The Internet Marketing Driver: Glenn Gabe's goal is to help marketers build powerful and measurable web marketing strategies.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

From Positive to Negative Word of Mouth (WOM) in 10 Minutes on a Saturday Morning, Windsor Cleaners vs. Jiffy Lube

Positive and Negative Word of Mouth (WOM)Word of Mouth Marketing (WOM) is undeniably powerful. I’ve written about the power of WOM in the past (Boar's Head, Pabst Blue Ribbon, etc.) and I still believe that organic word of mouth is one of the most powerful ways to grow your business. And that's especially true for small businesses. Well, a few weeks ago I was able to see an example of how one business could foster positive WOM and then how another company could generate negative WOM, and all in 10 minutes on a Saturday morning. Yes, I keep a keen eye out for things like this, but it was amazing to see how I could feel so good about one company and then so bad about another in such as short period of time! After I got home that Saturday morning, I started to think about my two experiences and wanted to share them here. I’ll break down both experiences and then give you some questions to think about regarding your own company or business.

Experience 1: Fostering Positive WOM
I’ve been going to Windsor Cleaners in Princeton, NJ for a number of years now. I'll start with some some basic reasons why I go there. First, they provide an outstanding service. I know, a novel idea, right? Providing a great product or service is obviously the foundation for generating positive WOM. Next, they provide excellent customer service. Third, they go the proverbial extra mile for their customers (which is more than just providing excellent customer service and you'll read more about this below). So for me, Windsor Cleaners is starting with a solid foundation. In all the years I’ve been taking my clothes there, I have never left unhappy. In addition, they know me as soon as I walk in the door, entering my account number in their system without me having to say a single digit. I like that. I also typically bring my kids with me when dropping off my clothes, and the employees at Windsor Cleaners are always great with them. And you can tell it’s genuine, and not the BS, “oh how cute” that you hear from some people. So in a nutshell, they provide a great dry cleaning service and provide excellent customer service. Now for my Saturday morning story.

A few weeks ago, I walked in holding my 2 year old son in one arm, a pile of clothes in another arm, and I was in a hurry. I also brought in one of my winter jackets during this drop off, and I quickly checked my pockets to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything. I received my ticket, said goodbye and was on my way. I ended up taking my son to another store in the same shopping center as Windsor Cleaners. So I’m on line in the store and someone taps my shoulder. It’s one of the women from Windsor Cleaners holding my $225 pair of sunglasses. I must have left them in my coat. The woman from Windsor Cleaners tracked me down (without knowing where I was going) to make sure I had my sunglasses. That’s awesome. How easy would it be for her to just put them aside and wait for me to come in next week? Or worse, how easy would it be for someone to just take them, right? The people at Windsor Cleaners never would, but I can’t say that for everyone in this world… This was a great example of a small business going the extra mile and fostering positive word of mouth.

The Positive Impact on Windsor Cleaners
In my opinion, Windsor Cleaners is doing everything right as a small business. They provide an excellent dry cleaning service, they are nice to their customers, their employees seem happy, and they go the extra mile for their customers. Why wouldn’t you like them?? By the way, they aren’t the least expensive dry cleaning business in my area. But I don’t care. It would take a lot to get me to stop going to Windsor Cleaners… And as I’ve said in previous posts, I’m a WOM machine. If I like something, you can’t shut me up about it. I blog about it, tell people at work, tell my friends and family, etc. So, you bet I tell people about Windsor Cleaners. It’s easy… I want them to succeed.

--Next Stop, Jiffy Lube For An Oil Change (Just 5 minutes down the road.)--

Experience 2: Creating Negative Word of Mouth
I pulled into Jiffy Lube to simply get a fast oil change and be on my way. I got out of my car and entered the building, and then waited for someone to check my car. It wasn’t long before I heard, “Mr. Gabe, please follow me.” and that’s when my stomach turned… I’ll stop for a second and ask you if you already know what I’m referring to? I bet some of you do… Actually, I know some of you do (more on that soon).

