I had the chance to sit down with John and ask him a few questions about Hi-Tech Addison Auto Repair and here’s what he said…
CJ: John, your team just received the Torch Award from the Better Business Bureau for marketplace ethics. Were you surprised by it?
JOHN: I wasn’t surprised that our team would be honored for their excellence in business ethics, because we work hard to do what’s right by the customer and are always truthful in our assessments and communication. They’re just too many competitors that tell their customers they need something fixed that isn’t necessary. But we’ve always been honest about repairs. If they won’t need something for another six months, then we’ll tell them to come back in six months.
CJ: So, were you expecting the award?
JOHN: No, not in the least. The Better Business Bureau opens up the nominations to businesses and consumers. We were fortunate to have customers nominate our company based on their experience with us. We were then contacted by the BBB and asked if we’d like to go through the long process for award consideration. My sales manager insisted we endure the lengthy and detailed process and see where we land. We took Honorable Mention for businesses with less than ten employees. There were four categories and I heard there were over 4,000 companies in Illinois competing for those awards.
CJ: Can you give me an example of the detail you had to provide?
JOHN: Everything had to be documented and verified. One documented story was about a customer who purposely left loose change in the car to test our trustworthiness. The person who picked up the car brought the coins into the office and told me he didn’t know if they had fallen out of his pocket or if it was in the car to begin with. We decided he should put the coins back in the car to play it safe. The mechanic and our quality control person ended up facing the same circumstances. I was thrilled to learn that everyone left the coins in the car. We later learned from the customer that it was a test, which we all passed.
CJ: How do you compete for low priced oil changes?
JOHN: We don’t. Most of those low-ball priced oil changes use really bad $4 filters and such a low grade of oil that I’d never put it in my own car. We use quality filters that wholesale for $20 because it extends the life of the engine. The oil we use is also top shelf and pulls the heat and dirt away from the critical engine parts and deposits it into the expensive filter that can actually catch the impurities. Our oil change process used regularly will extend a customer car’s life expectancy by at least two years. Highly discounted oil changes with cheap filters will shorten a car’s life expectancy by a good two years or more. I refuse to compete against the low-ballers.
CJ: It sounds like you have to educate customers on what is a quality solution versus a money saving solution.
JOHN: Education is a part of every repair decision. I want our customers to be able to make right choices, especially when driving out of town. The more our customers know about their vehicles, the more they’re able to battle unknown mechanics who get greedy with out-of-towners. I’ve even give out my cell phone number to customers so if they find themselves in a difficult position when out of town, I can help get them to a reputable mechanic through our Technet network free of charge. But hopefully they’ve brought their car in before a long trip for us to make sure its ready for the strain of long distance driving.
CJ: How do you avoid inflating prices and extending the list of repairs for problem cars?
JOHN: All cars require about $1,000 a year of maintenance and repairs. The more regular the maintenance, the less often the repairs. In other words, repairs are costly and maintenance is cheap. The key is being able to predetermine when things should be fixed and what can be done to extend the life of the car. Proper planning and maintenance can avoid a lot of costly repairs that sneak up on customers. Its all about the customer budgeting their $1,000 per car and sticking with a maintenance program that reduces the number of repairs needed.
The Better Business Bureau awarded John’s team for their trustworthiness, performance and integrity. They also take time to educate their customers so everyone can work together to extend the life of their vehicles. Hi-Tech is definitely the place for my car repairs and maintenance. How about you?