Dear Master Lube Tech,
I haven’t met you. In fact, I’ve only seen you a few times as you quickly hustled down the stairs of the bay into the pit. Sometimes I wonder if you’re just a figment of my peripheral vision. I’m usually preoccupied with meticulously pulling my car into the bay or fumbling to find something I dropped in the floorboard or spilled in my cup holders. I may not always see your meticulous hustle, but I experience it and, most importantly, I trust it. Your team has me in and out in the time it takes me to send two emails. For a busy guy like me, you’re as valuable as having my very own pit crew on standby. If I can’t be the one to service my ride these days I guess you — or the guys you’ve trained — are the next best thing.
This ol’ girl was paid for with burgers and cokes from my first job in the 80s. She was with me as I pulled into the parking lot of my first full-time “adult” job. She outlasted my first wife and helped me drive my second off into the sunset. As I rush from meeting my client to meeting my accountant, she still keeps up just as well as the day I drove her off the lot. Unfortunately, I don’t. With work, home, family and friends, I can hardly find time to eat right, much less change my car’s fluids and fuss over her with a terry cloth and a tub of wax like I used to. That’s why I’m so very grateful for you.
In the 10 years I’ve been bringing my car to the shop, I’ve seen a lot of faces come and go. While your face is the one I see the least, it’s the one I know I can count on to make things work behind the scenes — literally. I know you’ve got a lot going on between the constant continuing education your job requires — I bet when you first got into this gig you didn’t think you’d be a computer engineer — to training an up-and-coming generation of lube techs who will uphold your high standards in the pit. I appreciate that with all you have to do you don’t miss an opportunity to do a job right the first time. Although you’ve never personally told me that, your work tells the story. The fact that I’ve never had to return to your shop to fix an issue I came there for you to resolve in the first place tells me all I need to know.
I never wonder about your intentions. If I need a part, you find the most cost efficient way to do the job right. You don’t just find the cheapest, fastest solution to get me out the door in that moment. You recognize the value in doing the job right and my choosing to come back. That’s also why you only recommend things I need. If you wouldn’t replace wiper blades in the same condition as mine on your car, you won’t bother recommending I change them on mine. If you wouldn’t change your brake pads at 300,000 miles, you won’t recommend I change mine. Finally, if my transmission fluid is fine, you’ll leave that alone, too, until it really is time for a refresh.
An older vehicle like mine requires someone to get to know her and understand her funny quirks. An owner like me requires the same things. I know if you can handle a high-maintenance car, you can handle just about anything thrown your way. It’s a fact. You operate well under pressure, and I like that. Operating well under pressure means you don’t leave a skid plate off, strip an oil pan screw or leave an oil cap off during a simple oil change. It also means you train your people to be the same way. If you operate well under pressure, I don’t have to solve problems that I didn’t have in the first place. It means you save me money and headaches, and I continue to bring my business to your shop and tell my friends and family to do the same.
You don’t have to be the best conversationalist. (Although, I imagine it helps when a customer has a question if you can explain things well.) You don’t have to be the best salesman, either. You do have to be trustworthy, smart and logical. You have to care about doing the best job possible, even when you know the customer knows no better and isn’t even looking. You have to train “your people” to do the same — thank you for doing all of the above and for doing it well!
From one car guy to another, I appreciate your work ethic, craftsmanship and values. You’re more than a master lube tech you’re the guy everyone trusts to do his job right everyday. Continue to be that guy and to train the rest of your team to be “those guys.” The industry needs more of you. In the meantime, I still need you to head-up my unofficial pit crew team so my ol’ girl and I can rumble down the road for another 300,000 miles.
#1 Car Dad S
If you’re a reader of the National Oil & Lube News blog (noln.net/blog) you may remember a post we published in March of 2015 called “Dear Service Writer.” The letter was written from the customer point-of-view and gave a nod to hard working service writers. The response NOLN received after publishing that letter sparked us to launch this series. Don’t forget to subscribe to the NOLN blog to get the latest industry news, trends and bonus tips from industry experts. You never know, you may just stumble on our next idea and spark your own!