By Andy Fiffick, MACS Chairman and CEO, Owner Rad-Air Complete Car Care, Cleveland, OH
Trust is “reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.” After viewing all of the negative press, Internet, and broadcast journalism about our industry I often wonder if we can ever do anything to earn the motoring public’s trust and change our industry’s image.
I often discuss ways to improve our industry’s image and gain trust by the motoring public with my coworkers and many of you at our annual convention. I have come to the conclusion that there really isn’t anything we can do as an organization to change the perception of our industry; we just have to do it one on one with the client and individually in our shops. Trust must be earned and given freely.
You cannot touch it or hold it in your hands. You cannot buy or steal trust. It can’t be traded or transferred to someone else. However, trust is a very tangible asset of your business and shows up as profits at the end of the month. It is a fact that businesses that are held in high regard and trusted by the public are worth more and are more profitable. Therefore, it would make sense for us to gain the trust of the motoring public; let’s take a look at what we may do to earn more trust.
First, we must trust ourselves. I see too many of us who do not. This really amazes me because as a profession, we have most likely paid our dues for a very long time. Most of us started fixing things at a very early age. We took things apart and figured out how they worked. We fixed toys, vacuum cleaners, tricycles, bicycles, lawn mowers, scooters, and motorcycles. We graduated to vehicles by the age of 12 or 14. I don’t think that dentists, lawyers or doctors started practicing their trade that early in life.
We continued our education in backyard garages, high school vocational classes and vocational schools. We purchased tools and testing equipment along the way and spent endless hours on perfecting their use. We continued our education throughout our careers and figured out how to repair things that nobody else can. We show factory engineers the error of their ways and find ways to repair their oversights. It is an endless learning process filled with smashed fingers, cut hands and sleepless nights. If anybody is deserving of trust, it is this group.
Secondly, we must trust our fellow technicians and our profession. We are all capable of mistakes, and we all cannot know everything. Praise your fellow technicians and your competitors. Show them the trust they deserve and help them learn. I see too many of us criticizing each other or the shop down the street. This is detrimental to our overall image. As the old adage goes, if you don’ have something nice to say, say nothing at all.
Lastly, we must earn the trust of our clients. We must not insult their intelligence and shouldn’t talk down to them. We must avoid misleading advertising and sales practices. We need to respect their privacy and their time. A customer without their vehicle is like a fish out of water. They are stranded and scared; many are mad and upset. Show empathy and respect their schedule and emotions. We must strive to charge a fair price, under promise and over deliver all of the time to earn their trust.
Remember that trust can and will pay great dividends in your business if you understand its meaning. Use it as your guiding principal in your business plan, and how we treat each other in our profession. It’s only five letters, however; I believe that we individually and as an industry can make a huge impact on our image by paying homage to this one little word.
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