Are you ready for a Jiffy sales pitch?
And the game begins… I’m holding my 2 year old son and I follow the person from Jiffy Lube out to my car. Now I’m in front of a monitor in the middle of Jiffy Lube’s garage. How nice. :) In a matter of seconds, you are being pitched all sorts of products and services for your car, from the infamous air filter, maybe a cabin filter, something about your fuel injectors, and then some type of engine flush. Really?? First of all, if I was to have something like that done, it probably wouldn’t be at Jiffy Lube. They rush you through the process, hoping for the uncomfortable, “ok, I guess so”. They pull out your air filter to show you how “dirty” it is, and push you just hard enough that you feel like you’re being swindled. I hate that feeling, and I hate their process. They point to the monitor and show you some data about how your car hasn’t gotten this in six months or how you haven’t done that in one year. And of course they don’t tell you pricing while taking you through all that’s wrong with your vehicle. You actually have to ask for pricing (if you’re even lucky enough to retain half of what they threw your way.) I hear this pitch every time I get my oil changed, and to be honest, I'm tired of it.

Forcing Customers Through This Process Is Not Good For Jiffy Lube…
The process I just explained above is where Jiffy Lube goes wrong. I don’t feel confident that I need most of what they are pitching. Do I need some of it? Probably so, but it doesn’t matter. I don’t trust them. I don’t know if I’ve ever witnessed a process that makes me feel so negative, so quickly. Then you’re forced into the awkward situation of declining what they just rattled off, and it’s even a little embarrassing. I can’t imagine that anyone at Jiffy Lube would want it to go down this way. Do you?

Breaking This Down Marketing-Wise
Does Jiffy Lube provide a good oil change service? I think so. I’ve never really had a problem. Their pricing is ok and their employees are generally nice. But, I don’t get a good feeling about going to Jiffy Lube. I think it all comes down to the cheesy sales pitch you get every time you bring your car in… Does anyone in marketing at Jiffy Lube understand how this impacts their brand? I don’t feel loyal to Jiffy Lube. Actually, I could go somewhere else for an oil change 3000 miles from now and not even give it a second thought. By the way, if you’re thinking that an additional air filter can’t generate a lot of revenue, you’re wrong. Start doing the math based on how many locations they have any how many estimated customers get oil changes each day. It sure adds up, but at what long term cost to the company? Jiffy Lube might have generated an extra $20 this time, but what if they lose my business forever? That would be thousands of dollars that Jiffy Lube would stand to lose (and just from one customer).

So Jiffy Lube, please stop the madness. Go visit your locations and see what goes on. I’ll guarantee that you’ll want to change how the process works. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t make sure people have the right information and get the right products or services, but there has to be a better way to do it without making people feel like they are being ripped off. Actually, go to Windsor Cleaners and see how they treat their customers. :)

The Power of the Web Tells Me That…
I’m not the only one that feels this way. I found out that many others feel the same exact way. I tweeted about my last experience on Twitter and received some quick replies and direct messages from others that don’t like the process either. It’s funny, I didn’t mention what was pitched and their messages all revolved around the air filter sales pitch! I found that interesting…so I started doing some Google searches. That’s when I found this, this, and this. Oh yeah, and this, this, and this. Uh, an entire site dedicated to Jiffy Lube problems and it ranks #1 for jiffy lube air filter? (see screenshot below) And there were dozens of more listings too. By the way, enter Jiffy Lube Air Filter in Google Blog Search. You’ll find some interesting stories.

Search for Jiffy Lube Air Filter on Google

Let me tell you, if I worked at Jiffy Lube, this would be one of the first things I fixed. They seriously need a Customer Service Czar, and now. Someone who comes in with guns blazing and fixes this problem. The power of WOM is undeniable, but the fact that Jiffy Lube has a reputation management problem is also undeniable. It actually makes me wonder what’s getting in the way of fixing the problem… So, the next time you hear a pitch for an air filter at Jiffy Lube, think twice. Maybe you need it, but maybe you don’t.

Think About Your Business…
Is there any part of your business that actually annoys your customers? Do you help generate negative word of mouth? Take a hard look at all your customer touch points, ask your customers for real feedback, and change anything that can be generating negative word of mouth NOW.
So I think it's clear that Jiffy Lube can learn a lot from Windsor Cleaners about customer service. But more importantly, how much can you learn from them?


