Who Cares?

Written by mitch. Posted in General Community, Personal, Uncategorized

Like any business focused on continuous improvement we spend a lot of time trying to figure out the “one good reason” anyone should take that great leap of faith and give us a chance to show them what we can do.

 “One good reason” is all about differentiation: what causes a shop like ours to stand out among the hundreds of choices in automotive service available in our community within a fifteen mile radius. There are only so many differentiators and success is dependent upon finding the right one: the one that works for both the consumer and for a shop like ours.

 You can try to be the low cost leader, but it’s kind of crowded at the bottom with more than a few service providers making that claim. Something must be sacrificed in order to compete on the basis of price alone and too often that something wil either be the quality of the part or the service or the overall service experience itself.

 You can compete on quality, but in this economy it would be foolish to ignore price and the impact it has on value.

 Service is important, but it would be naïve to suggest that great – even, World Class – service is meaningful unless associated with both quality and value…

Dad: early '80s Schneider's Auto, Simi Valley

Dad: early ’80s Schneider’s Auto, Simi Valley

So, what does that leave you with?

 It leaves you with one of my father’s favorite aphorisms… “You gotta wanna fix the car!” And, wanting to fix the car is all about people!

 Quality, service and value can’t care…

Only people can care: Care about the vehicle… Care about the client… Care about the Industry… Care about service, quality and value.  

I care because my father cared. Working alongside someone who cared so deeply for thirty-eight years made it hard not to. And, because we cared so much – the people we surrounded ourselves with cared.Schneiders 1

In fact, I believe caring has become an integral part of our culture and serves as the ultimate ‘differentiator.’

Caring colors every decision we make and determines every action we take. In fact, I believe it would be hard to find another shop that cares more. But, that level of care demands we walk a tightrope every day, trying to find the right balance of quality, value and service and when it comes to that, I’m convinced no one tries harder, does it better or succeeds more often.

 Lots of things have changed since I entered this industry forty-seven years ago, but some haven’t.  I know the decision to bring a vehicle to a shop like ours is still based on at least one of four elements that translate directly into caring. And, at least insofar as our shop is concerned, the only thing that has changed in the thirty-three years we have been serving this community is the level of that caring – it is deeper, more profound and more tangible than ever and if you haven’t been in for a while I’d like to invite you to experience that level of care once again.

The quality is still here made even more tangible by our 2 year/24,000 mile warranty accepted all across the United States and our affiliation with a network of like-minded professionals all across America and Canada. Our commitment to service is just as strong with a shuttle available, special deals on rental cars and VIP pick up and delivery. And, we enhance the value of everything we offer with special pricing, a 3% loyalty rewards program, discounts and allowances like our 10% off* on your next visit, our Mystery Gift program and more.

 The bottom line is simple… If you want to know who cares, I can honestly answer: We care! We care more and more deeply than anyone else we know and if finding someone like that is important to you, you can stop looking. You’ve already found what you’re looking for…

 If you’re not from around here don’t despair! I can almost promise there’s someone just like us down the block or around the corner, someone who cares just as much and is more than willing to try just as hard…

If you can’t find ’em, let me know and I’ll help you!

 

 up to $250… not to be used with any other coupons, discounts and/or allowances.

A Younger Man’s Eyes…

Written by mitch. Posted in Blog, Personal

I was sitting at my desk lamenting the fact I haven’t been able to write in weeks: analyzing the interruptions, cataloguing the distractions. I’m sure I looked pathetic to anyone peering into the office, having fallen prey to a a host of demons who refused to be cast out upon the blank page staring back at me.

Well, excuses are like bellybuttons… with everybody having at least one. The problem was I had more than my share and all of them were legitimate: challenges at the shop, an industry Summit in Las Vegas, preparing to sponsor a community event and the ever-present “To Do” list growing ever larger every day.

I needed to get something going. But, I was stuck. Paralyzed! So, I did what most people do when frustration becomes unbearable anxiety… I opened my inbox and started wading through my emails.

mitchFeb12  002There’s something therapeutic about deleting emails. It may be a little like eating Chinese food where you eat something only to find yourself hungry again a half hour later. But, deleting emails actually feels like you’re accomplishing something even if it’s an illusion: even knowing there will be just as many to delete tomorrow!

I was in “The Zone,” ripping through email after countless email trying to sell me something or get me to buy something or just trying to prevent me from doing something meaningful when I literally had to knock my finger off the ‘delete’ key before it was too late. It was an email from an old friend. One of the very first people I met in L.A. when we moved here from New York what feels like a million years ago.

His nickname was “Animal,” which pretty much says it all… especially, when you realize Sesame Street and the Muppets hadn’t aired yet. He introduced me to the third Musketeer; or, maybe it was the other way around… I’m not sure any more. But, I am sure the three of us we were inseparable for our last two years of High School.My beautiful picture

Dave had evidently stumbled across some old pictures: some really old pictures of the three of us just after graduation and had attached them to the email I almost deleted, alongside a mug shot of each of us and the way we look today.

There are truckloads of clichés to describe the impact of an email like that, an email that forces you back in time and then drops you mercilessly into the present. There are countless ways to convey what it’s like to confront those three strangers: what it’s like to find them staring at you with a younger man’s eyes.

It’s especially difficult when Los Angeles was the last place on earth you wanted to be the summer of your sixteenth birthday: when you remember just how angry, miserable and unhappy you were and how hard you tried to ensure everyone around you had a chance to react to those same emotions.

I’ve told almost everyone I know how much I hated everything about L.A. for the first four or five years I was here. And, yet, I couldn’t stop smiling: smiling so hard my face hurt!

Could it have been that bad? Sure felt that way while I was stumbling through it…

And, yet, I was smiling… I’m still smiling!

I’m smiling because all I can think of is how much fun we had and how much trouble we got into: cruising Sunset Blvd, fighting side-by-side, evading L.A.’s finest while they chased us through Park La Brea, driving to Palm Springs for coffee and then home again – the same night, street racing and John-John telling the cop standing at his window –  ticket book open – that he’d like a hamburger, fries and a coke (Yes, someone really did that before it found its way into the movies!)!

All I could think of was how these two guys were always there and always there for me. That, and how important the kind of unconditional friendship outlaws and outcasts seem to have in High School was to someone feeling as isolated, alone and vulnerable as I did then.

They kept me sane and safe… Well, sane, anyway. And, I’d like to think I helped do the same for them.

So, thank you, Animal. Thanks for a trip back in time, however brief. Thanks for the memories and thanks for your unconditional friendship when we were kids. You never will know just how much it meant or how important it was.

And, John-John, I’ll stand back-to-back with you anywhere and at any time… I’ll even ride along the next time you want to play “Paper Thin,” and that’s saying a lot.

I’m not sure you can look ahead at life through a younger man’s eyes, but you can certainly look back into those eyes and see the seeds of who you are and how you got here. That, and the reflection of two great friends looking back at me…