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How to Help Customers with Cooling Issues

Learn what parts technicians can do to help customers fix their truck right the first time.

Episode 123: Cooling issues can range from minor issues with a small leak to a catastrophic engine failure if an engine overheats. The parts technician can do a lot to help the customer, but the parts technician needs to be prepared to do more than just supply the customer with what they ask for.

In this episode, we talk about the importance of seeing the bigger picture when it comes to helping fleets get back on the road, and not just selling them the part they need, but rather ensuring they have everything they need to fix their commercial vehicle the right way, the first time.

To learn why silicone hoses perform better, listen to episode 76

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Complete Transcript of Episode:

Jamie Irvine: Welcome to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report, I’m your host Jamie Irvine.

Today, we are not going to be doing an interview. We have a different style of episode for you. I hope you enjoy it. If you do, make sure you share it on social media.

Cooling issues can range from minor issues with a small leak to a catastrophic engine failure if an engine overheats. The part technician can do a lot to help the customer, but the parts technician needs to be prepared to do more than just supply the customer with what they ask for.

I’d like to walk you through a common scenario that happens in parts stores all over the country every day and we are going to show you how to help a customer with cooling issues so that they are able to fix the problem the right way, the first time.

You’re at the parts counter, and a customer comes in with a cooling issue and asks for a replacement part.

Parts Technician: “How are you doing today?”

Customer: “I’ve had better days. My truck broke down a few miles from here and it looks like I need a cooling hose.”

The customer has a small fleet of dump trucks, and they do a lot of road construction work hauling gravel and asphalt.

 Their mobile mechanic has driven out to where the truck is broken down and diagnosed the problem as a torn cooling hose. This is the part the customer has asked for.

Seeing the Bigger Picture, It’s Not Just a Cooling Issue

So as a parts technician we have to see the bigger picture. The customer has a broken-down truck, which means they have a load that needs to be delivered that will be late, there is a driver sitting on the side of the road with the truck getting paid to do nothing, they have had to send a mobile mechanic out to diagnose the problem, and the customer has had to stop doing what they were working on and come get the replacement part.

This is costing a lot of money.

The parts technician now has a choice.

You can sell them the part they are asking for and send them on their way or you can help your customer avoid further costly downtime by making sure they have everything they need to fix their commercial vehicle the right way, the first time.

Learn how you can help your customers with their cooling issues, and what you can do to help fix their truck right the first time.

I remember one of my Parts Managers saying, “Sell them what they need, not what they ask for.”

What Does the Customer Need to Solve This Cooling Issue?

This is where good communication is absolutely essential. Don’t assume that the mobile mechanic and the customer have made a complete list of everything they need to fix this problem.

The first question you want to ask is, “you’re working on the cooling system, do you have enough extra coolant to make sure the system is topped up when you’re done the repair?”

You can then follow up by making sure they have everything they need to do a roadside repair which will include any of the following items:

•             Coolant

•             Clamps

•             Supplies to clean up any spills (mandated by some municipalities)

•             Tri-angle kits for safety

Other Cooling Related Parts They May Need

You also may want to ask about other parts they may need. For example, have they checked the thermostats and the radiator cap to ensure that the overheating issue wasn’t disguised by the blown hose?

What are they going to do if they fix the hose, and then discover there are leaks elsewhere in the system? Should they buy some Stop Leak to get the truck back to the shop?

Are the belts damaged and should they be changed while you are there?

Anything you can do to help the customer avoid further downtime by making multiple trips to the parts store and a tow bill or a fine is going to be greatly appreciated by the customer. 

Solving Other Cooling Issues Once the Truck is Back at the Shop

Once the emergency repairs have been completed there is an opportunity to provide more customer service by making sure that the customer addresses all of the root causes of the cooling issue and takes steps to make sure that other vehicles in the fleet don’t experience similar problems.

Cooling System Maintenance Best Practices

It is important that fleets stay on top of regular maintenance so that they can avoid roadside repairs and unscheduled downtime as much as possible. Since this customer has recently had a cooling issue it would be appropriate to follow up with the customer and make sure they have followed maintenance best practices.

The parts technician can phone and just ask a couple of questions.

Parts Technician: “I wanted to follow up with you to make sure you got that truck with the cooling issue fixed.”

Customer: “Yeah, I did thanks for making sure I had everything I needed, it saved me some time.”

Parts Technician: “No problem. Have you had a chance to inspect the coolant for any contamination like rust, dirt, oil, fuel, or grease?”

Customer: “No actually we didn’t.”

Parts Technician: “Your truck with a Cummins ISX15 needs to be changed every 100,000 miles, do you want me to send you some coolant?”

Customer: “That would be great, use the unit number as the PO.”

Parts Technician: “Okay great, because we are approaching winter, I’ll make sure we sell you the 50/50 mix so your coolant freeze level will be good for wintertime. How are the rest of your trucks, have they had a coolant freeze inspection done?”

By following up and with just a few well-placed questions the parts technician can take care of the customer and gets the opportunity to sell them more parts.

Additional Cooling System Parts

The next step would be for the parts technician to let the outside salesperson assigned to the account know about what has been going on with this fleet. The outside salesperson should then follow up with the customer and find out if there are other parts they need.

•             Fans and Shrouds

•             Radiators

•             Water Pumps

•             Fan Drives and Hubs

•             Charge-Air-Coolers

•             Shutters and Winterfronts

•             Engine Heaters

•             Air Conditioner Condensers

You want to make sure that they buy the parts from you if they need any of the following cooling system parts, but more importantly, you want to make sure that the customer doesn’t have any additional roadside repairs or unscheduled downtime.

Identifying Cooling Replacement Parts

Depending on what the customer actually needs, you can use Diesel Parts to identify the part number.

After logging in on your desktop by going to parts.diesellaptops.com or on the app on your Android or Apple device, you can go to the Component Search, then select Cooling System, from there you will select the type of part you are looking to identify, and finally, you will select the Year/Make/Model/Engine information. Just like that, you have the part number, and you can make the sale.

Where to Buy Your Parts

If you would like to buy replacement parts to solve cooling issues, visit HeavyDutyPartsReport.com/BuyParts, enter your location, and find one of the 750 HDA Truck Pride locations conveniently located across the US and Canada.

HDA Truck Pride distributes products like Prestone and Recochem fluids and replacement parts from Reach Cooling and MEI parts.

Really Help Your Customers Solve Their Cooling Issues

A customer walks in and asks for a coolant part for a few dollars, instead you sell them what they need. In the end, the customer is thanking you because you sold them what they needed, not what they asked for, and that saves them time and money in the long run.

You’ve been listening to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I am your host, Jamie Irvine.

Visit HeavyDutyPartsReport.com to follow the show for free by subscribing to the podcast player of your choice, YouTube, or to our email list where you will be notified directly when new episodes are published.

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