At Curry’s we’ve worked very hard to develop standard processes for things like “customer intake,” meaning defining the exact steps we go through every time someone brings their car in. We interview the customer, visually inspect the car, review the vehicle’s service history, look for alerts, fill out all paperwork, etc. Check, check and check.
Without processes we would never be able to grow. Processes are what help us standardize our customer experience no matter which employee is handling the intake or doing the work. Without processes, companies become a messy set of tasks that are done depending on how the employee prefers to do them. This is the opposite of building a consistent experience for all Curry’s customers at all of our stores.
Having make the point about how important process is for us, I’m now going to tell you about one of our team members who went ahead and ignored our intake process. And, of course, it came back to bite us hard.
This Curry’s employee had just concluded a meeting with a friend/associate about whether the associate’s company could help Curry’s with a technology challenge. While saying their goodbyes near the friend’s car, the Curry’s team member noticed that one of his friend/associate’s tires was low and said something like, “let me pull the car into the shop and we’ll take care of it.”
No intake process, no check-in paperwork, no visual inspection. We did not interview the customer to find out about the car’s history or his driving habits or research the vehicle’s service records. No process, just bring her on in!
Once the car was inside and up on the lift, our technician saw that the low tire had a nail in it–but also that all the tires were almost bald and needed an alignment. And when he removed the tires he saw that the front and rear brakes were worn and needed to be replaced. Last but not least the vehicle was overdue for an oil change.
Being a good guy, our Curry’s team member offered his friend his own personal car while the friend’s car was in our shop. Is that our process? Of course not! Process went right out the window.
That’s not the end of it.
Unfortunately this was one of those situations that compounded itself–the car is very high-end and somewhat over-engineered (and therefore cantankerous), which led to further issues being uncovered.
Next, during our test drive to double check our work, a series of warning lights came on. Of course, because we would never return the car with any new issues, our technicians diagnosed the problems and found that there were several Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) on the car. If we had followed our standard process, those TSBs would have been discovered during the intake process–which our Curry’s guy skipped.
The bottom line is that if we had followed our processes, we would have given an accurate up front estimate of about $10,000, but by skipping the visual inspection and customer interview, among other steps, we only “found” $4,000 of the work.
Boy was I mad. I don’t usually do this, but I am now going to call out this Curry’s employee by name. It was…Matt Curry.
That’s right folks, it was me–Mr. Process himself. No excuses. But a great lesson learned. Next time I want to help a friend, you can be darn sure I’ll follow our standard procedures!.