The Final Wrap
By Doug Kaufman
Dr. Jekyll used to take a secret potion to turn him into the hideous Mr. Hyde. The Wolfman grew fangs, fur and a fearsome appetite under the full moon.
Certain customers’ appearances may not change so dramatically, but have you ever found yourself wondering why they can be so agreeable one minute and so difficult the next?
The problems often seem to start as soon as some customers walk out the door, don’t they? No matter how well you did your job and how perfectly critical specs were met, you often find yourself in a bad horror movie script, dreading the phone call that’s sure to come, with news of a problem in the engine you just rebuilt.
According to Bill Haas, Mechanical Services Division Manager for the Automotive Service Association (ASA), automotive service facilities have a love-hate relationship with you and your product. They love the reliability and availability of rebuilt engines, but they view engine installation as a challenge they’d really rather not do. In fact, says Haas, in many cases, they only do it because they’re afraid a customer will go somewhere else for other service.
Fears an installer has – valid or otherwise – include:
- Liability: Are they opening themselves up to lawsuits if the engine they sell fails?
- Profitability: Is engine installation really a profitable business?
- Apprehension: Previous jobs may not have gone so well. They don’t want to get burned again.
- Managing workflow: How long will the car tie up a service bay?
According to Haas, the biggest fear your professional installer customers have concerns warranties. Though they appreciate the warranties offered by many rebuilders (see page 40 of this issue for more on the warranty issue), they’re not sure what will happen if they get into a warranty dispute with THEIR customer.
Understand these concerns and work to create a partnership with your installers. Don’t just be a supplier or a vendor. Take the time to explain to your installer customers what makes your engines better, which will allow them to do a better job selling the benefits of repowering to their customers. Educate them, enlighten them and exceed their expectations – you might find the monster isn’t so frightening after all.