When taking over the family business, or any business for that matter, you have some big shoes to fill, earning the staff, customer, and community's trust from scratch. When siblings Chad Shelton and Lauren Dennison took over their dad's shop, Springdale Automotive in Louisville, Ky., they wanted to become the new faces of the business while making sure their dad's legacy lived on. However, it took developing a new approach to get them there.
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"When me and Chad took over, our main goal taking over was creating a new culture and establishing ourselves as leaders of the company," Lauren says.
They made sure to do this by giving more appreciation to technicians and making the shop feel more like family, especially since the business was actually family-owned and operated. The shop started buying lunches, had breakfast socials, even potlucks here and there to give it that family feel. This past year, they had the shop's first-ever Springdale Fest at their family farm with an extended invite to its staff, customers, vendors—everyone was welcome to join in.
Chad and Lauren also created a Facebook group with all of the shop's employees and managers to create even more of a family feel.
"We post any changes, updates to programs, birthdays—we try to keep everyone in the loop," Lauren says. "It's definitely helped with communication as well."
Check out this shop's culture focus to recruiting more women in the industry.
Customer Service & Experience
With the age of technology in full swing, Chad and Lauren knew updates were needed to be made once their dad stepped down from ownership. They wanted to have a high focus on the customer experience.
With a big focus on utilizing Google Reviews, they wanted to focus on making the experience as convenient and accessible as possible. The shop has since implemented AutoText.Me, a cloud-based communication tool that gives customers instant updates on where there car is at in the service process, keeping customers constantly in the loop.
"We really hit home on that and take hold of that program full-throttle," Lauren says.
The shop even launched its very own app to model its website. Chad and Lauren then have their managers push out discounts and rewards just for those customers that have the app.
Looking to upgrade the customer experience in your shop? See how one shop gave itself a needed upgrade here.