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SHOP STATS: Roggi's Auto Service  Location: Harford, Conn.   Operator: Wayne Roggi  Average Monthly Car Count: 220  Staff Size: 11  Shop Size: 5,000 sq ft; Annual Revenue; $2.2


Shop: Roggi’s Auto Service
Location: Hartford, Conn.
Staff size: 11
Shop Size: 5,000 square feet
Average monthly car count: 220
Annual revenue: $2.2 million


Roggi’s Auto Service has had two shops today in the Hartford, Conn., community, but the second location was created as a solution for an issue that started in the early stages of the auto repair business. The original facility, which opened in 1948, was tucked behind apartment buildings creating little to no visibility for the shop.

The lack of visibility for customers made the shop work harder to develop a culture that was easily-recognizable to the public, despite physical barriers that hid the building from the public. The shop formed a customer-first culture to stand out among others, and is something that

vice president of operations Henry Roggi focuses on still today.

After Roggi’s father, Wayne, took over the business in 1987, he made the decision to open a satellite location in Manchester. Later in 2005, the satellite location was moved to a downtown spot that was more accessible for Hartford residents—creating two stores in the Hartford area.

Then, in 2012, the business consolidated under one roof, making the downtown location the sole store—one that wasn’t shielded from the public.

“That [satellite location] was about 15 miles from where we are today,” Roggi says.

After starting full time in 2007, Roggi has worked to develop a shop culture and, ultimately, strengthen customer relationships.

“I think there’s a lot of shops out there that are fixing cars and not really tending to the customers or the client. I think that’s been pretty much our motto,” Roggi says. “The whole customer experience should be easy. I mean, it should be easy [because] you’re here to help somebody out when you need help and it shouldn’t be difficult.”

Since Roggi was young, he’s had a passion for working on cars, but, over the years, he’s made a point to focus on customer retention and shop culture in order to make the business stand out today.
 

As told to Kiley Wellendorf

 

Every day is really different; you go in with a plan, and usually within the first three minutes, the plan changes. I get to the shop around 6:45 in the morning; I tend to everyday things like turning on the coffee pot and then I begin sorting through emails. I meet with my service advisor who comes in and we begin planning for how the day is going to go.

We’re big on customer appreciation here, so when customers walk in the door, they see our “welcome” board that lists who will visit the shop that day. We just implemented the whiteboard a few months back and it’s a nice way for everyone to stay organized. Customers sometimes like seeing who is stopping by the shop that day and it’s just a way for us to show that our customers are more than just a number. We’ve found that it’s a good talking point, too.

I have an office in both the front and the back of the shop, so I’m sometimes pulled in different directions at once. It’s my passion to work on cars, but I’m needed in other spots throughout the day, so I like to help out where I can.

 

We have meetings with our staff every Tuesday at 9:45 a.m. During those meetings, we always try to talk about something to do with the shop and overall shop safety. We go through both the good and the bad about how processes are going on in the shop and I would say that we always try to end on a positive note.

In our business, we really focus on culture with our employees, but that doesn’t stop outside the shop walls—we want our atmosphere to be welcoming for everyone. We’re lucky enough to have guys that have worked here longer than I’ve been around, and it’s something we really take to heart. We have a guy who has been here for 40 years and another who just celebrated 25 years, and I think that really says something about our shop. We try to treat everyone like family, and in that, we focus on ways to come together like one.

It doesn’t happen as often as I hope, but I try to shoot for a monthly activity like bowling where we can all come together outside of the shop and bond.

 

We all eat together at one table like a family when it’s time for lunch. In establishing that family-feel culture, we really try to get everyone together when we can. We show appreciation for our employees and when it’s their birthday, we buy a cake. I think this has really helped our staff grow close; we really try to get everyone together, which has showed us great results. Our shop is close quarters, so we want to make sure that everyone can get along and work together as a team—that’s important for us.

 

I spend a lot of time focusing on marketing and putting together ways we can give back and support our customers, too. On Wednesdays, I dedicate some time to looking at marketing and ways we can give back. I have three different pillars that I focus on when marketing: new customers that come in, customer retention, and reviews. I think it’s a good way to make sure we’re doing what we’re supposed to do when we focus on those three aspects. It’s tough to micromanage every single customer that comes in, so this gives us the opportunity to really understand our customers.

Roughly a year ago, we came up with the idea to give back to our customers once they leave our shop, so we now put thank you gifts in their vehicles when they head out. Gifts typically include a handwritten card from my father and me, as well as either a piece of candy or something that says “thanks.” During the holidays, we give reusable shopping bags and the customer seems to really appreciate it. I’d say we’ve gotten great response from our customers so far since bringing the initiative along, and we enjoy giving back to our customers.

 

At the end of the day, I get together again with my service advisor to go over how everything went that day. We go through what the schedule looks like with customers and then we make sure customers have their follow-ups sent off. We use a text messaging service that helps us connect with our customers, so we make sure all of those messages are sent off.

In order for us to prepare for the next day, we put together the schedule on a TV that we have set up in the office; we assign who is doing what, as well as the number of jobs that are expected for the day.

The guys will be out of the shop by 5 p.m. and I’m usually out around 6 p.m. Either my father or I are the last ones to leave, and when we head out, we turn off all the lights, lock the doors, and close the gate.

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