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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-19-2007, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by cascade
Allow the customer the chance to SPEAK to the actual technician who worked on the car.

I only had the chance to do that once, and it was the difference between night and day, to actually talk to the tech himself and look at his shop notes.

Usually the Service Advisor or Service Writer acts as a buffer to keep the customer away from the techs who work on the car.

I'd bet if the prices were not stratospheric, allowing the customers to speak to the techs if they desired, would actually bring in some business that would otherwise go to the independent shops.

It might get mine. I would prefer to get my car repaired correctly the FIRST time, and the chance to discuss it with the mechanic rather than wait around in some plush waiting room, sipping champagne, eating biscotti, getting my shoes shined and talking about my tennis game with other Mercedes owners and reading the Wall Street Journal...


For the parts department - Be more helpful to customers wanting parts for gray market cars, be more willing to freely furnish VMI reports and decode them for customers, and try to be more competitive with prices if you want more volume parts business from retail customers and "walk-ins"
I wish I got to talk to the customers more because I get the real problem instead of what the advisor thinks the problem is.

for me I wish the service advisors would start verifying issues on the service drive before the car comes to the shop.

and the biggest thing is I wish MB would let us repair what we see wrong on the car.
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-19-2007, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike Wevrick
^^Charging "book rates" can cut both ways. I had a wheel bearing replaced once that took the tech way longer than the book rate for some reason. No extra charge to me though.
Fine, make it BILL REAL TIME up to BOOK. An example is pulling the dash on a 126 to replace the little vacuum seals. BOOK to R&R the dash is 20 HOURS. If it is the first time a tech does it, YES, however, a dealership has several folks who can do the R&R in 6 HOURS. You pay 20. At California's $175 rate that is $2450 charged for hours not worked. They have to keep your car extra days to allow for the billing time. You lose both ways.

Right way to do it is Bill up to Book. That keeps everyone honest. If a bearing ran more than book hours, it was something else that caused the problem.

McBear,
Kentucky

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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-20-2007, 02:41 AM
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Originally Posted by mcbear
Fine, make it BILL REAL TIME up to BOOK. An example is pulling the dash on a 126 to replace the little vacuum seals. BOOK to R&R the dash is 20 HOURS. If it is the first time a tech does it, YES, however, a dealership has several folks who can do the R&R in 6 HOURS. You pay 20. At California's $175 rate that is $2450 charged for hours not worked. They have to keep your car extra days to allow for the billing time. You lose both ways.

Right way to do it is Bill up to Book. That keeps everyone honest. If a bearing ran more than book hours, it was something else that caused the problem.
understand that this is how the automotive industry works. if warranty pays a tech 20 hours to R&R a dash, then you will end up paying that plus 20-40%. thats how its always been. yea a tech may be able to do it in 6 hours, but if warranty would pay him 20, why would he charge a customer 6??? all labor times given are based off warranty times. you find out what warranty pays then add some. these days warranty pays garbage labor times for jobs. and on the older cars, it wise to add time as alot of times all the parts are brittle and break when you take things apart.
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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-20-2007, 06:14 AM Thread Starter
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So mcbear is the problem really the tech is good and can do the job faster or that the dealer is charging so much per hour. Alot of these guys get paid for what they know not just what they do. I personally would rather have an experianced tech that can do it right than a first timer if I have to pay a little for that experiance...So be it.
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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-20-2007, 07:34 PM
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lately for me, i would have to bring the car in atleast two or three times to get a problem fixed, and usually comes back with other problems, one time the sunroof was jammed and the cd changer stop working while it was in the shop, but they told me since they didn't work anywhere near that area it wan't there problem and mine.

another time i got my car back with a coolant leak after they had replaced the i/c pump and coolant resivoir but told me it was natural and not to worry and after 2 gals later they finally would take it back in and tighten a loose fitting.

the most recent is this thread

"Engine Misfire"

they wouldn't even really look at it and told me to bring it in when it is misfiring but since i live about 70 miles away i am not going to drive that distance only on 2 cylindars and if i turned the car off and back on it works fine, it did this to me about a dozen times, but they would do nothing and charge me a couple hundred dollars for it every time.

So i solved the problem by selling the car and buying a jap truck, no more problems

sorry for the vent, i am still upset about the car thing

Andrew
Had 2002 C32
2005 Toyota Tundra Limited
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post #16 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-22-2007, 10:16 AM
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service woes...

How about fixing the problem the FIRST time the car is in the shop? I have had multiple issues that took 3 to 4 visits to actually get fixed, and in one case (battery draw on an SL500 that was causing low battery issues every few days) it never got fixed after 4 tries and I traded the car in to be done with it. Just happened again this week-went in for 2 issues, one they did a lousy job on and the second they ordered the wrong part.

These data points are for MB of West Chester in PA, Schumacher MB in Phoenix, AZ and MB of Wilmington in DE.

I also second the comments on not having enough loaner cars. Also, they always promise pick-up and delivery services when I buy the cars but they have yet to have someone who can actually do it anytime within a week when I call to request it.

The one good thing I can say is that West Chester has a nice waiting area with Wi-Fi and good coffee and they are good about getting people waiting out quickly.

