Originally Published by: PitchEngine
Article Written By: Samantha Waller
Originally Posted: March 5, 2012

Samantha Waller Discusses the Culture of Customer Service at Nylund’s Collision Center

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Nylund’s Collision Center in Englewood, Colorado has a reputation for being the best auto body shop* in the Denver metropolitan area. They are known for their relentless pursuit of perfection when it comes to the final delivery of every car that comes through their doors. We sat down with Samantha Waller, one of Nylund’s multifunctional employees (the staff don’t have titles) to discover what sets this shop apart from so many of the 700 or so body shops across the front range.

UIYB: What is your job description?
SW: I am one of the many whose job description is almost as difficult to define as a title. I started out in more of an administrative role; answering phones, filing, connecting customers to an estimator and helping out the owners Rob and Carol Grieve. Today, I do a lot of running around, filling in wherever needed. I order parts, check them in and organize them so that each person working on a given project knows right where to find them. I’m often involved in shuttling parts between departments and I even handle some of the estimating process, too. I interface with the customers quite a bit these days, and I just delivered a job that I handled from start to finish, which is something new. In short, I guess I’m doing a little of everything.

UIYB: That’s quite a lot of hats to wear. How long have you worked at Nylund’s?
SW: Just eighteen months. That’s one of the things I really enjoy about my job. There’s always something new to learn, and lots of opportunities to gain skills across the different departments. Many of us on staff cross-train to become more valuable to the overall customer experience. We work together as a team, which really helps create accountability and adds to the comfort of the customers who bring their cars to us.

UIYB: You mention the customers – or the customer experience – a lot. That seems unusual in an industry where the cars are typically the focus of attention.
SW: At Nylund’s, we are constantly reminded that we are not in the car repair business… we are in the people business, and car repair is just what brings us together. Our customers are considered guests, and often they become more like family as they return for our services again or refer us to their friends and family. One of the things we’re most proud of is our high level of communication throughout the customer experience. We contact them at every step of the repair, letting them know how things are going, and what they can realistically expect the process to be like. We go to bat every day for them with the insurance companies, whose main goal is to reduce costs – while ours is to do the job right. Our customers can relax, knowing that we are taking care of every detail until the day their car is returned to them as good as new.

UIYB: With such a concierge service toward the customer, Nylund’s must charge premium prices for a car repair.
SW: Actually, we are no more expensive than anyone else in the car repair business. The insurance companies set the prices for what everyone in our industry makes on a repair job. Truth be known, we probably make less than most, because we won’t cut corners on the quality of parts or the finished quality of the repair. If the insurance companies won’t pay for the right part to replace a damaged original part, Nylund’s will either negotiate pricing with the supplier, or we will pay the difference – all of which comes out of the same amount paid to every body shop. If your high-end luxury vehicle requires an original part in order for the repair to be safe… we order the original part, even if it means we end up paying the difference. We do not cut corners when it comes to safety or quality.

UIYB: Sounds like a pretty great place to work. What, if anything, would you improve?
SW: It’s the best place to work. Rob and Carol treat all of the staff with respect, and the rest of the team all work pretty well together. If I could add one thing to the work we do, it would be the return of our custom paint department. I personally had a lot of fun helping paint a custom motorcycle that went on to win several awards and be featured in a trade magazine. It’s a very specialized niche, and so too the people who can create art in the custom pair world are few and far between… but I loved that part of my job when we were offering it about a year ago.

UIYB: Anything else you’d like to add?
SW: Just this: No one likes being in a car accident, or having your car damaged in one way or another. But accidents happen, and sometimes damage just happens. When it does, I know that there’s only one place I would ever tell my friends or family to go to. Nylund’s Collision Center really is the best… not because I say so – but because hundreds and hundreds of our customers say so. I’ve seen cars worth more than houses leave our shop better looking than when they rolled off the assembly line. And I’ve seen Honda Civics that look like showroom quality leave our building. Cars come to us in every possible damaged condition… but they always leave the same: better than new.

And there you have it… our interview with Samantha Waller. Pride runs deep at Nylund’s, and perhaps it’s a little easier to see why, after hearing her share the values and convictions of the culture of customer service there.

*Nylund’s Collision Center was awarded the Best Body Shop in the 2011 Denver Channel 7 A-List competition. Customer votes were collected over the course of several months, and tallied, awarding the best of the best with recognition and certification.

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