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  • At 10:10 AM, Anonymous craig said…

    Brilliant blog. My business is easily 70% WOM, and I am a true believer.

    Cutting Edge Entertainment

  • At 10:53 AM, Blogger Glenn Gabe said…

    Thanks Craig. I agree, WOM is incredibly powerful. And, I can only imagine how powerful it is for your line of business.

    It was amazing to see how my quick trip presented such different word of mouth experiences!

    Thanks for stopping by.


  • At 8:59 AM, Anonymous Chris Spiek said…

    Great post, Glenn.

    It sounds like JiffyLube is a good example of an organization that's dedicated to being non-transparent, and beyond that, just dishonest with their customers.

    It's interesting to think that a large majority of the money they spend on advertising is just dedicated to counteracting the negative reviews that are out there.

    This is really a dream client for those of us that do online reputation management! How fun would it be to put together a report for them that outlines:

    - This is how effective your current method of fleecing customers into buying things that they don't need is at driving revenue: $X.

    - This is the potential revenue that could be generated if you embrace a corporate philosophy of honesty, and begin to gain the trust of your customers: $X.

    Just researching the search volume alone, and taking into account how many people are encountering one of these horrible reviews online would be staggering I bet!

  • At 9:20 AM, Blogger Glenn Gabe said…

    Great points Chris! It was amazing to see the sites and blog posts coming up in the search results for extremely targeted searches.

    It always shocks me to see a company with a major reputation management problem not try and overcome it... They need help and I'm sure they can start to correct the issues, but they need to take the first step. It's crazy to think that all the advertising dollars in the world wouldn't fix this problem. However, understanding that their customers come first can truly lead them in the right direction.

    Thanks for your insightful comment!


  • At 9:14 PM, Anonymous Honda Certified ASE Mechanic said…

    Great points Glenn! If I had found a website that had roughly 3,000 complaints on it, I'd be very much worried if I were jiffy lube. Except for the fact that you overlook some very important points:

    Jiffy Lubes service roughly 20 million cars a year. That website has been taking complaints since 2004. So lets's say that in that time period that JL has serviced 60 million (lowering that to 15 mil a year to account for variance) and in that time, there have been an accumulated 3,000 complaints. That's about .0002 percent complaints. Someone shut down the company, they're screwing everyone who moves!

    So where do you draw the logical conclusion that they need a customer service szar NOW? You went in with a bad attitude, and most likely ignored, didn't listen, or didn't care what you were told at the JL. Good or bad WOM don't mean a thing when the person giving it won't listen.

    You're deliberately vague on your trip, and fail to point out that the "infamous computer screen" has prices on it, and mileage on it, and a time on it. You didn't want to trust the people at the JL, and seem to not really care about your car. What if he said your serpentine belt was about to break because of the cracks, you ignored him, and it broke down the road. You'd be on your blog, whining about how it's a coincidence that it broke after you left JL.

    Here's a few tips for you: learn your car's manufacturer's recommendations. What kind of car do you drive? If you drive a VW, Audi, BMW, Mercdes, certain Lexus, certain Acuras, and a ton of other cars, you're going to require a use of synthetic oil. See that sticker that proclaims your Honda to be an ultra-low-emissions-vehicle, yes sir, Honda recommends synthetic to get the best engine life out of your car.

    Have a Jeep? You need differential services every 15K miles to keep your 100K mile warranty. The dealership won't tell you this until after you've fried your differential and you owe them 3,500 because you chose to ignore the guy telling you that you needed the service.

    Blogs like yours spread misinformation and continue to create a car culture of coupon shoppers and angry, ignorant sloths who want it cheap, fast, and cheap. It always shocks me to see people who want someone else to take care of their car, and refuse to even care enough to know what it needs.

    Good day, Sir.

  • At 12:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    As a District Manager for JL I agree with a lot of what the Honda mechanic had to say. You can't compare your cleaners with JL as they are way different businesses. If you had compared only their employee demeanor, that would be a fair comparison. There is more to taking care of your car than just a simple oil change. You can't just drop it off the way you do a shirt at the cleaners.

    I will not say that JL is perfect. We do have rogue managers out there that are only in it for themselves but this is not true for the majority of us.

