Dealership: “You need to have your oil pan replaced. The threads on the cap are all worn and the cap could fall off at any moment and your engine will explode.”
Me: “Umm… how on earth did the threads get worn?’
Dealership: “It usually happens when the morons who change your oil tighten the cap too hard.”
Me: “But I only come here for oil changes. Wouldn’t that make you guys the morons?”
Dealership: “I don’t see the connection.”
My friend insisted I go to Rod instead because he recommended she get a new car when her old beater-mobile was giving her some trouble. He said she’d be better off selling the car while it would still get Blue Book value and getting a newer, more reliable car. She was impressed that instead of bleeding money out of her by insisting on costly repairs to an old car (as the unfortunate mechanic stereotype goes), he gave her honestly good advice about her car- advice that makes his bills and income lower than if she kept her old car.
He stayed with her and talked to her like an intelligent human being for a solid 20 minutes until she was confident and satisfied. He never talked down to her or lost his cool. He stood next to her instead of talking to her from behind a counter. I sat there thinking THIS IS MY MECHANIC FOR LIFE NOW.
Every time I see Rod and his crew for my oil changes I’m visiting a model for how I want to run my own business. The office is a well-oiled machine where every task gets the time and attention necessary to get things done right, and each customer who walks through the door is treated like a good friend. Someone always answers the phone and is always at the desk to greet the next customer (99.9% of the time it’s Rod himself), and everything is done quickly as a priority but without it feeling like a frantic, high-stress environment.
When I talk to a new client about their photography project I channel my mechanic and treat each client like they’re my only client while I talk to them. We work together to figure out what their photo needs are and how I can take photos for them that are exactly what they need and that they can be proud of. When they have questions, I have quick answers. When my answers don’t suffice or there are follow-up questions, I keep with the conversation until there is mutual understanding and trust. I’ve had hour-long phone conversations with clients who didn’t even book me and I don’t see it as wasted time.
Keep up the good work, Rod- you’re my small business hero.
PS- there may actually be a post-it note on my desk that says “how would Rod handle this situation?”