How To Effectively Deal With An Upset Auto Repair Customer

As a mechanic at an auto body repair shop (such as Wolfe's Foreign Auto), you often deal with customers who are going through vehicle emergencies. Generally, customers use auto body shops when they need repairs due to an accident or collision. These are not scheduled maintenance repairs that the customer was planning for, which can lead to higher emotional states. This guide will help you effectively deal with an upset auto repair customer.

The First Step: Listen Closely

The first thing you need to do when you can tell a customer is upset is listen closely. That means setting down whatever you were working on, and paying attention to what the customer is saying. Don't fiddle with equipment or on your computer as the upset customer is talking to you. 

Use your body to show the customer that you are listening. Look at the customer in the eyes as they speak to you. Nod your head to show you are listening when the customer hits on a key point. Orientate your body towards them. Keep your emotions in check; if you feel their anger rubbing off on you, take a few deep breaths or mentally count to ten. 

The Second Step: Invite Them To Continue The Conversation

When the customer pauses, invite them to continue the conversation. The customer may give you an earful, or you may just be able to tell from their body language that they are upset. Show that you want to discuss the issue by asking them to sit down at your desk, go into your office, or go to a more private location. This will let the customer know that you really want to focus on their concern.

The Third Step: The Main Conversation

After you invite the customer to continue the conversation, let them continue to lead the conversation at this point. Let them know that you take their complaint seriously and that you want to work together to resolve the problem. Make sure that you make it clear to the customer that you want to understand the problem and what they feel lead to the problem so that you can address it.

Continue to listen closely and take notes of what the customer is saying if appropriate. Put the customer at ease by relaxing your body. Reaffirm the customer's emotions and let them know that their feelings are valid and that you understand. Try to understand the root of the problem by asking probing questions. 

Just listening can calm down a customer who is upset about their vehicle; it takes time out of their day to be down a vehicle and also costs significant money to fix; try to understand where your customer is coming from.

The Fourth Step: Address The Problem

After you have allowed the customer to vent to you, it is time to address the problem. If appropriate, apologize to the customer. For example, if work was done without permission on their vehicle, apologize for the lack of communication that lead to that occurrence. 

Next, let the customer know what you are going to do to address their problem. This can go a number of different ways. If the customer feels mislead about the bill, offer them a discount or refund. If the customer feels that the work was not done properly, and there is still something wrong with their vehicle, offer to check out their vehicle at no charge or offer to pay to have another shop inspect their vehicle. Tailor fit the solution to each customer's specific problem.  

If the problem in not something you can think of a fix to, such as a repair that took additional time, ask the customer what they would like you to do. Maybe they would like a discount to compensate them for their time, or maybe they just want a sincere apologize and for your business to look into how you estimate repair times in the future.  

The Fifth Step: The Closing

As you wrap up your conversation, be sure to thank the customer for bringing the problem to your attention and let them know that you are glad you came to a solution. Shake their hand and look them in the eye as you say this.  

By taking the time to listen to upset customers at your auto body repair business, you can address their concerns and turn a critic into a fan.