Cherish Your Team So That They’ll Cherish Your Customers

Energizing your shop and changing customers’ lives starts with energizing your team. Here’s how Mike Collins makes it happen at Collins Automotive.

Service writer and customer talking


A lot of shop owners, and business owners in general, get so busy with running their business. If we’re not careful, I think we can tend to forget our staff and our team members without even realizing it.

I have a routine where, every single day when I get to the shop, I walk around, and I talk with every single technician. I don't care how busy I am, or if my phone is ringing, I make the time to talk with every single technician before I even set my stuff down.

I take care of my employees first, and then I take care of our customers. The reason I put it in that order is because I believe if you take care of your employees and help them love where they work, then they will naturally take care of your customers; you cherish your employees to carry your customers.

We're not just here fixing cars. We're here changing people's lives. We're making sure that a nurse can get to the hospital to save somebody's life. We're making sure that a soccer mom who's driving in the streets to take her kids to soccer practice is going to be safe with her kids in that car. We fix doctors cars who are going to drive to work, and they're going to perform open heart surgery and save somebody's life. What if they couldn't get to work that day and a substitute doctor had to take over?

I don't allow my technicians to call themselves mechanics, I build them up. I tell them, “You're not a mechanic. Mechanics were in the 70's. mechanics change parts. You guys are skilled technicians. You need to be proud of yourselves.”

“We're not just here fixing cars. We're here changing people's lives.”

One time, I wanted to have a meeting and I could tell everybody wasn't really pumped up that day, and I was sitting there thinking of ways I could pump them up. And, you know, music picks everybody up a notch.

So I turned the intercom on and called for everybody to stop what they're doing and come upstairs and have a meeting. I played a motivational song over the intercom and as funny as it was, as soon as I started playing “We Will Rock You,” everybody started dancing and having a good time.

And then by the time they came up for the meeting, everybody was rocking out and ready to go. So I walked into good energy already.

I am super excited to open a new location. I want to make room for my team to grow. Part of my hiring speech is sharing my vision with them; sharing my vision for them; sharing opportunities as they come up; showing them that if they work hard and they want to grow with the company, I've got room.

Everyday before I leave, I say goodbye. I walk through the shop and I find every single person that's here and I talk to them before I leave.

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