The Dreaded Comeback: Four Keys To Prevention

In an April 2018 Town Hall Academy with three shop owners, we discussed comeback prevention. They all agreed that prevention starts at the front door.  There were some very common themes that resonated with this discussion and I want to share four of them with you.

  1. It is all About Communication.
    When you provide enough information to a technician, the better the tech can handle the diagnosis. Asking good customer questions and writing a detailed repair order for the technician is the perfect start to a quality repair.
  1. Improve Your Processes.
    Quality, not a quota, is the strategy you need to adopt to reduce comebacks. Quality control checklists at the end of the repair can only do so much, you should always be looking to improve your processes. A good quality control (QC) process is important to tighten up the overall operation. Sometimes you must ‘slow down’ in order to ‘speed up’. You need the ability to throw down the STOP card. Spend a lot of time on internal procedures and processes so repair QC is nearly perfect every time. Follow your repair procedures 100% of the time, no exceptions!
  1. Track Every Comeback.
    Tracking every comeback is a necessity if you are going to reduce your comebacks. By logging every comeback you will discover if it was communication, process or part quality. Track all costs associated with the comeback including rental car and supplier warranty credit. If failure rates are too high on a product line, you will need to take this up with your supplier. You must log where the part was purchased and the brand. You need to be able to spot trends.
  2. Perception.
    In the eyes of the customer, even a missed oil change sticker shows a breakdown in the process. The customer may think, what else did they miss? You need to follow up with each customer on each job. Check with them and understand the post-transaction. Follow up is so important for first-time customers because their anxiety level is high. It will help to ease their mind (when you call the customer back) 48 – 72 hours after the repair.  Your overall reputation for quality, honesty and integrity can lessen the shock of comebacks.

Comeback prevention and management starts at the top. Your quality will be determined by how well you lead others. Remember success comes from managing the details and leading people. When meeting with your team, include a low comeback rate on your praise list and as part of a bonus.  Bring acclaim to the behaviors you are looking to see in your team.

In a survey, shop owners rated these three top failure conditions: Communication 50%, Part Failures 40% and Technician Errors 10%. Look inside your business and compare your percentages and work to make the improvements to prevent and lower costly comebacks.

“Perfection is not attainable, but if you chase perfection we can catch excellence.” Vince Lombardi

Listen to the entire roundtable discussion here:

All Town Hall Academy episodes:

About the author, Carm Capriotto, AAP

Carm is the founder and host of the Remarkable Results Radio Podcast and the pioneer of automotive aftermarket podcasts. Carm calls on his years of experience in the aftermarket to bring engaging stories from his guests.

Listen to raw, unfiltered, honest, and sincere stories that include insights, trends, best practices, and expertise. Each interview brings an opportunity to learn one new thing through the stories of personal achievement. Many podcast guests tell their story of transformation from working in their business to working on it.

As host of over 1,000 episodes, Carm uses his enthusiasm and passion for the aftermarket especially the service sector to take his listeners on a journey showcasing successful service professionals’ paths to Remarkable Results. He also enjoys interviews with aftermarket industry thought leaders who bring their industry perspectives to his listener.

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