    People naturally have a bad attitude when dealing with their car because they have been trained that all mechanics are scam artists. When you walk in with a bad attitude, you will get bad service.

    I would like to try a little test with you. I challenge you to go to JL with a positive attitude next time. Be open and listen to what you are being told. If the store is running correctly they are not telling you that you need the service but what your vehicle manufacturer recommends at certain mileage intervals. They should advise you of how often a service should be performed, how it will benefit you, how much it will cost and how long it will take.

    As far as whether or not you would allow JL to do it, why not? Did you know that most mechanic shops and dealerships use the exact same equipment that JL does? The only difference is JL doesn't take their sweet time doing it because JL doesn't charge an hourly labor rate.

    Finally, I am disappointed also in the misinformation you are spreading. You have made a generalization that all JL's are bad and nothing but salesme when it isn't true. Next time you should try educating yourself beforehand.

    P.S. I can send you all the emails and letters from my satisfied customers. They far outweigh the complaints I have received.

  • At 6:41 AM, Blogger Glenn Gabe said…

    @Honda Certified ASE Mechanic, thanks for your comment. I think you make some interesting points and I'd like to address a few of them below. BTW, it would be great if you could reveal who you are... You obviously have a lot of experience and it would be great to know who I'm debating.

    You said, "That's about .0002 percent complaints."

    True, but how many people don't file a complaint? The quick answer is most of them. Ask anyone in marketing analytics the percentage of people that want to file a complaint and actually do, and there you have your .0002 percent... That's not a good argument. Just search the web and you'll see how many people are unhappy.

    You said, "You went in with a bad attitude, and most likely ignored, didn't listen, or didn't care what you were told at the JL."

    Wrong. I want to listen and learn. I've always gotten my car serviced elsewhere, so I typically just want an oil change at JL. That said, if the process was more credible, then I might actually act on some of the recommendations. But it's not. The people at Jiffy Lube fly through their explanation of what's wrong and don't reveal pricing up front. That's a fact.

    Regarding spreading misinformation, that's an interesting twist. I'm telling the truth, with a hope that Jiffy Lube will change. AGAIN, start doing some searches and read the scores of websites, blog posts, and forum posts about this very subject. Unfortunately for Jiffy Lube, it's not just me...there are a lot of people from across the US having the same experiences that I had.

    Thanks again for your comment.


  • At 7:59 AM, Blogger Glenn Gabe said…

    @District Manager from Jiffy Lube, I'm glad you decided to post your comment. It would be great to know who you are too, so I know who I'm debating. I hope you're not the same person as the Honda Certified ASE Mechanic... You also made some interesting points and I'll address some of them below.

    You said, "You can't compare your cleaners with JL as they are way different businesses."

    I absolutely can compare them. They are both local businesses and I'm referring to customer service. I don't care that one focuses on oil changes and the other dry cleaning. It's about how you treat your customers, and more importantly, how your customers feel about your business. Do some Google searches and read how your customers feel about your company. It's not pretty...

    You said, "I will not say that JL is perfect. We do have rogue managers out there that are only in it for themselves but this is not true for the majority of us."

    Good point, and I'm sure that's true. There are many locations so I understand that there will be different experiences for different people. That said, the complaints I read are from all over the US. The people on Twitter that responded to me are located around the US. This wasn't just a region-specific or a local problem.

    You said, "I challenge you to go to JL with a positive attitude next time." and "I can send you all the emails and letters from my satisfied customers. They far outweigh the complaints I have received."

    I'll tell you what. I'm definitely a person that believes in second chances. If you want to speak or meet about this, and then show me (at your location) how you are supposed to service clients, I'd be up for it. I'll even write a second post about my experience with you. I'd also be interested in reading the emails and letters from satisfied customers.

    Regarding spreading misinformation, again, I'm telling the truth. And do some searches and read all of the blog posts, forum postings, websites, etc. that mirror my experience. It's not misinformation, it's valuable feedback from other customers. I would never write something negative about a company without having a personal experience to back it up.

    Again, if you're up for the challenge, I'm all ears.


