Doing Right Thing Makes Shop 'Unique'Posted 12/11/2007
By Levy Joffrion
His shop, Keller Import Service Inc., specializes in the maintenance and repair of Mercedes-Benz and Volvo automobiles.
Keller attributes his shop's success to being nice to customers, keeping a constant line of communication open with them, no 5 o'clock surprises, making the correct repair the first time (usually in the same day) and standing behind your work 100 percent. "In other words," says Keller, "just doing what every repair shop should do. It really shouldn't make us unique, but sadly, in today's world it does."
The shop also does a few other special things, like providing loaner cars, picking up and delivering vehicles if needed, sending a nice letter to all new customers, sending Christmas cards, sending out service due reminders, and mailing customers an informative newsletter.
"Our customers market for us, so other than a small Yellow Page listing and Web site, we spend little to nothing on advertising," says Keller.
Keller's business philosophy is simple: "Providing top-quality service that is second to none at a reasonable price (not cheap) and treating each customer (and employee) as you would want to be treated." Keller truly believes that "in the long run, no matter how well an automobile is manufactured, it's only as good as the service performed on it."
What does he like best about his job? Keller says, "Let's face it, when a customer comes to us, he or she usually has a problem. Being able to help them with this, and the instant gratification of delivering a properly repaired vehicle, is rewarding. I think that is why most of us chose this field."
Keller says all he ever wanted to be was a mechanic. "And yes, I did say 'mechanic' and I still prefer that to 'technician' today," he adds. "I started as a mechanic's helper at the local Olds dealership in 1964 when I was 17. After six months I moved to the local Mercedes dealership as an apprentice mechanic."
Realizing he needed help, Keller hired Russell Sheriff, a 16-year-old who was in the automotive program of the local high school. Nineteen years later, Sheriff is still with him. He is now the shop foreman. Since then, Keller has added two other technicians, both of whom came from the local Mercedes dealership.
"We are like a family," says Keller, "Sharing in each other's good times and bad times: marriages, children being born, grandchildren being born, houses being built, and yes, even deaths. We have always been there for each other." Keller says his hiring process usually takes about six months. "I want to make sure that the person will fit into our family, and that it is the best thing for them as well as for us," he says.
He has served as president of the ASA-Greenville, S.C., chapter; president of ASA-South Carolina; as an ASA-South Carolina national delegate; and currently, is ASA-South Carolina president-elect again. On the national level, he has served two terms as an affiliate director on ASA's national board of directors. Among awards he has received are "Outstanding Member of the Year, 1995;" "The Clyde Morgan Memorial Award" for being ASA-South Carolina's member of the year for 2006; and "The Athell Yon Memorial Award" - the highest award bestowed by ASA-South Carolina - for professionalism and dedication to the automotive repair industry.
When asked about his plans for the business, Keller said: "Nothing grandiose, just keep doing what we are doing."
Shop StatsName: Keller Import Service Inc.
Location: Easley, S.C.
Specialty: Mercedes-Benz, Volvo
No. of Employees: 4
Average number of repairs per week: About 25
Average ticket: $475
Projected Annual Sales: $600,000
Web Site: www.kellerimport.com
AutoInc. Web Site |
ASA Web Site |
How ASA Formulates Legislative Policy Positions |
Survival of the Fittest: 'How's Your Business?' Survey Results |
CARS 2007 Highlights |
NACE 2007 Highlights |
Here Comes More Change! |
Guest Editorial |
Tech to Tech |
Tech Tips |
News Briefs |
Taking the Hill |
Around ASA |
Shop Profile |
Net Worth |
Stat Corner |
Copyright (c) 1996-2011. Automotive Service Association®. All rights reserved.