A bad reputation is effortless

Providing good service is generally not appreciated but expected in business and taking every opportunity to provide exemplary service and going the extra mile is where the accolades belong.

I was recently asked for a litre of transmission oil for a BMW 520 and advised it necessitated checking the label on the gearbox. As the customer had no means of doing this I seized the opportunity and offered to put his car on the lift in our garage and have a mechanic remove the plastic splash guard under tray to reveal the label, at no charge. Needless to say the customer was delighted and I was happy that the extra effort would result in a good relationship.

During the process the customer consulted with the mechanic with regard to and over revving issue and so the mechanic drove the car in our yard to help diagnose the problem. When the customer left he was all smiling and grateful and we were very satisfied with a job well done, albeit for free but as an investment for our future.

Imagine our surprise when the customer soon returned and complained that we had damaged his back wheel. We explained our procedure of removing the under tray and that it had no connection whatsoever with any mechanism of the rear suspension. The customer then insisted the issue was not there before we had looked at the car so we put it back on the car lift and raised it up.

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We diagnosed the issue; the mounting of the rear suspension arm was faulty and misplaced from its position. It would take 8 ton of pressure to remove this mounting and explained that this was a common wearing parts issue with this model. The bushing had worn over years and many miles of use. Outlining there was nothing we could have done to promote or cause this issue all fell on deaf ears as the customer stuck to his point of the fault arising whilst we had the car and therefore we were responsible. To add insult to injury, I was accused of going to such trouble to profit from the litre of oil I would sell. The profit on the oil was €2.20.

Good reputations are hard earned and even harder to maintain whereas bad reputations are effortless. What would you have done in this situation?