  • At 8:23 AM, Anonymous wil reynolds said…

    Glenn, I love this post and I really like that two (albeit anonymous) folks have shown up to provide some alternative ways of looking at things.

    I know that I have at times taken my old car to a local shop, people I established a rapport with and I was always pleased. The thing is that my local shop never hooked my car up to a machine to give me a bunch of problems I didn't have or MIGHT have had, they fixed the biggies.

    I think the day needs to come where companies realize that 1 complaint is too many, regardless of the sample size. If one person complains about my company or takes me to task on a blog post or presentation I take it to heart and legitimately want to improve that persons experience.

    It would be nice if more people took that approach, and we all know that some people will just complain, complain, complain, but at least try to fix their issues once before signing them off.

  • At 8:45 AM, Anonymous John said…

    An Internet search on a term like "Jiffy Lube Problems" will yield a massive amount of information about the misdeeds of Jiffy Lube over many years. Shell Oil, owner of Jiffy Lube, has not stopped these abuses. They are probably too small to matter to Shell. Their abusive of public trust attitude probably extends to equally relatively small matters like oil spills and tanker discharges as well as to other products they own like Pennzoil and Quaker State .

    Refer to your Internet search findings when you contact your legislators. Tell them that Shell can not be trusted to do what is right as a responsible corporate citizen!...

  • At 9:28 AM, Blogger Glenn Gabe said…

    Thanks Wil. I'm glad you liked my post.

    I completely agree with you about taking complaints to heart, and making changes based on that feedback. I'm not naive to think that all of their problems will go away...but if there is a clear problem, that's been documented by a number of people, across locations, then it should be addressed (and quickly). Or addressed in a jiffy, no pun intended. :)

    I also agree with you that there will always be people that complain, and I'm definitely not that type of person. I'm on the other end, typically telling everyone I know about products and services I like (such as Windsor Cleaners...)

    I'm open to hearing more from Jiffy Lube, but I hope they first tell me who they are, and then next, show me how the service should be completed so everyone is happy (like their customers).

    Thanks again.


  • At 9:36 AM, Blogger Glenn Gabe said…

    @John, thank you for your comment. If there is anyone that knows a lot about this situation, it's you. {I referenced John's site in my post and if anyone would like to read a boat-load of Jiffy Lube customer stories, definitely visit his site. You can spend hours...}

    My hope is that Jiffy Lube or Shell Oil can address this and get moving in the right direction. It's a big undertaking, but I believe it can be fixed.

    Thanks again John. I applaud your efforts to make sure everyone knows what's going on.


  • At 10:09 AM, Anonymous Kati Ryan said…


    You are dead on with this post... I think it is interesting that the Jiffy Lube DM is defending their behavior. That is the problem right there. They do not see a problem with their current sales efforts. Hello! People are talking about you all over the nation!! It is time to engage in the conversation and find out what your consumer wants.

    Keep up the great work, Glenn.

  • At 10:28 AM, Blogger Glenn Gabe said…

    Thanks Kati. You bring up a great point. There are thousands of filed complaints, along with blog posts, comments, and websites all over the web documenting Jiffy Lube's practices. Yet, the DM above still defends the behavior.

    It would be an amazing story if they could start listening to their customers, engage them, and make changes based on the feedback.

    BTW, I still haven't heard anything in response to my challenge. I'm still up for it if they are...


  • At 2:53 PM, Blogger Chris Spiek said…

    The district manager at Jiffy Lube deserves a huge round of applause, and I'll be the one to start us all clapping.

    He chose to engage us.

    Jiffy Lube district manager, you are a few very small steps away from becoming an incredible online evangelist for your brand, and helping your company deal with these issues.

    It's easy to see from your reply that you care tremendously about your company's reputation, and you're willing to fight tooth-and-nail for it.

    I like a number of things about your reply.
    - You admitted that JiffyLube isn't perfect, but the employees are trying to be as effective at customer service as possible. Admitting things like that is not easy to do.
    - You acknowledge the challenge that JiffyLube has in front of it. People's anxiety related to their car care results in them approaching the situation with a pre-existing bad attitude. Clearly identifying that challenge will help you to improve upon the customer experience.

