When Craftsman Collision purchased a company with five locations a few years ago, it gave Rick Hatswell an idea.
“They always had one person that they could call and ask questions,” notes the COO of Craftsman Collision. “We’ve found that having a team available, above and beyond someone like myself, provides better support to our shops.”
At head office, there’s one individual who is in charge of business development and suppliers and equipment. “When there’s any question about that issue, managers can call him,” says Hatswell. Another key person is the GM of operations. “When it comes to any of our documented processes on how we deal with customers or how we estimate, the shop gets the same message through him and we send our support people to follow up.”
As an MSO, Hatswell believes it’s crucial to keep everything consistent. “Trying to integrate the culture around the company takes a lot of effort from us,” he declares. “At Craftsman, we do a really good job because we are so fluid and mobile. I could be up in Prince George tomorrow and in Calgary the next day. So we have a very dynamic team that supports the entire network of stores.”
Most of the team of 10 people are from the lower mainland in B.C. “It’s a pretty exciting job. Most of these guys and gals are willing to travel and spend some time away from home,” adds Hatswell. “It really helps with the consistency of our messaging throughout the business. We want to have the same documented processes, the same customer service, the same phone calls, text, email at each store, so everything stays consistent.”
Craftsman also has a management software system that runs across all their locations. “Most shops will run with an off-the-shelf package, but ours allows us to actually manage the business and the accounting side and produce reports for anything all in one place,” says Hatswell. “It works really well, because I can see every single shop, the financial progress throughout the month, the work in progress and the customer information.”
Breaking old mentalities
For Claudia Morgillo, co-owner of Fix Auto Mississauga Central, creating a consistent customer experience comes down to great company culture. “If our employees feel supported and cared for, that gets passed on to their customers and teammates,” she says. “You have to have a very clear and defined culture, and communicate what that culture is to each and every one of them,” Morgillo stresses. “We’ve created a culture where everyone has to find whatever speaks to them.”
“You can’t attach yourself to new information in this industry if you keep saying, ‘that’s not the way it’s done,” adds Morgillo. “Just because that’s the way it’s done doesn’t mean that’s the way it should be done. We’re working really hard at breaking those old mentalities.”
Morgillo co-owns five locations with her husband, Claudio Chiodo. “We give our employees the freedom to tailor the customer experience to the individual,” she says. “Empowering our employees to make those decisions is what works best because they’re all individual. Two of our locations are in Mississauga, one is in Cambridge, one is in Burlington and the other is in Etobicoke. They’re very different markets so there can’t be a blanket way of dealing with them.
“We empower them daily with emails, weekly visits and other training so they can make decisions based on the people they’re standing in front of. That’s how we work as an MSO—giving a bit of individuality works.”