Who Cares?

Written by mitch. Posted in General Community, Personal, Uncategorized

Like any business focused on continuous improvement we spend a lot of time trying to figure out the “one good reason” anyone should take that great leap of faith and give us a chance to show them what we can do.

 “One good reason” is all about differentiation: what causes a shop like ours to stand out among the hundreds of choices in automotive service available in our community within a fifteen mile radius. There are only so many differentiators and success is dependent upon finding the right one: the one that works for both the consumer and for a shop like ours.

 You can try to be the low cost leader, but it’s kind of crowded at the bottom with more than a few service providers making that claim. Something must be sacrificed in order to compete on the basis of price alone and too often that something wil either be the quality of the part or the service or the overall service experience itself.

 You can compete on quality, but in this economy it would be foolish to ignore price and the impact it has on value.

 Service is important, but it would be naïve to suggest that great – even, World Class – service is meaningful unless associated with both quality and value…

Dad: early '80s Schneider's Auto, Simi Valley

Dad: early ’80s Schneider’s Auto, Simi Valley

So, what does that leave you with?

 It leaves you with one of my father’s favorite aphorisms… “You gotta wanna fix the car!” And, wanting to fix the car is all about people!

 Quality, service and value can’t care…

Only people can care: Care about the vehicle… Care about the client… Care about the Industry… Care about service, quality and value.  

I care because my father cared. Working alongside someone who cared so deeply for thirty-eight years made it hard not to. And, because we cared so much – the people we surrounded ourselves with cared.Schneiders 1

In fact, I believe caring has become an integral part of our culture and serves as the ultimate ‘differentiator.’

Caring colors every decision we make and determines every action we take. In fact, I believe it would be hard to find another shop that cares more. But, that level of care demands we walk a tightrope every day, trying to find the right balance of quality, value and service and when it comes to that, I’m convinced no one tries harder, does it better or succeeds more often.

 Lots of things have changed since I entered this industry forty-seven years ago, but some haven’t.  I know the decision to bring a vehicle to a shop like ours is still based on at least one of four elements that translate directly into caring. And, at least insofar as our shop is concerned, the only thing that has changed in the thirty-three years we have been serving this community is the level of that caring – it is deeper, more profound and more tangible than ever and if you haven’t been in for a while I’d like to invite you to experience that level of care once again.

The quality is still here made even more tangible by our 2 year/24,000 mile warranty accepted all across the United States and our affiliation with a network of like-minded professionals all across America and Canada. Our commitment to service is just as strong with a shuttle available, special deals on rental cars and VIP pick up and delivery. And, we enhance the value of everything we offer with special pricing, a 3% loyalty rewards program, discounts and allowances like our 10% off* on your next visit, our Mystery Gift program and more.

 The bottom line is simple… If you want to know who cares, I can honestly answer: We care! We care more and more deeply than anyone else we know and if finding someone like that is important to you, you can stop looking. You’ve already found what you’re looking for…

 If you’re not from around here don’t despair! I can almost promise there’s someone just like us down the block or around the corner, someone who cares just as much and is more than willing to try just as hard…

If you can’t find ’em, let me know and I’ll help you!

 

 up to $250… not to be used with any other coupons, discounts and/or allowances.

Advised Consent…

Written by mitch. Posted in Uncategorized

I’m not sure where or how something like this should be filed… Not, am I sure of exactly how it would be best handled.

There are things that happen during the cource of a ‘normal’ business day that actually defy categorization: they just don’t fit and I think this might be a pretty good example of just such an event. It’s something most repair shop owners are all too familiar with and realistically, if we’re being hammered with these kinds of realities the chances are pretty good our clients and customers are being beaten to death with them first.

It has to do with warranty. More precisely, it has to do with the misuse of the factory warranty to intimidate or fool the vehicle owner into taking action under false pretense.

Case in point… We received a call from a motorist the other day regarding a battery replacement on a late model BMW. He was looking for a ‘high quality’ aftermarket battery, like an AC Delco or a Bosch. Or, to replace his failed battery with an original equipment, BMW battery. I tried to provide him with all the information he would need to make an intelligent decision. When all was said and done, he called back to schedule an appointment for this morning to have his battery replaced with the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer’s) battery.

I called and ordered the battery yesterday afternoon, immediately after the BMW’s owner authorized the work and it was delivered some time later in the day. This morning came and went only to find the factory battery sitting sadly, all alone on the stockroom floor. photo (2)Normally, I would let something like this go… There really isn’t any reason to share. People make and fail to keep appointments all the time, particularly people who have never come to us before. It’s easy to make and break an anonymous commitment. However, this time I wasn’t willing to let what had happened pass without some kind of an explanation, so I called.

It seems the BMW was still under some kind of factory warranty. To find out whether or not the battery was covered, the owner called the dealership.

Here is what he was told… Or, at least what he indicated to me he was told. The vehicle was still under warranty. However, the battery was not… And, if the owner wanted to replace that battery outside the dealer network he should know that it would void his warranty. In other words, if anyone else other than the factory dealership’s service department installed a new battery in his BMW his warranty would evaporate. There would be no further coverage, even if that battery was a factory replacement purchased from the dealer’s own Parts Department.

Do you know why that should be of interest to you if you’re a vehicle owner? Because it’s a lie… Simply, not true. In fact, it’s not only a lie… It’s illegal: a violation of Federal Anti-Trust legislation!

The dealership cannot force you to return to their service department for any reason. They can’t imply having your vehicle serviced outside their network will void the warranty as long as comparable parts are used: parts that meet or exceed factory requirements – And, yes, there are aftermarket parts available that exceed factory spec!

The only time they can remove that choice of service is when they are “paying the freight” or footing the bill, performing a warranty repair or performing a recall.

I shared that information with the BMW’s owner and then I asked for a favor. I asked him to have the service writer/service advisor… Or, better yet, the Service Manager, put that in writing. I asked him to have them just write down on the dealer’s letterhead exactly what he had been told.

When he asked me why… I replied, “”Because, I’ve always wanted to own a dealership… Particularly, a BMW dealership!”

After sharing all this with you I’ve decided that I’m going to file this under, “Advised Consent,” because knowledge is power and knowing what your rights are is a critical part of being an informed consumer.

You see I’m not frustrated or upset because someone was afforded a choice and chose someone else. I’m upset because someone lied and took advantage of a motorist’s lack of knowledge. I’ll compete with anyone, any time, as long as the playing field is level and level to me means all parties will be dealing with the customer openly and honestly.

Level to me means both parties are willing and able to share the truth…