    Now back to online reputation management. Unfortunately, the anonymous reply isn't terribly effective for a number of reasons.

    First, you have no skin in the game. You can put whatever information you want into a response without having to substantiate it because your reputation is not at stake. In telling you this, I'm absolutely not saying that it's something that you did in your post, but people will approach anonymous posts with that level of distrust.

    Second, it does not allow you to build any ongoing credibility (which should be a goal).

    The brutal reality is that there is a vast array of content on the web that describes your brand in a negative light. By coming up with a strategy and continuing to communicate with people, I strongly believe that you can lead the way to getting the online state of your brand pointed in a positive direction.

  • At 3:19 PM, Blogger Glenn Gabe said…

    Another outstanding point Chris. Anonymous comments carry almost no credibility. I agree that the District Manager seems to truly care about Jiffy Lube and backs it up vigorously. But comments posted anonymously are easy to discount...

    Like I wrote earlier, if Jiffy Lube started engaging their customers, listening to their feedback, and making changes, they very well could fix the problem. I'm eager to see if they start.


  • At 11:27 AM, Anonymous Angi Semler said…


    Thank you for a well-written post that precisely captures the essence of a customer service experience at Jiffy Lube--and many of their quick oil change competitors.

    I've spent the last 13 years in the auto service industry, but I can still relate as a consumer. (It was a poor experience with a dealer that ignited my automotive interest.) I clearly remember taking my car to the local quick lube in college and patiently waiting to decline their sales pitch for an air filter and PCV valve. Even after college, I had my oil changed at quick lanes in three different states over a period of years, and it was the same scenario each time.

    Now that I work in the industry, I see proof regularly that nothing has changed. Each time we conduct an automotive clinic, someone in the group raises a question about needing an air filter every oil change and everyone else laughs or nods in agreement. One of our clients once shared a stack of quick lube receipts with us, and I'll let you guess what he purchased every 3,000 miles religiously--and unnecessarily.

    A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of joining a reporter-producer team from PrimeTime Live for a segment they were doing on quick oil change chains. They asked me and a North Carolina shop owner to offer expert commentary on video footage they had accumulated from several quick lubes around the country. Not surprisingly, they all had the same bad habits we’ve been discussing on this blog, and I believe corporate policies are the cause of Jiffy Lube’s image problem—-not rogue managers.

    I won't criticize Jiffy Lube for trying to sell additional services. Like any business, they exist to make a profit, and most cars on the road are legitimately due for maintenance services. But as you point out, their process fails them. Here are the problems I have with that process:

    1) Aside from the every-oil-change air filter upsell, the technician looks at the odometer and then blindly recommends maintenance based solely on mileage. He/she rarely looks under the hood to see if those services have already been done elsewhere. The technician's job is to know the car better than the owner, and that’s impossible unless he/she first inspects the fluids or filters in question. Any consumer with a clue is immediately going to question or disregard the recommendations.

    2) The majority of technicians at Jiffy Lube are young and new to the field. They can perform oil changes and basic maintenance, but they lack the vital experience necessary to give the client a holistic assessment of the car’s condition. Granted, that isn’t Jiffy Lube’s business model, but it is a disservice to recommend the “easy” maintenance services while potentially overlooking more serious problems. (Keep in mind, too, that an ambitious technician is not going to spend his/her career at a quick lube. He/she is going to find a job in a full-service facility ASAP because it’s more challenging and more rewarding. And for some high school students, a gig at Jiffy Lube is simply a part-time, temporary job. They’re not likely to have your best interest at heart.)

    3) The quick lubes pick and choose which services to sell based on their ability to perform them quickly and profitably. Again, not in the best interest of the consumer. For example, about 80% of cars on the road today have cabin air filters, which clean the air being circulated into the passenger compartment. A few years ago, one of the quick lube chains decided to carry only the top 10 most popular / easy-to-change cabin air filters.

