It happens, sometimes. What? Forest Gump has the answer to that one, and most people probably agree with him — especially if there’s been a damage claim on your watch.
But, a damage claim can be an opportunity, even though it may not feel that way when a disgruntled customer comes forward and blames your car wash with damaging his/her car. It is an opportunity to show your better side, hone your listening skills and perfect your negotiation talents.
The overall goal is to conduct an investigation, generate a resolution and follow up with the customer with a mutual agreement. Remember, a damage claim doesn’t just involve automobiles at a car wash. It is defined as damage to any property, vehicle or equipment that may occur as a result of the wash process. These claims require extensive documentation, investigation and potentially escalation.
In a nutshell, here are the steps that should be taken should a customer claim damage while they were at your wash.
What to Do When Confronted with a Damage Claim 1. Check to make sure everyone is OK. 2. Actively listen to the entire story, acknowledging their frustration, and take notes*. 3. Repeat back what you heard the customer relate. 4. Express empathy, but do not admit fault. 5. Explain the steps you will take to resolve the complaint as well as the timeframe.
*It is helpful to have a form for documenting damage claims to ensure employees gather all of the necessary information at the time of the incident, as well as having a place to take notes. ICA supplies a sample damage claim form to its LEAD program participants.
For a more in-depth look at best practices, simulated real-life video scenarios, knowledge checks and tips on guiding a scenario of this sort to the best possible outcome, check out the LEAD car wash manager training program at lead.carwash.org.