The Mechanic Beyond the Mechanics: the Story Behind Quality Assurance Checklists

I drive the most unreliable car in the world: the Range Rover. But I am in love with it. Not because of its smooth ride quality or elevated driving position. Not because of its ability to climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow until you find your dream.

Range Rover

I love it because of my mechanic.

Through a series of very unfortunate circumstances, my former car burned down at the side of the highway. Somewhat desperate, I made a deal with Lucifer, who offered to take my scrap of a trade-in, as-is, in exchange for a 2002 Range Rover—as-is. Thinking I walked away with a steal of deal, I vomited my spleen when I discovered my new car required repairs that cost twice as much as the asking price of the car.

Stuck with repair costs equivalent of a down payment on a new house, I called all three Land Rover dealerships and six ‘certified’ foreign car mechanics in my area looking for second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and so on opinions.

All of them followed a standard checklist of questions, asking about symptoms, giving the canned responses, and insisting that I must take the car in for them to fully diagnose it for $200.

The Beauty and Benefits of the Customized Quality Assurance Checklist

When I called Cowtown Rover, Josh immediately took ownership of me as a potential client, taking his time to listen to the problems during the busy lunch hour. Not only did he know immediately what parts were needed and what the labor hours would cost, he pinpointed exactly what pitfalls I faced in the future and gave me a very honest and knowledgeable assessment of my situation. Most importantly, he cared and empathized with me. He offered me a free full diagnosis and said I could stop by anytime.

Already impressed with Josh, I met Sam, the owner, when I went in for the diagnosis. Sam immediately verified the issues Josh had mentioned and outlined other preventive maintenance issues.

Instead of trying to sell me something I didn’t need, Sam prioritized the essential repairs, clearly outlined the costs, and gave me a substantial discount over what I was quoted from the dealerships and other mechanics.

To wow me even more, Sam said he could obtain the parts that morning and the entire job would be done by the afternoon. This was after the other guys quoted me 7-10 business days or more. To add to the unexpected, Sam took me home in his own car (over 30 minutes away) and happily answered the barrage of questions I had about the car.

When he found other issues during the day, he called me and said he would fix them for free since they were not part of the initial diagnosis. Finally, Sam delivered my repaired car back to me later that afternoon as promised, making the process seamless and delightful for me.

While other shops and dealerships all had great reputations and followed exacting checklists to ensure quality standards, none of them engaged me the way Sam and Josh did at Cowtown Rover. They possessed that ‘X factor’ that made them great, and I am a loyal customer for life. In fact, I already referred several friends to them.

Sam and Josh went beyond the typical, standard quality assurance checklist and truly treated me as a friend. I knew that I would get great value from someone who cared, and that beats any 100%-compliant dealership with J.D. Power quality assurance awards.

A Personalized Quality Assurance Checklist – Part of the Best Mystery Shopping Services You Can Find

The story behind the standards is what counts, and I am a firm believer that the above is a much more effective training tool for our clients than a straight quality assurance checklist of questions and answers. Stories like these inspire staffs to do better and help our clients grasp that elusive goal of creating ‘loyalty.’

To read more about how Coyle’s ‘complete story’ analysis of mystery shopping findings by professional evaluators can help clients cultivate customer loyalty, please contact us here.

  • grimace76

    I think one of the best ways for companies to create such “above and beyond” experiences is to empower their employees. Too often, employees seem to be afraid to make decisions on the spot and would rather wait or go “get a manager”, especially when trying to fulfill tough guest requests or during instances of guest recovery. I think managers and companies need to foster an environment where employees can feel comfortable making decisions.

  • L Libront

    Ensuring training in communications skills is important for any company which wishes to grow their business. The ability to clearly outline what services (at what cost) along with what guarantees (for work performed) are available to a potential new client enable that client to make a positive informed decision. This could also reduce possible future disputes.
    Delegating certain levels of decision-making to employees can also shorten the “fact-finding and negotiation” phase, leading to a positive decision to buy the product.
    A satisfied client can also lead to referrals to family and friends, “free” and effective advertising for a company.

  • E. W. K.

    i agree with the importance of empowering employees. at times, it seems that employees (myself included) are too worried about the repercussions of making mistakes or making a poor decision, causing them to be less willing to think outside the box and really own the guest experience. Empowering employees more could really help create more of those above and beyond experiences in my opinion.

  • ponz

    I recently attended a conference where the guest speaker, Thomas Friedman, reminded us that to succeed in today’s hyperconnected world requires five essential things. Among the 5 was to “be like a waitress from perkins’ pancake house”. He said that during one of his visits, his waitress used her ‘power’ which was in the ‘fruit ladle’ and served him twice the amount of fruit for breakfast. The only thing she could control to make his experience memorable was in her control of this fruit ladle. Likewise, Josh, in the above scenario, chose to empathize and work efficiently and sincerely. His power was in sacrificing his time, and devoting his energy wholeheartedly. Friedman also urged us to “think like an artisan” – be proud of every piece of work we create, regardless of how great or small. At the end of the day, you should be so proud of your work that you want to initial it, like an artisan did in each piece of work he created from scratch. Josh evidently takes pride in his work and his devotion translates to customer satisfaction and loyalty.

    Other than reports from your mystery shoppers, how do you measure success of a brand/property? What factors do you typically ask shoppers to report?

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