Heather
'07 S550 4MATIC
'08 Porsche 911 Carrera S cabriolet
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post #17 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-22-2007, 11:15 AM
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To me the most important in service is to have the service done properly and if there is an issue, that would need to be fixed properly. At my place we never get a loaner, would be nice but still secondary to me. I assume you will soon wish they would fill up the tank at each service.

I'm with Streetglover on the point that as a customer I would prefer sometimes at least be able to talk directly with the service guys, I actually often have been with them and that is where I've been most satisfied with the outcome. I don't mean customers would start watching the technicians work but to talk with them when useful.

For parts I accept that many have to be ordered, the point is it would be more expensive for me if everything I want would be on the shelf. But my parts guys have failed finding as simple parts as the oil filter correctly, when I already knew they had difficulties taking into account the fact that my filter was not one they sell most, I reminded about the issue and still once got a wrong part. Last time it was already ok.

Also when I ask about accessories, they should be willing to do more home work to find out what options I have, if they don't know it straight away. If they knew more about retrofit or simple accessories, they would have more sales and more work for their technicians.

I often feel technicians neither have enough time to familiarize themselves with the car features, perhaps some are not even willing to do that but it must be difficult to find time for that too. After all, the shop cannot charge the customer from the home work.

I'm not expecting miracles, not even "first time right" always, a new car may have something that isn't straightforward in one go. Basic stuff of course should be fixed at once. If both parts guys and technicians were half as enthusiastic about the cars as forum member here, and willing to serve their customers as at any successful shop, I think that should be enough. I can see dealer guys here who just want to brag about their MB position, but also guys who really want to offer their voluntary help, allow us enjoy their experience for free.

If the car has been in good hands, the bill doesn't feel too high, in the opposite case any figure feels too high.
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post #18 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-22-2007, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Streetglower View Post
understand that this is how the automotive industry works. if warranty pays a tech 20 hours to R&R a dash, then you will end up paying that plus 20-40%. thats how its always been. yea a tech may be able to do it in 6 hours, but if warranty would pay him 20, why would he charge a customer 6??? all labor times given are based off warranty times. you find out what warranty pays then add some. these days warranty pays garbage labor times for jobs. and on the older cars, it wise to add time as alot of times all the parts are brittle and break when you take things apart.
I know how the industry works, I have a shop. To answer your question: but if warranty would pay him 20, why would he charge a customer 6???Ethics. The concept of getting what you pay for. You "got" six hours labor, that is what you should pay for. We find that when a customer asks us why our prices are less than our competitors or the dealer for the same quoted job and I explain BOOK vs ACTUAL I usually have a customer that spends the next month telling all their friends how dealers are charging for hours that were not actually spent on the car.

It's a clever system and helps the shops calculate estimates but it is also designed for the padding of profits for the dealer. As a consumer I am not interested in assisting in padding their profits. I prefer honest pay for honest work. I just works better.

As for taking your time with older cars, YES, please do. And new ones too. At least at our shop, if wiring plugs are brittle then we replace them with new where we can. I have a box of connectors that cost me $1800 just in various connectors. Per customer it costs me about $3 and 20 minutes which I may or may not charge to the customer. It saves problems for the customer down the road and costs me peanuts.

McBear,
Kentucky

Being smart is knowing the difference, in a sticky situation between a well delivered anecdote and a well delivered antidote - bear.

Last edited by mcbear; 09-22-2007 at 01:53 PM.
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post #19 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-22-2007, 02:06 PM
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So mcbear is the problem really the tech is good and can do the job faster or that the dealer is charging so much per hour. Alot of these guys get paid for what they know not just what they do. I personally would rather have an experianced tech that can do it right than a first timer if I have to pay a little for that experiance...So be it.
Using the dash example, and it works for much other examples, the issue is the dealer has two pay models.

Warranty model where a newer car, under warranty comes in to be fixed. That cost is paid by MB to the dealer. The tech gets his job cut [which is not usually enough] but the system goes based on arbitrary times for 60 percentile effort [how book is calculated to accommodate noobies and Master Techs. That model is well and good for the warranty cars as it is a KNOWN dance.

Post Warranty model work, where the car is out of warranty and the owner pays the bill is a different ballgame. The dealer uses the same book, charges a higher rate to the paying customer and all is well...for the dealer. What about the customer?

If you came to my shop and asked me to replace the under dash wiring harness on a 560SEL I have three ways to do it:
  1. I can give you the LABOR quote based on BOOK [20x$75=$1500]
  2. I can give your the LABOR based on ACTUAL [6x$75=$450]
  3. I can tell you that my labor rate is $75, my tech is going to do the job in 6 hours but I am going to charge you for 20 because I can. [$1,500 please]

You are the consumer, you make the call.

McBear,
Kentucky

Being smart is knowing the difference, in a sticky situation between a well delivered anecdote and a well delivered antidote - bear.
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post #20 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-22-2007, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by benzofreak View Post
So mcbear is the problem really the tech is good and can do the job faster or that the dealer is charging so much per hour. Alot of these guys get paid for what they know not just what they do. I personally would rather have an experianced tech that can do it right than a first timer if I have to pay a little for that experiance...So be it.
Problem is I get the first timer but still get charged the same book rate.
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