I'd like to start by telling you my history as The Auto Guy and Little Rock Auto Repair
In 1969, at five years old, I sat in my mom's car and watched a man put a hose in a hole in the side of her car. As I watched him, I thought, "I can do that. I can help Mom with that!" A few days later, while her car was parked in our driveway, I noticed a hose laying on the ground. I picked it up and put it in the hole in the side of my mom's car just like the man at the service station had done. Well, it turned out that the man had put gasoline in her car, not water. My intentions were pure. I really wanted to help, but I had filled her tank all the way to the top with water. (Fortunately, I lived to tell about it, and her car was okay.) I've gained some experience since then; I am now certified as an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) master technician and own an automotive repair shop, Parkway Automotive, in Little Rock, Arkansas.
I learned how to treat customers well by watching my mom as I was growing up. She was a single mother of three children, and my earliest memories are those of her being an extremely hard worker. When I was in fifth grade, I came home from school at 3:00, and Mom arrived home shortly after 5:00 from her day job. After we ate dinner together, she would take a nap. She always woke up in time to tuck me into bed then she left for her night job at 11:00 and worked until morning.
While working as a waitress at Denny's, she learned that treating her customers well was of utmost importance. She taught me to identify the needs of each customer and empathize with every person I meet. Only then can I put myself in the customer's position and ask two important questions: "What is their need?" and "How can I best meet that need?"
As I have gained experience in business, I have learned that each customer will have different needs as well as a different state of mind, history, and circumstances. I try to listen to what their needs are then look for ways to meet those needs, whether they relate to my business or not.
When we receive a call from a customer whose vehicle has broken down on the side of the road, they need two things. They need their vehicle to be fixed, but they also need to get to where they were originally going. First, we will expedite a tow truck to bring their vehicle into our shop. But next, and more importantly, our free Parkway Automotive shuttle will help them get to their destination safely. When a customer leaves their vehicle with us to be serviced or repaired while they are out of town but are returning home over the weekend, we can return their vehicle to their home, ready to go.
We work diligently to know our customers and understand their needs so that we can provide amazing customer service. We've found that our customers not only appreciate our efforts, but they trust us enough to refer their friends and family to us as well. That's how our business has continued to grow. And it all started with my mom.
I began my career working on the detail team at a GMC truck dealership. In fact, I was the entire team, and my job was to make every vehicle look presentable to the customer. On a cold November day, the owner of the dealership, Brent Tyrrell, came outside to the wash bay and said, "I want you to stand right here." So I stood and watched as he washed a truck. When he finished, he came over to me, pointed to the newly-washed truck, and said, "Mike, that's what I want my trucks to look like when you get done with them. Do you have any questions?" "No, sir!" I replied.
That was 1983, and I learned a very important lesson that day: Make sure the people who work for you know what you expect of them.
When my employees don't do what I expect of them, instead of getting frustrated, I say to myself, "I probably haven't shown them how to wash the truck." So we sit down, talk, and look for ways to move forward. This process is far superior to letting issues pile up, becoming frustrated, then having a not-so-cordial discussion. Instead, inspect what you expect.
I have to "wash the truck" for every employee in order for them to fully understand what to do and why it needs to be done the same way every time-because consistency is important in satisfying our customers. We strive to provide excellent customer service every day-"Service that will amaze you," as our slogan says.
Sales is a word that many people don't like, but it's a necessary part of every business. I don't believe selling has to involve making a person buy something they don't want; I view sales as a transfer of beliefs that involves trust.
Because of my technical background, I can communicate to the customer not only what component or service they need, but why they need it and how it will benefit them. But I must also believe that what I am selling my customer is the best option, one that I would use myself. For example, I would not recommend that a customer has their vehicle's transmission flushed every 30,000 miles if I were not doing that on my own vehicle, my wife's vehicle, and my children's vehicles. I have seen that transmissions last longer when the fluid is changed on a regular basis.
It's a matter of integrity for me, and I have seen honest communication build trust with my customers. They learn that I will do everything in my power for their good and nothing for their harm.
It always concerns me when I call a business, and the person who answers the phone says, "Thank you for calling. How may I direct your call?" What I hear is that the person either can't or doesn't want to help me.
Instead, when answering a phone call, I say, "Thank you for calling Parkway Automotive. This is Mike. How may I help you?" I then pause to listen and understand what the caller needs. Many times, I can assist the caller without having to transfer them to another person. It can be as simple as taking a message, and saying, "My name is Mike. I will be sure John gets your message."
Sometimes, it is necessary to put a customer on hold or transfer the call to another employee. When that must happen, I ask for permission to place the call on hold and reassure the customer that if the other employee isn't able to get to the phone in a reasonable amount of time, I will pick up the line again.
That is what I call "owning the call." The person on the other end of the phone feels valued because you are treating them with respect and doing everything you can to help them.
Every person you speak to is your responsibility because they are a customer of your business. In this respect, every employee is in sales because meeting customers' needs and treating them well will turn them into repeat customers. This is how we have built our business at Parkway Automotive.
With so many options for vehicle repair, why should you choose Parkway Automotive?
First, our employees are people you can trust. They know how to own the call and deliver excellent customer service-"Service that will amaze you." My team will help you solve whatever issue you are having, whether it's general maintenance on your vehicle, a major repair, or an electronic problem. At Parkway Automotive, you'll meet people with the technology, ability, and desire to get you answers.
In addition to a great team, we have a proactive philosophy regarding auto service. Our ASE-certified technicians monitor your vehicle's condition during regular check-ups and identify what needs immediate attention, keeping you and your family safe on the road.
Our VIP Plan provides members with free oil changes, tire rotations, and vehicle inspections every 5,000 miles. The plan benefits are fully-transferable from one vehicle to the next without a transfer fee. Learn more about our VIP Plan at www.parkwayautomotive.net.
We also offer a two-year unlimited mileage warranty on the work that we do. We stand behind our work, no questions asked. And we have a 100% risk-free, money-back guarantee. If after three attempts to repair your vehicle, we have not repaired it to your satisfaction, we will give you 100% of your money back.
Parkway Automotive is the only repair shop in Little Rock, Arkansas, including dealerships, that is approved by the AAA Motor Club of North America. We work hard to maintain their high standards for training, technician certifications, service advisor credentials, and insurance requirements. Even our lounge area meets their standards for appearance and comfort.
Parkway Automotive has been voted The Best of The Best in Little Rock several years in a row. We have also received the Ethics Award from the Better Business Bureau. The shop has been featured on the cover of a national industry magazine, Ratchet+Wrench, and was recognized for being in the top 2% of independent repair shops in the nation. Receiving awards and accolades is an honor for my team and for me, and I hope they give you confidence in choosing Parkway Automotive. We are honored to provide Auto Repair in Little Rock, Arkansas