It took a trip to the dentist and some blunt talk from a customer for Tandon Noplos to realize he had credibility and transparency problems on his service drive.
Noplos, general manager of an 11-store Southern California auto group in 2016, was at the dentist's office for a cleaning. But he couldn't stop thinking about an encounter at his Honda dealership service lounge a couple weeks earlier when he asked a customer why he had turned down some recommended maintenance from the service adviser.
"He looked me dead in the face and said, 'What the hell is a torn CV boot? And you car guys aren't the most reputable people out there,' " Noplos recalled. " 'So if I don't trust you and I have no idea what you're talking about, you damn sure aren't getting my 1,200 bucks.' "
As he sat in the dentist's chair, Noplos thought about how different the process of getting a tooth fixed is from getting a vehicle fixed. When a cavity needs filling, it's the dentist — not the hygienist — who shows the patient the X-rays and talks about why the cavity should be fixed and how it will be done.