Since the internet has become the primary method of marketing for retail business, online reviews have become the new litmus test for prospective customers. Since www basically stands for wild, wild, west there is no public standard or formal criteria for how a customer evaluates a company. What compounds the problem is the ability to critique with anonymity. When there is absolutely no accountability for one’s words, anything goes. Small business owners are like other human beings; we appreciate honest criticism but with a dash of graciousness. Common courtesy goes a long way and while The Golden Rule is foreign to some, it still holds an important position in how we treat one another in our culture.
Most automotive repair companies (especially new car dealers) pay their technicians on a commission basis. Beck’s European is not a proponent of this practice. Here’s how it works: A particular job has a Flat Rate time of 8 hours. In other words, that job, if properly executed, should take 8 hours to complete according to industry averages. If a mechanic gets the job done in 5 hours, he is still paid for 8 hours of work. The capitalists out there are saying “So what’s wrong with that; if he’s faster and more efficient than a fellow mechanic, he should be rewarded for it.” We are huge fans of capitalism but here’s the problem: it encourages sloppy work and tempts the mechanic to take shortcuts. Do you really think a mechanic on commission is going to take the extra time to clean all of your parts before he re-installs them if it’s going to adversely affect his paycheck? In essence, the mechanic is rewarded to speed through the job as quickly as possible. Quality becomes a secondary objective rather than the primary one.
As customers and clients, we all typically use vendors and merchants who provide us with greater value than their competitors. In a highly competitive marketplace we usually choose to spend our dollars where we get the greatest ROI. Loyalty has to be earned by the merchant; it isn’t an entitlement.
I offer this treatise as a response to a phenomenon in our current society that affects all of us more than we think. Everyone wants excellent service, right? One of the many plights of the human condition is a desire to receive more than we give but it amazes me that many workers aren’t willing to contend against this mentality. Entitlement, slothfulness, and selfishness have become the hallmarks of many workers (Thank you Labor Unions and wimpy employers). We have become a nation of consumers rather than producers. Many workers expect to be treated like kings when they are the customer but refuse to extend that same service to others in the course of their employment. (Ultimately this thinking isn’t even self serving as it does nothing to insure long term job security!) I thought this situation might improve with the recession because employees would value their jobs more… I was wrong.