    4) There are ethical and environmental issues with their air-conditioning services. If a consumer’s A/C is blowing warm air, many quick lubes jump on the chance to recharge the system. The problem is that a car’s A/C system never requires maintenance. If it isn’t blowing cold air, there is a leak in the system and the refrigerant used to cool the air has leaked out. The quick lubes don’t have the equipment or training to locate and repair this leak. Instead, they "recharge” the A/C, which means they’re simply replenishing the refrigerant. In the vast majority of cases, this refrigerant will leak out again—into the environment. It may be a couple of months or a year, but the consumer will be out his/her money and will have to pay a full-service shop for diagnostics, a proper repair and another recharge.

    For all these reasons, I'm shocked that Honda ASE Certified Mechanic is so critical of your post. I also loathe negative posts about the auto industry because they are often biased and/or fraught with misinformation, but this is one case where the criticism is justified. And the district manager's refusal to even consider your viewpoint is evidence that Jiffy Lube believes it's beyond reproach and isn't likely to change anytime soon.

  • At 12:05 PM, Blogger Glenn Gabe said…

    Thank you for your comment Angi. You have made some incredible points, and some points that only someone in the industry can make. I believe your insight is extremely valuable to anyone reading this post (and to consumers across the country).

    --In addition, I'd like to hear back from the Jiffy Lube District Manager or the Honda ASE Certified Mechanic after they read your comment. Unfortunately, I don't think they will respond.--

    BTW, I couldn't agree more with your comment about technicians looking at the odometer versus checking under the hood. I've had several instances of that happening (where I just had my car serviced and they were telling me that I needed that specific service again)...

    Thank you again for your input. Again, it is incredibly valuable.


  • At 9:05 PM, Anonymous Honda ASE Mechanic. said…

    Sorry it took so long to respond, I didn't actually think that my comment would get posted. Kudos to you for taking negative criticism along with the supporters.

    Let's go through a few things first, about the technicians checking the odometer and offering services based off of mileage, it is your fault that they do that. Do you remember when one of the big three did a news story about Quick Lubes offering services based off of fluid conditions? There was a massive outcry about them forcing people into services because their transmission fluid was burnt, or their differentials were foaming. So look in the mirror as to why you're only given the manufacturer's reccomendations based off of mileage.

    From experience, the guy changing your oil at the dealership? It's not me. It's the kid we hired to do nothing but change oil because they don't want to pay my salary to do something as basic as change oil. Why do you think that when you buy a new honda, you get discounted oil changes? They make profit by having a kid get 6.50 an hour to do LOF only.

    And we really need to stop perpetuating the 'myth' of 3,000 mile oil changes. If you drive a new car, you can only get past that if and only if you're using the manufacturer's reccomdned type of oil.

    The idea that you can go longer is that with a new car, you have higher tolerance, better build quality, and longer life expectancy, right? The thing that is most commonly overlooked is that since 2001, the emissions on passenger vehicles have become four thousand percent more stringent. The emissions systems haven't changed that fast. In older models, the emissions are burnt in the exhaust, and expelled as harmful gasses. In your shiny new car, that's now illegal. Guess where all that unburnt carbon, ash, water, and unspent fuel now go? Straight into your oil. After three thousand miles, the average gasoline engine has up to ten pounds of contaminates in it, and that's if you're driving light-duty.

    Did you know that Honda's fleet switched to synthetic blend oils in 2001? In 2002, our entire fleet of ULEV cars are now full-synthetic only? You will damage your engine by putting the wrong type and wrong weight of oil in it.

    You still ignore the most simple of things from my post. Know. Your. Car. The owner's manual is written by people who want you to buy more cars! If it was written with your best intrest in mind, the reccomendations would read plainly: Learn your vehicle. In my garage, we have three gentlemen with Hondas who have over 500K miles on them. Their secret? 3K miles oil changes. Every third oil change, they all add PTFE-based engine treatment. They all use full synthetic motor oil. They flush their transmissions every 2 years or 30K miles (half the Honda reccomendations). They flush their Radiators yearly. (Again, half the normal service interval for Honda.) Not a single one has had to replace an engine, transmission, or cooling system. Perhaps they're on to something?

    If you want bad customer service, you will tell the person servicing your car that. You won't look him i the eye and go "hey, I want a bat experience, and I want it now!" But you'll show up and bark at them for giving you a wait time. You'll call them thieves, liars, and crooks for telling you that GM reccomends syn-blend for their Ecotec engine. You'll accuse them of making your air filter dirty with their evil quick lube magic. You'll see their prices, and complain because it was cheapter ten years ago.

