Why technicians lie - some insight into why we bullshit you(and why you might deserve it).
September 18, 2013
Oftentimes technicians do lie to customers. In part 1 of this important series, we explore a great reason technicians lie. Allow me to explain.
Consumers are often more than happy to pay $20, $50, $150, or $250 to have their problem fixed. They are not happy once they know how their problem was fixed. Immense happiness can turn into violent rage once a customer realizes that $300 they plopped down was for a 420 ohm resistor worth $0.35 on mouser.com - even if that is a below market price for the repair service performed.
It is incredibly commonplace for lies to be told to save time & avoid conflict. When you needn't argue over work or spend time bargaining back and forth for ten minutes with each customer, it saves time. In this video I go through real life, practical examples of my attempts to be 100% honest, and how I lose to the practical, more standard approach of lying.
I'm an idealist. I believe in doing to others what I would want done to me - even when I don't necessarily deserve to be treated the way I want to be treated.
The difference here, is that I am open to discussing this publicly. I know it goes on, I've worked where it goes on, I've caught employees doing it, and you know what - once or twice, I did it. Yes, at some point in my life I told someone we were doing an advanced repair when the reality was we were reassembling their machine which had internal connections problems.
Yes, TECHNICIANS LIE! Even.. ME! Now you know. And do I give a fuck that you know? No I don't!
Why? I'm not a people person, but I am a personality person. I intuitively know when I can tell the truth and get the $100 for an hour of hard work. That is 99% of the time. I also know when I'm going to be spending 45 minutes arguing with someone as to why labor costs money in a licensed, insured repair shop in expensive New York City, and I know that time would be better spent performing a repair & making them happy.
The practical reality is that the lie a technician tells to get $100 for an hour of his time has positive practical ramifications. The technician gets a happy customer, and the 20 minutes he could've spent arguing, he spends finishing up other machines. Those 20 minutes can be spent performing repairs instead of answering phone calls from customers on why they're not done.
Is it something I seek to do every day? No. Every week? No I am personally sickened at the idea that, from a practical standpoint that I EVER have to fudge the truth! I run a business frowning upon the idea of fudging the truth. Seriously.
However, when I know it is necessary to avoid unnecessarily irritating conflict, sure. Lies are a tool, like any other in the technician's toolbox. Will I use the lie tool when absolutely needed? YES!
The problem comes when you lie for evil reasons. Don't take this shit out of context just yet. There are two types of lies.
There's lying so you can get $100 for an hour, or two, or three of your time. $100 they planned on spending to fix the thing anyway, and $100 you earned through utilizing 1, or 2, or 3 hours of your time. Sure, that's fair.Once lying is done for reasons outside of receiving a fair rate for an appropriate service, that is wrong. Once lying is done to milk the customer for the maximum amount of money through clear cut deception, that is wrong. Once you tell them they need a new transmission when their gas tank has a leak. Once you tell them they need a new $750 motherboard when their $30 charger is dead. That's evil, and I don't condone that shit one bit!
It's a fine tightrope to walk, and again, is why my shop does not have clear cut policies. As I've explained before, we franchise common sense. Meaning, I believe in hiring the best of the best and empowering them to make decisions on a case by case basis. Looking at reviews for shops that fall onto the terrible lies side of the tightrope - it is obvious you can bend over and sodomize your customer and get away with it for 7+ years and get away with a great reputation. I don't seek to operate this way. You have to come up with, and live with, the way you run your business. I prefer to be honest as often as possible.
I believe in honesty & transparency in business. I believe in it so much, that I want you to understand and know everything, even down to why we lie. Crazy, right?
I don't think so. Who do you trust with your device? The guys banging their chest at the list of certifications they have, pointing you to a page of paid for Yelp! reviews and mediocre press releases? Or the guys who bring you so far into how they do business they even tell you how and why they lie?
I feel if customers are fully informed on how we operate & why we operate the way we do, they'll feel more comfortable doing business with us. I'm an everyday guy, just like you. I think we're amazing at the work we do, but I'm not trying to fool you into believing we're not human. Personally, the revelation that people I am working with are ordinary humans has always made me more comfortable working with them. When you come here, you're family. I want you to know all there is to know about how we work and why we work the way we do.