How to Handle an Upset Customer at your Auto Repair Shop

Posted: December 2, 2021 | Categories: Tips for Shop Owners & Techs

man upset at the auto shop

People are passionate about their cars, and sometimes they get angry. When tempers flare, it’s important to put yourself in the customer’s shoes, apologize, and deliver a solution. You’d be surprised how much you can accomplish with a positive attitude. Here’s the six-step process:

1. Stay Calm and Listen
Anger is an emotional response; to counter we must find a logical solution. Start by giving the customer a chance to vent their frustration with no interruptions. You may find that taking notes helps to show that you’re actively listening to their concerns. When it’s your turn to respond, speak in a low tone of voice and maintain eye contact.

2. Be Honest
Mistakes can be embarrassing, but everyone makes them occasionally. All you can do is own up to them and move forward. Even if you’re not directly at fault, this interaction requires that you be the bigger person. Remember – a customer’s frustration is not a personal attack on your character.

3. Apologize and Empathize
Upset customers deserve respect too, and a simple “I’m sorry” might be enough to calm someone down. Show you fully understand by reiterating their pain points and asking for clarification if necessary. If someone feels you’re taking them seriously, it’s much easier to find a solution that pleases everyone.

4. Ask How to Make It Right
Create an open discussion – what does the customer feel is an acceptable resolution? Sometimes a sincere apology is all it takes. Others might ask for a refund or for your team to re-do the repair. Customers notice when you go above and beyond for them and are more likely to return to your shop.

5. Thank the Customer
Even if the conversation is negative, it’s better that the issue was brought to your attention, and you have the chance to fix it. Unhappy customers are quick to spread negativity, leading to less cars through your doors. So don’t forget to say thank you!

6. Follow Up Internally
Hopefully upset customers are few and far between, but each one is a learning opportunity. Encourage people to leave reviews on Google or your website, then actively use this data to improve business processes. With communication and transparency, you can deliver a positive auto shop experience to anyone.

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