Mirror, mirror on the wall…

Have you heard the story about a friend, his new pride and joy, and a scrape with a trailer? Well, here goes…

Social media is a wonderful thing. When I saw a friend had posted a message requesting help with getting his new pride and joy repaired following an altercation with a trailer I couldn’t resist but to see if I could offer some words of wisdom.

Following a private message exchange during which he asked if I was ‘in the trade’ – my response being a simple ‘yes’ – he sent me some pictures of the damage, emphasising how ‘particular’ he was about his personal possessions. Judging by the pictures, the damage appeared more of a ‘scrape’ than anything else so with that in mind, and the fact that the driver of the other vehicle was happy to pay outside of any insurance claim, I offered up the names of some local, well known repairers I had knowledge of who might just be able to help. I got the emoji thumbs-up and, heading off on holiday the following day, left my friend to it – my part was done.

Fast forward a week and on my return I enquired as to how my friend had ‘got on’ and to see if everything had been resolved. Thankfully it had but it wasn’t quite as simple as it first might seem…

Ignoring my earlier ‘name dropping’ my friend, more out of convenience than anything else, had approached two bodyshops for a ‘quote’ – one being in the region of £1,000 for a ‘respray’, the second being not too dissimilar. No details taken, no paperwork done, no real customer service… simply a price given and a seeming lack of interest. Just what you really don’t want to hear from an industry you truly do care about.

Thankfully, my friend then had the sense to go a little out of his way ie it wasn’t on his way to work, and enquire at one of the businesses I had ‘name dropped’ into our initial conversation. Greeted by great, professional customer service he was made to feel welcome, valued and best of all – it would seem he got an extremely honest ‘quote’ for his damage – a ‘whilst he waited’ polish out of the scratches. Simple – job done.

So what is the moral of the story?

Well, first up, let’s not be naïve enough to think everyone wants this kind of work – hence the somewhat inexplicably high quotes offered by the first two repairers. But that said, if you don’t want the work, it doesn’t fit your business model etc then why quote at all? Yes, you might have a quick win but is it really a win in the long run?

Look at it this way, my friend has now made it public (via Facebook of course – and that means some two billion potential eyes seeing such a post) that two local businesses ‘tried it on’ when it came to repairing his car. The potential cost to these businesses could be vast. However, one business has come out like as the knight in shining armour, heaped with praise (again to a local and global audience) and already friends of my friend have expressed an interest in using the services of that business. The potential value to this business could be huge.

On a more personal level it’s somewhat disheartening to hear of such experiences especially when a common theme within the sector is about evolution and making it (us) more attractive and receptive to the general public. Unfortunately, it would seem that there might be a few spoiling it for many.

In the words of my friend, ‘It’s a scary prospect when you have no prior/local knowledge.’