ho will pass along the news of their good experience.
“There are very few things we use that aren’t factory,” Dan says, adding that their association with the local Honda dealership helps attract business. “We sell the jobs by pushing OEM parts. There are rare instances where we’ll offer a customer something that’s not an OEM part, but usually it’s because of the customer’s pocketbook, not because of how we want to sell the job.”
Dan says the benefits of their partnership with the local dealership are numerous, from working with a knowledgeable staff to completing jobs in a more timely fashion.
“If you’re dealing with parts personnel who are more well-trained, they may mention something that you weren’t thinking about but that you might need,” Dan explains. “That saves you time, because you don’t have to order a part later on when you’ve got the car torn apart. And, of course, you end up with a happier customer because they get their car back the same day.”
“My dream was to build a service business where trust and 100-percent customer satisfaction are the norm, not the exception,” Dan says. “And the one thing I’ve learned is to give more than what’s expected, and the customer will return – and they’ll tell their friends and co-workers and relatives.”
The formula seems to be working. While Dan and Kris have a listing in the Yellow Pages and they provide business cards to employees at every level, the driving force behind their success is the “word-of-mouth” referral.
That and the shops’ website. At www.hondahospital.com, customers can find out more about the business, including the commitment to use only Honda parts, and even how to schedule an appointment online. “People make appointments on it every day,” Dan comments. “We refer virtually every new customer … to the website because there’s a lot of information on there about us.”
IMAGE IS EVERYTHING
While Dan says he always knew he would one day own a shop, he didn’t know what the name would be. With nurses for sisters, the name Honda Hospital seemed like a logical decision; one that has lent itself well to promotional items.
“…The hospital bracelets that they put on you when you go to the hospital – that’s what we use for key tags,” he says. “We carry that hospital motif out.”
And since every reputable hospital has to be clean, and have the latest medical technology, Honda Hospital is no exception. “We’re very big on image,” Dan comments. “We run a very clean shop with high-tech equipment. We’re just very image conscience. It goes along with the name Honda Hospital.”
Training and certification also play an important role in the success of the two Honda Hospital locations. Both of the shops have been designated ASE Blue Seal shops, of which there are only 150 in the entire state of California.
“It means that 75 percent of your people are ASE-certified, but our job descriptions require everyone to be ASE-certified,” Dan explains, adding that displaying those certifications goes a long way in assuring customers that their Hondas will be well cared for and returned to them in good working order.
Their industry certification and involvement doesn’t stop there either: Dan is an accredited automotive manager and Kris was recently elected to the state board for the Automotive Service Councils of California, which serves as a consumer guide to quality auto repair facilities in the state.
“We’re really big on training, from in-house instruction to seminars. Every single person in our shop is required to stay continuously trained,” Dan says.
Why go to such lengths?
“It’s all about the customer,” explains Dan, adding that their partnership with the local Honda dealership only reinforces their reputation in the eyes of their customers. “The association that we have makes our customers feel more comfortable knowing that we do business with Honda.”
Not only do Honda Hospital technicians use Honda OEM parts to repair customers’ vehicles, but they also the use Honda Service Express™ website on a daily basis. The Cesenas’ two locations served as beta testing grounds for the one-stop source for Honda and Acura service information.
“It’s an incredible tool,” Dan says of Service Express. “Something I wish we’d had for years.”
To make Service Express even more valuable for its staff, the Cesenas have a network computer system throughout their shops, with DSL at every terminal.
“We can access that from anywhere in the shop,” Dan says. “We hook [our technicians] up to everything high-tech that’s possible, because that’s the future.”