I know this is an old and maybe not politically correct to some, but to me, it is still so relevant that it is worth the risk of using it. I don’t remember the first time I heard it, but I do know it was in my very early years. So suffice it to say, it was at least 50 years ago. I remember and have forgotten many phrases in my time, but this is one of the ones that seems to stand the test of time. Sadly, I am reminded of it far too often.
As you can imagine when someone here at Babcox Media has a car question, they come to Jason Stahl (BodyShop Business editor), Mark Phillips (Counterman magazine editor) or myself. It makes good sense since we are in contact with many repairers and suppliers on a daily basis. Most times, it is a question on procedure or why a part is so expensive, but sometimes it is the dreaded referral question: “Where should I go to get it repaired?” I say dreaded because a repair recommendation is a double-edged sword by its very nature. That sword can cut many different ways.
If! You recommend and it goes well, everyone is happy. If you recommend and the repair is not good, your co-worker is unhappy with you. If, they go and complain and are unreasonable with the repairer, then you have a repairer and a co-worker unhappy. It seems to me that there are more downsides to recommending than there are upsides. Another old adage comes to mind, and it is still true, too: “No good deed goes unpunished.”
Of course, none of the above stops the act of recommending. This is a people business and nothing will ever change that. Recently a co-worker came to my door and requested that I look at his vehicle. It was pretty normal stuff: rust was starting around the wheel wells and a couple other spots. I told him to fix it himself since it would come back anyways and it was not on any visible panels, yet. He was not interested and insisted on … a recommendation. I took a deep breath and pulled out my trusted go-to name and let ‘er rip.
Well, this week was the week of the repair and as luck would have it, it did not go well. When he went to pick up the vehicle they had completely missed an area for repair. He called it to their attention, and of course, they said please leave it and we will get it completed. All very logical and these things happen. When returning to pick it up for the second time, it was after hours and when looking at it, they did not put the color coat on and left the repair in primer. Ouch!
My point in all of this is if there was some sort of a process in place to document all repairs that need to be done and then checked off, this would not happen. We all are busy and think we know what needs to be done, but it’s those pesky little things (details) that get dropped.
If this never happens to you, just consider yourself lucky. For the rest of us totally honest people, make a list, because as we all know, the devil is in the details!