Cultivate a Family Feel
I had the opportunity to visit with Kerry and Denise Neier and their Kerry’s Car Care shops for a few days this month in Phoenix and what they have going on is truly something special. I loved the shops and their team so much that I almost decided to pack up my things and come work with them every day!
After years of working as a technician and dealing with the auto repair industry’s accepted low
standards for customer care and service, Kerry decided that it was time for a change. In 1993, he and his wife, Denise, opened the flagship Kerry’s Car Care Phoenix. He was determined to design his shop’s policies and procedures around what is most important to his customers: a trustworthy and reliable shop that will get them back on the road and to their lives as quickly as possible.
This drive to provide top-notch service resulted in the “say yes” policy, which ensures that, no matter the need, Kerry’s will always be there to help their customers and employees the best way possible.
Over the past 25 years, Kerry & Denise have expanded to four locations across Arizona, and passed the
role of regional manager along to their son-in-law, former Navy mechanic Chris Schulze. Chris retired from the US Navy (where he served in remote villages in Kenya, Somalia and Guam) and, like Kerry, he had a passion for serving people and building teams. He loved what he did in the military, and, when he retired, Kerry gave him the opportunity to continue his passion by revolutionizing the auto repair business in Arizona.
Kerry’s Car Care has little to no employee turnover, the highest customer service scores online and some of the highest-volume stores in the country. Just this month, they are on track to serve over 1,000 customers in one location alone!
I was able to attend a shop meeting, service advisor meetings, and GM meetings. Yes, they do all three every week and still run the numbers that they do! The day started with the service advisors coming in at 7 a.m. to a round table of camaraderie, role play, and discussion of how to better each other. Each advisor wrote their numbers on the whiteboard and they all coached each other on ways to improve. Then they broke into groups to talk about how to problem solve, and role played sales.
Next, the technicians huddled up to talk about what was going well, what needed to improve, and how they were doing. One super star female technician, who was named one of the best on the team, even came in after the meeting to volunteer to help others and work on improving her inspections! She just wanted to serve their team and be the best she could.
As the day progressed, Kerry’s wife and daughter were also at the shops. They spoke with each team member, and were there to coach and serve where they were needed!
That night, we all got together around Kerry and Denise’s dining room table, where all of the GMs come to sit. The entire table was jabbing each other about who came out on top! They all praised each other and they all coached each other. Not one person in that room looked at their watch trying to leave early, got frustrated when accountability hit, or complained about it being 12 hours into their workday. They were all laughing, coaching, and loving what they do.
I asked everyone at the table—who are some of the top managers in the country—why they wanted to work for Kerry’s Car Care. They all agreed that this company was their family. They all started at the same place and worked their way up. They are held to high standards, but know that they are cared for, served by, and loved by their team. They know that the owners and regional managers will never ask them to do a job that they wouldn’t do themselves. Kerry and Chris provide training in life, management, and business—they don’t just cover shop topics. They even have fun team outings, like bowling, shooting, laser tag and more. They give away contest prizes, and even a trip to Talking Stick Resort and Casino for one of the team members!
The GM of the Scottsdale location, Jacob, said that he wakes up every day working with people that he knows will make him a better leader, salesman, and manager. He knows that he will have another opportunity to compete with his team mates, and he knows that Kerry’s is a place that provides future growth potential.
Kerry, Denise, Leah and Chris make sure that they serve their employees each day, and that that service is passed along to their customers. They plan to continue to grow, and continue their tradition of having a team prayer circle on the land of any new location before breaking ground.