What is a Tune Up?
When a customer asks for a tune up we find that they can sometimes mean something different than what we think they mean. This happened just yesterday and despite our best efforts the customer went away less happy than we like.
A normal tune up on a modern engine consists of replacing the spark plugs and ignition wires (or coil-over-plug boots), cleaning the mass air flow sensor, topping off fluids and inspecting the vehicle. When the customer in question originally called she made the perfectly reasonable request for an estimate for a tune up, accepted our estimate and made the appointment. The work was done and she came in to pick up her vehicle. It was then that we found the customer was under the impression that the tune up included replacing the timing belt and water pump, a transmission service and a cooling system service! No amount of explanation on our part was going to convince her that we shouldn’t have known what it was she wanted. This sort of confusion, thankfully, doesn’t happen often but I made a note to myself to make sure to ask a few more questions going forward in order to be sure of what it is the customer expects.
This also brings up another point. We had never seen this car before. The customer said that she usually has a friend work on her car in the driveway and calls around for the cheapest price when it’s something her friend can’t do. This is a great example of what happens when a customer doesn’t have a regular shop to keep track of work that’s been done and what items will be needed going forward. Had she been a regular customer we would have known what it was she needed and there would have been no surprises.
Oh well. Every day is a learning experience. I don’t think she’ll hold a grudge, especially once she calls around and finds out what the services she want actually cost.