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YOU CAN TEACH AN OLD DOG NEW TRICKS
Yesterday, my best and oldest customer asked me do something that I have never done before in my career (I started in 2001). I have seen so many things over the years, but new things still seem to come at me every week. Most things I handle in stride and figure out, but this request I knew I couldn’t just guess at or figure out as I went. I knew that if I did the wrong thing I could ruin this car’s interior.
In between my weekly visits, the dealer had bought a 2017 vehicle that had leather interior with stained suede inserts. The dealer had already had their detail department and an outside detail shop to try to clean the seats. They both had little or no success. The dealer’s detail department had even made a second attempt but to no avail. The outside detail shop was avoiding the car because they didn’t expect any better results on their second try. So that left me as the last line of defense. The manager told me about the stains the minute I walked into the dealership.
Now, remember I told you earlier I had never done this before. I did all my work on the lot except this car while I was thinking about what I could do with those stains. I EVEN pulled out my training manual. When was the last time you pulled out your training manual? I was the same way. It had been so long for me I forgot where it was in my van. Stains in suede was not in my manual. Meanwhile, the manager wanted to know how soon I could get the stains out because he had a customer he wanted to show it to. I simply told him that I had never worked on suede and that I was going to have to be careful and do a little research. Research… was the answer.
I knew many Dr.Vinyl techs would be glad to help me, but I was really unsure of who to call first and how many I would have to call before I got the answer. Then it dawned on me to do something I don’t often do… CALL HEADQUARTERS. Teresa Lang, our Interior Trainer, helped me to make sure what I was dealing with was suede and gave me a list of things I could use to clean the stains. All of which I already had on my van. What a relief! With this information I felt very confident and went straight to work. It took me 3-4 passes but the suede in all 6 seats cleaned up very well. Even I was impressed with the results.
Now, I know that I am an old dog but I definitely learned something that day. I was reminded that Headquarters is an excellent source of information. I know I have a lot of years of experience in this business working on cars and training techs for our Franchise, but that one phone call made me look like a hero in the eyes of that longtime customer. I hope that no matter how many years of experience you have as a tech that you will not let it hinder you from making that call to another tech or especially to Headquarters to get that much needed information that can put you in the winner’s circle with your customer. I am almost 50 years old and even though I do not know how old Teresa is, I would guess she is less than half my age. One might think that the older person should be teaching the younger one. That was certainly not true in this case. There probably was a time when I would have been too proud to take this sort of direction from someone younger, but I have found that when it comes to making money or impressing my customers my pride goes out the window and all I care about are the results.
Just think it about the next time you run across a problem you have never dealt with before, and I think you will see that you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!