experience influence them to sing our praises to friends and thus increase our sales revenues from “word-of-mouth” advertising. Sometimes cost-cutting measures can end up costing more in the end.
Wow, what a treat I was in for. I brought the Buick into the shop later that day to perform the preliminary checks and noticed that the information center flashed AWD DISABLED, and the message remained on through the entire check-out and road test. I instantly agreed with the customer that this was “bothersome,” to say the least, not really even caring whether the all-wheel drive worked. Just this annoying message on the instrument panel was enough to make a person not want to drive the car, a distraction from an otherwise nice drive.
Later that day they showed up to drop off the car, a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta GLS with 72,000 miles (Figure 1). The owner of the car started to explain the concern he was having: “Everything was working great, then one day the check engine light came on and it started to shift real hard and fast. I took it to (shop A) and they said it was either the transmission control module or the transmission. If it was the module, it was going to be $2,000; if it was the transmission, $5,000 plus reprogramming and any wire repairs; or it could need both. I paid them $145 for looking at it, but I wanted to get a little more specific about what it was going to cost, so I took it to (shop B); they had it for a week and said they thought it needed a control module but were not real sure and asked me to take it somewhere else, so here I am.”