May '19

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MAY 2019 THE SHOP 41 three more based off your hectic week price. Remember, your vendor is there to help you at times like these because you're making them money, too. They also don't want orders to be screwed up. The reason I say this is because I've made the mistake and had to honor the price. OPEN COMMUNICATION We made a list of all our dealerships and had Sorin, our rep, make phone calls in advance to see—if it came down to it—if we could keep the car one more day. You'd be surprised how much some people appreciate just the simple heads-up that you're in a pinch. If you don't do it and wait until the day it must go back, I guarantee it won't be as easy. Imagine if you bought a car and you were excited to pick it up on the day you agreed upon, when the dealer calls you the day of to tell you it won't be ready. The more honesty restylers give their customers, the more customers will have a better experience with a product, which helps the entire industry. We also had the weather against us the entire week, so we tracked roads and weather alerts per county. If a region was getting hit with snow, we knew to plan the delivery accordingly so the driver wouldn't get stuck in traffic. If we had to wait on a vehicle to get done, my brother would handle the phones while I went with a driver to plant a chase car at the dealership. That way, when the late runs were ready for delivery, they were one-man trips. We brainstormed as a group and decided to break into two shifts. This gave everyone the opportunity to choose what would work best for them. The cars were then ready for inspection by morning, and the drivers could get the far trips out of the way while the weather was better. This was crucial for Friday morning deliveries, as the night guys were able to keep the work moving. There were other things that helped a great deal. I brought bagels and made a breakfast spread in the kitchen so people could snack when they wanted to. We had pizza deliveries, upbeat music and my dad constantly making coffee. These are some of the things I think about now that were helpful to us all. Challenges like these seem to serve as a test for a company. Our GM came back the following week and we told him all our stories. It was a bonding experience, and I admire my staff for stepping up and making it happen with a positive attitude. There will be times when things happen that are out of your control. How you strat- egize and carry yourself through the process will make all the difference. COURTNEY LEIGH PAHLKE and her brother are second- generation partners of their father's 44-year-old company, Top Coverage. Their locations service nearly 350 dealerships in Chicago and throughout Illinois, where they work hard to grow their father's empire. Learn more at Sometime midweek I bought Airborne and ran around asking our guys if they wanted any. We had a sick retail customer come in and I feared an outbreak that could hinder us even more! My sales rep, Sorin, and me waiting for the next driver. I had to swing by and pick them all up in the Jeep, as the snow was bad that day.

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