Service Dealer Spotlight 

Mark Giammalvo specializes in driveability diagnostics at his family business, Sam Giammalvo's Auto Sales & Service, Inc. in New Bedford, MA.   

Mark, who has been with the business for over 20 years, is an ASE  Master Technician and Parts Specialist. He also holds the ASE L1 certification, and has an associates degree in business management.
Mark is also a writer for Motor Age Magazine and is the past secretary of the Alliance of Automotive Service Professionals, (AASP).

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 Let's Take The Highroad
(April, 1995 Page 86) 

Recently, a customer was in for a 'no crank condition' on his Oldsmobile. After the usual starting and charging system check and overnight charge of the battery, the diagnosis was made-a bad battery. After the battery was replaced, the customer came in to pick up his Olds and went happily on his way. Two days later, the same customer was standing in the shop as my brother Glenn looked under the hood. As I approached the vehicle, I asked Glenn, "What's up?" "Looks like we missed something," he said, as he held up a somewhat corroded battery cable. "Well," I said, "looks like this one's on us." Let me step aside here for a moment. I have a special policy at our shop regarding an incident like this. If, for any reason, a customer has to be inconvenienced by having to bring his or her car back to us because an item was overlooked in a recent repair, the customer gets those items-parts and labor-free of charge. Now, back to the shop. Here was a case where one of our lesser experienced technicians failed to peel back the battery cable insulation during the battery replacement. OK, we goofed and we knew it, but that's not all. The 'best' was yet to come.  Glenn turned to me while installing the new cable and said, "We got a little help from one of our competitors on this job."  "What do you mean?" I asked fearfully. As Glenn explained what the customer had told him, I was horrified. It seems as though earlier that morning when the customer's car wouldn't start, he called the local towing agency which happens to be a nearby repair shop. The tow truck came and the driver checked it out. My customer explained to the driver that two days earlier he had the battery replaced by us and could not understand why the car would not start. The tow truck driver wiggled the wires near the battery and started the car.  Then came what I was waiting for, what this industry is so famous for: the slap in the face. "Gee sir, if you had come to my shop this wouldn't have happened." There was my reputation, our reputation, this industry's reputation, shot down like a kite by a cannon. What was the motive of that statement? To make us look bad? To attract a new customer? To make them look good? I hope you understand the point here. We will never improve the image of this industry if we can't start with a basic, fundamental level of respect for one another. No more bad-mouthing! Next time one might say, "I'm not sure of your exact problem sir but seeing that the symptoms are similar to your previous problem, I'm sure the shop that replaced the battery will remedy the situation to your satisfaction." I, myself, have said these words in a reversed situation not long ago. Let's all remember to improve this industry in what we say and what we do. 


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