You don’t need a great personality to be successful in mobile service. You don’t need to be super smart, and you don’t even need to be a great technician. However, the one thing you can’t do without is accountability. The good news is, this usually comes naturally to anyone who owns a business. If not right away, it will sink in quickly.
Lots of people have the skills to get the job done, but it’s how you handle yourself when something goes wrong that makes all the difference.
Case in point. I had a few mobile trucks rolling in Detroit where one of my techs did a two axle brake job on a trailer for FedEx Supply Chain Services. I was called a few days later by the maintenance manager informing me the trailer blew a wheel seal on the road and they had to have another vendor replace it.
This would have been catastrophic for me if we had done an inboard brake job, but we didn’t. We didn’t pull the hubs or replace the seals. Once I explained this to the maintenance manager he understood it wasn’t due to faulty work. But I knew how it looked and in the back of my mind I also knew my employee tech may have missed a leaking wheel seal.
I told him I was sorry for the delays and extra costs FedEx incurred and I was crediting the “entire” invoice for the brake job.
He was in shock. I explained that FedEx paid us to work on the brakes and the brakes failed.
“Yeah, but you didn’t work on the wheel seals.” he replied.
I explained that there was a chance my tech may have missed a leaking seal and I wasn’t comfortable charging for the job.
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t in the position to absorb the financial loss at the time but my gut was calling the shots.
“Wait a second…” the manager said. “I don’t want you losing the entire invoice.”
In the end FedEx “demanded” to pay the invoice minus the cost for replacing the wheel seal on the road.
After that the customer knew I held my accountability higher than my desire for money.
I added 4 more mobile trucks that year to handle the new FedEx work at all Chrysler plants.
Again, it was my gut that guided this decision. I knew I was dealing with a large company and the maintenance manager had a lot of clout. If it were a smaller company with less potential I may have handled it differently, but proving my accountability would have been the goal.
Accountability is inherent with ownership and that makes all the difference when it comes to mobile service.