Ask a Car Dealer Podcast, Episode 6: The Dealership Service Department

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What are the scariest two words in every car owner’s life?


It’ll make the hairs on the back of your neck stand right up, and the moment that light comes on it has your full undivided attention. 

It’s all that matters. The light’s on!!! What do we do now?

It’s a tough question. 

You have lots of options when it comes to car repair whether it’s the check engine light, an oil change, new brakes, or an engine overhaul. 

No matter what kind of car repair you need, the first thing you should know is whether you need a mechanic or a technician says Zach Smith, Service Manager at Gary Crossley Ford in Liberty, MO just outside Kansas City.

“A mechanic is your backyard mechanic. I do brakes. I can do this. I can do that,” says Zach.  “A technician is actually trained with qualifications and certifications.”

Gary Crossley Ford service department senior master technicians

Your second cousin who fools around on cars is probably a perfectly fine mechanic… If you trust them.

You have to trust them to tell you the truth. To not charge you three grand for a new transmission when what you needed was $3 worth of transmission fluid.

But you also have to trust that they can actually do the job, and the newer your vehicle is, the trickier that becomes. Modern vehicles aren’t just rolling hunks of steel. Each one contains a network of 30 computers or more interacting to control all of your vehicle’s systems.

Some customers get the idea that that means all the technician needs to do is plug your car or truck into the little doohickey, and bing, bang, boom, you’re back in action, ready to roll.

But the little doohickey is not a magic 8 ball

It doesn’t have all the answers.

That’s where the technicians and all of their qualifications, certifications, and most importantly, experience come in.

Zach may be the boss, but with just shy of a decade of experience at Gary Crossley Ford, he’s still considered one of the new guys.

“A lot of guys have been here a long time,” he says. “I think the newest guy in the shop has been here 4 years. Another guy, Chris Galloway, has been here for 32 years. It’s just a good place to work.”

Gary Crossley ford service department technician Jonathon

“It’s a good family environment, and people don’t want to leave.”

It’s that environment that keeps the technicians around long enough to get the experience they need the develop the qualifications required to earn the certifications that prove you can trust them.

You can trust what they say, and you can trust the work that they do.

Gary Crossley Ford has the big Ford sign out front, but there are a lot of Ford dealers around Kansas City with a lot of Ford signs.

The Ford sign might buy Zach and his team enough trust to get you in the front door… ONCE. 

He keeps his team on track by reminding them that trust has to be earned with every turn of the wrench.

“What are we going to do differently here at Gary Crossley Ford?” he asks. “What is going to make us memorable to the customer and make them want to come back for service again?”

For Zach the answer is people.

“I believe in building a relationship with customers. People buy from people,” he says.  “And I wouldn’t have any service advisor here that wasn’t a good person.”

“The best thing about this team is we do what’s right for the customer.”

So if your check engine light is on, the answer is to find someone you trust.

Zach thinks Gary Crossley Ford can help. You can take his word for it, or you can trust the 1500+ Gary Crossley Ford reviews on Google.

Ask A Car Dealer is hosted by Joey Little and usually Todd Gentry from Gary Crossley Ford in Kansas City (thanks to Zach Smith for filling in).  Drop them a message with any questions about the car business, about Kansas City Bar B Que, or about the Voyages extraordinaires of Jules Verne.

Any views or opinions expressed are the views and opinions of Joey Little and Todd, and only of Joey and Todd.



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