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).
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.