I know the expression “The devil is in the details” is old and maybe not politically correct to some, but to me, it’s still so relevant that it’s worth the risk of using it.
I don’t remember the first time I heard it, but I do know it was in my very early years, at least 50 years ago. I remember and have forgotten many phrases in my time, but this is one that seems to stand the test of time.
As you can imagine, when someone here at Babcox Media has a car question, they come to Jason, Mark, Amy or me. It makes good sense since we’re in contact with many repairers and suppliers on a daily basis. Most times, it’s a question on a procedure or why a part is so expensive, but sometimes it’s the dreaded referral question: “Where should I go to get it repaired?” I say dreaded because a repair recommendation is a double-edged sword by its very nature. That sword can cut many different ways.
If you recommend and it goes well, everyone is happy. If you recommend and the repair isn’t good, your co-worker is unhappy with you. If they complain and are unreasonable with the repairer, then you have a repairer and a co-worker who are unhappy. Another old saying comes to mind that’s still true too: “No favor goes unpunished.”
Of course, none of the above stops the act of recommending. This is a people business, so nothing ever will stop it. Recently, a coworker came to my door and requested that I look at his vehicle. Pretty normal stuff, starting to rust around the wheel wells and a couple other spots. I told him to fix it himself since it would come back anyways and it was not on any visible panels…yet. He was not interested, however, and insisted on a recommendation. I took a deep breath and pulled out my trusted go-to name and let ‘er rip.
The repair came and went and, as luck would have it, it did not go well. When he went to pick up the vehicle, they had completely missed an area for repair. He called it to their attention and, of course, they said please leave it and we’ll get it completed. All very logical, and these things happen. When he returned to pick it up for the second time after hours, he saw that they did not put the color coat on and left the repair in primer. Ouch!
My point is if there was some sort of a process in place to document all repairs that need to be done and then checked off, this would not happen. We’re all busy and think we know what needs to be done, but it’s those pesky little things (details) that get dropped.