While reading the Philadelphia Inquirer recently, I spotted a short take on employees being bored with their job. I can presume these people did not work as a counterpro. Edgy, maybe. Bored, never. My crew actually laughs during their time on the counter even when I am standing beside them.
We keep a supply of rolled up aluminum foil balls (from our brownbagged lunch) that make good items to toss at each other when we get a little too serious. Yes, I have been hit more than once. It is not always fun and games. This is a still a people business. I know, I know, I am out of touch with reality. Everyone wants to order parts online and only talk to a live human being when there appears to be a problem. Really? Our customers want to order from our counterpros. Why? My tech customers make money by fixing cars and helping people, not purchasing parts.
Our counterpros make money selling the right part to the right customer. Sound simple? What tech wants to scroll through three pages of an online catalog to choose the “right” brake pads for the vehicle on his lift? What tech wants to “guess” at a confusing listing? What tech wants to admit he/she neglected to order the wheel seal with the bearing, the bypass hose with the water pump or the fuel filter with the fuel pump? A counterpro anticipates these additional parts the tech will need to finish the job, either suggesting them to the tech or being brave, and just sending the needed parts. So how can you be bored when there is ALWAYS a challenge of the hour? Challenge? Here’s just a short list of the daily challenges we face:
Wrong part counterpro looked up wrong
Wrong part tech ordered wrong one
Wrong part cataloged wrong
Wrong part boxed wrong
Wrong part “redesigned,” will not fit
Wrong part dealer price is $25, your store is $55
Wrong part tech thought he ordered a water pump, you sent a fuel pump; but no one is really sure; everyone tries again
No part part number, no inventory at five BIG warehouses
No part vehicle 5 years old, yet “no listing” for what you are searching for
No part it was in stock yesterday, quoted tech customer, sold yesterday to an other customer, now first customer expects part to still be in stock and delivered in 10 minutes, but now is on national backorder.
Impossible part you or your machine shop modified or built something to get the car off the customers’ lift, like brake, fuel, air conditioning or power steering lines. Or you picked up an old part from your customer, and physically matched it to something in stock. Exciting stuff.
No electronic catalog get tune-up parts for a ‘65 Mustang. Just like in days of olde with paper catalogues. (We really used to do things that way?)
No catalog help a tech customer get a motor mount to install a small block Chevy in a Rolls-Royce (really happened last week)
No catalog find a brake line with that fitting made of unobtanium
Practicing medicine without a license be the counterpro psychologist, while the customer rants about a part/customer/car/delivery time/price/boss/wife/husband/
local sports team or weather, you just listen, which solves most of the problems
Marketing without an MBA administrating and promoting all the promos that the factories, buying group, and store are trying to run at the same time. (Hey, I got my rotors, but YOU forgot my lottery ticket.)
High-wire act with no net taking care of a customer, ignoring “policy”
Sales consultant without a briefcase recommending any and everything from air freshener flavors to Zoom gears
Three-letter Scrabble Game any three letters picked can now represent a sensor, computer, solenoid or active system on today’s vehicle. How many do you know?
Pickup truck bake-off the manufacturers pride themselves by being able to market new and old body styles in the same time frame. In 2004 Ford was able to sell old and new pickups, the old style being called “Heritage.” In 2007 GM has old and new the old being dubbed with GM’s infamous “classic.” When these trucks are 10 years old no one can identify the old from the new body style. So every Counterpro develops his or her own cheat sheet. I know we all know the vent window/no vent window from the 2000 GM trucks with two different 2500 series pick-ups.
No questions asked, wrong guess you know the day you ASSUMED that the Caravan or Tempo was not AWD, that the 1995 Camry with California emissions had not found its way to New Jersey or the F150 really did not have seven bolt rotors. Yes, we have all found the rarest of vehicles in our customers’ bays. And we are embarrassed for ASSUMING that we could send the correct part with out asking for additional information. Toast, again.
Where is the part? Drivers want to start at $25.88 an hour, drive a new Lexus with self-parking and have every other day offunless the sun is shinning. No one works when the sun is shining. Bored, no way. Overloaded, maybe. But that is why we show up every day. Counterpros are problem solvers. We have no time for being bored.