    I service cars because I love cars. The sad part is, that most of the people who drive them don't care. They don't want to care, and they get angry when you point out that they should care.

    If you'd like my e-mail, Glenn, I'd be glad to give it to you, but I'd rather not post it on your blog, if you want to ask questions, or have intelligent discourse. It's nice to see a blogger who will listen to the naysayers, as well.

  • At 8:11 PM, Anonymous Dustin Fallon said…

    Glen, I would like to start off by saying that I am sorry if you had a "poor" experience at the Jiffy Lube that you went to. I will discuss each point that you made, and offer a rebuttal.

    You mention as soon as you show up, you are being "pitched" all sorts of products or services for your car. Well, each of those products or services are either in your owners manual, or in after-market studies by ASE, as being recommended for your vehicle.

    You mention that you are "rushed" through this process. But as you mentioned, you are there to get a "fast oil change." Well, do you really want them to get your oil changed before you get all the information about your vehicle?

    You mention that they point to a monitor and show data about how this or that service hasn't been done in six months or one year. What you fail to mention, is that obviously if it hasn't been done in that amount of time, means that you had it done with a Jiffy Lube at one time. So what they are doing is going over the recommendations and your history of doing them, and letting you know that they are due again.

    As far as you not feeling confident that you need what they are informing you about, there is not a whole lot more they can do. That falls onto either your inability to know about your car's needs, or your lack of care for what your car needs. But again look in your owners manual, and you will see they aren't making this stuff up.

    Now to sum up and stop my rant. I am a store manager at a very successful Jiffy Lube in Northern California. And by successful I want to clarify that. While yes we are profitable, we also have a well above national average customer retention, positive customer comments, and below average complaints and warranties. And yes, I run a customer service centered store. But what I really want to drive home, is the thought that "Jiffy Lube always tries to sell me stuff." is a crock. To begin with, we don't have a non-profit association status. So that means we are out here to make money. Just like every single person that reads this blog. I want to challenge you to do something, tell me the last place you went that didn't have some sort of up sell. Even that dry cleaners had something, whether it is alterations, or button repair, or maybe shoe cleaning, there is something there. So give us a little slack about the selling stuff, listen with an open mind, and challenge the person talking to you to explain why that product or service is recommended, and I will almost guarantee you will find that Jiffy Lube is actually quite the well ran business.

    P.S. I hope your readers will email me, I would love to debate with them.

  • At 9:11 AM, Blogger Glenn Gabe said…


    Thanks for providing your view of the situation. First, I'm glad you didn't post anonymously. I think that brings a serious level of credibility to your argument (which is what previous comments have lacked...) I can tell that you're passionate about what you do and the business that you run, and I can only think that the Jiffy Lube stigma is not helping. I actually wish that your location was closer to where I live, so I can see for myself how your process works. It would be interesting to see the difference between your service and all of the other Jiffy Lube locations where people have had upsell issues. If that's the case, then I would applaud what you are doing and write about it as well. I'm not kidding.

    Regarding my initial post, I tried to make it clear that I understand that certain things need to be addressed as cars gets older. There are definitely maintenance issues that need to be fixed during the natural lifecycle of a car. However, the process that Jiffy Lube uses is absolutely horrible. And it's not just me that thinks this way... There are thousands of people that feel the same exact way, that have posted their own stories, etc. There were even undercover studies completed! You have to admit there is a problem (although maybe not at your specific location).

    That's why I explained that Jiffy Lube needs a Customer Service Czar. Actually, why don't you apply? I'm serious. If you truly run your business differently than most Jiffy Lubes, your location might be a shining example of how the upsell process should work.

    Regarding debating my readers, I didn't see your email listed. If you want to send me an email, you can visit my contact page. Again, I appreciate that you are standing up for your company and that you provided your actual name, location, etc.



  • At 12:47 PM, Blogger Dustin Fallon said…

    I do apologize, I thought my email would show up here. So here we go, And, again I am open to discuss anything with anyone. And thank you for understanding that I a truly passionate about what my company can and does provide for our customers.


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