Smog Checks Are Silly, Clear Expectations Are Not
Every year I, along with millions of drivers receive the bill in the mail from the state to register my card for another year. Generally it’s about four months early so I stick it in a file to deal with at a later date. With the deadline looming, I looked at the form only to see three words I dread…”Smog Check Required.” And then if you’re really lucky you get two bonus words…”Test Only.” To compound it, mine said “Star Certified Test Only.” That one was new to me. I’m too lazy at the moment to research emissions laws in other states but I’ll say this is definitely a unique joy of owning a vehicle in California.
The special “Smog Check Test Only” means that you have to take your car to a special station that only does tests and cannot do repairs. I think it helps keep everyone honest. I looked online and found one in my area. Silly me still drove to my favorite Smog Test Only place to see if they could do the test and he said “Nope, you need to look online and find a Star Certified one.” Never mind the fact that there was one within walking distance of his shop.
So I got to the Star Certified Test Only shop and rather than telling you a boring story, I’m going to skip to what the guy at this shop did right:
- He Set and Communicated Clear Expectations: When I walked in he said “Yes I can do the test.” He then said “Your price is $50 out the door and I’ll be done in 20 minutes.”
- He Met or Exceeded My Expectations: I went in thinking this was going to take an hour. He was done in less than 20 minutes and I was on my way. No one likes getting a smog check so kudos to him for making it quick and painless.
In the Smog Test Only business I’m guessing customer loyalty is extremely difficult to come by. The fact that this was a quick, hassle-free experience means I will probably return to that shop again next year. I will think twice about going to the first place I tried because he suggested I go home and call around rather than pointing out the place that could meet my needs right down the street.