Ever step into an auto repair shop and see something that made you want to turn tail and flee, even if every light on your dashboard’s flashing and the nearest alternative was 50 miles away?
Maybe it was the mechanic’s singed eyebrows, hinting at frequent explosions — or the fact that he was pacing the shop mumbling, “Righty tighty, lefty loosey.”
Perhaps it was the pickup loosely suspended by an ancient lift device. Or the bubbling pool of oily fluids covering the
Our own inner “hazard lights” begin flashing at the sight of these things.
“We love it when customers talk about those experiences,” said Andre Sauter, parts and service manager at Thorncrest Ford in Toronto, Ontario. Their town is the most populous metro area in Canada with almost 2.7 million people.
Sauter and his team of service pros run a shop even Car Talk’s “Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers” would have had trouble taking a poke at.
Technical proficiency, professionalism and shop cleanliness are no joke to the Canadian dealership, which was voted the best Ford dealer in the greater Toronto area and awarded the Consumers Choice Award for 17 consecutive years. That takes serious dedication to superb service and — no doubt — the facility’s order and cleanliness.
All About the Customer
Last year, the managers of Thorncrest Ford decided to fund the construction of a new service garage to more conveniently serve their rapidly growing business. The new 3,000-s.f. customer reception center, or CRC, is a double-bay garage accommodates up to eight vehicles, and has all the bells and whistles.
After entering the drive-through, customers pull up to the latest piece of equipment — a Hawkeye Elite Alignment System, which robotically clamps onto each wheel of the vehicle. In less than three minutes, the Hawkeye checks the alignment, takes tire tread depth measurements, carries out a battery test and checks for any DTC’s (diagnostic trouble codes, such as check engine lights.)
“We wanted all aspects of the new CRC to serve our customer’s needs to get in and out as quickly and conveniently as possible,” added Sauter.
Customer and employee safety was a concern, too. In fact, it was high on the list of must-haves.
Mechanics: No Strangers to Danger
Auto repair areas can be hazardous, so there’s no tolerance of liquids on the floor at this shop.
Auto mechanics are responsible for keeping a dizzying variety of vehicles in working order, so safe and orderly shop conditions play a critical role in getting the job done, and keeping them safe.
“During the planning process, we had to try to envision all facets of the new facility,” said Sauter. “From a customer’s very first impression, and aesthetics, all the way to the safety of our own employees — we pushed ourselves to see it. After all, we had a hard-earned reputation to maintain and we want to protect it from every angle.”
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