Ok, On Friday we set a scenario most will come across at some point and social media followers voted, but which one is the correct response?…
Well, let’s have a run-through..
The question set was;
You have a new client booked in for a new car protection service. The one day service is £500 and you have taken a 20% (£100) deposit in advance, which you have purchased materials with. 6pm the day before the client leaves you a message to say the dealership have had an issue with delivery and they will have to postpone for 3 weeks. Do you:
1. Agree to reschedule the appointment, moving the deposit to the new date, losing out on the day’s work.
– This is the most customer-friendly answer, and by votes, the most popular answer, but somewhat detrimental… . You have a customer who, through no fault of their own physically doesn’t have the car to give to you. On the other hand – 6 pm the day before – is this really the earliest notice they had? You are out of pocket for the day, and whilst the occasional day can be filled with paperwork, too many of these friendly gestures can become a habit to be taken advantage of.
2. Agree to reschedule the appointment but the deposit is forfeit and a new deposit is needed, unless you can fill the day with another client at short notice.
– Perfectly reasonable resolution, and the outcome the customer would likely expect – it being in your terms and conditions. The customer can likely argue the cost with the dealership and get it knocked off his bill, and whilst it hasn’t covered all your costs for the day, it’s £100 less you’ll have to pay for materials when it’s rebooked so, in this case, a freebie in the long run. If you fill the space, great, if not that’s £100 for doing paperwork and an early finish.
3. Charge the full amount for your lost day of labour (as per your cancellation terms) and advise a new appointment will be required and charged for when the car is ready.
– Potentially harsh, and nobody voted for this. The customer is not at fault, but then again, neither are you. Your 48hrs notice clause in your terms should allow you to invoice for the full amount, though you may have to battle for it in some cases. However, more often than not this will also lose you a customer, not just for this service, but for future work. Within your rights, and an understandable reaction, but you may lose out in the long term is what we’re saying.
4. Agree to switch dates and take a new deposit, but offer to use the existing deposit towards another vehicle in the household for the next day, if available, to avoid deposit forfeit.
– This is where we’d be given the choice. Best case scenario, this buys you a happier customer who will be able to find some benefit from an already frustrating situation with a job they may not have otherwise had done, potentially opening up another stream of work from them in the future if they like the results. It preserves the original booking, along with any maintenance work in the future, and it fills an otherwise wasted day.
Worst case – the customer forfeits a small deposit, which as mentioned he may be able to claim off the dealer, and you’ve visually made an effort to be accommodating whilst still maintaining your own terms whilst keeping the customers goodwill.
So in summary, none of these responses are technically wrong, we just feel in the scenario case the last is the “most right” as it ticks the boxes of:
• Customer care,
• and – Taking care of your business.
Each situation may dictate you handle it slightly differently and you are within your rights on all four – assuming your terms and conditions are clearly spelt out and easily accessible!
Not sure how to write these? Tune in Wednesday for our blog with some tips on writing your own.
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