High CSI scores and I-CAR trained staff deliver business at Koss Collision Center
San Jose, Calif.—Don and Bob Koss, brothers and co-owners of Koss Collision, have worked together in the paint and body business for nearly four decades.
After working at dealerships since the early 1980s, the Koss brothers opened their own shop in 2004. Once they found the right location, they spent eight months remodeling the building, Don Koss said. “I never worked as hard in my life as I did on this building. Bob and I did most of the work ourselves.”
The front office and waiting area has a custom-made marble-topped counter, leather furniture, a huge in-wall aquarium, and an array of certifications and awards including I-CAR Gold Class, I-CAR Platinum, American Honda ProFirst Collision Repair, KRON4’s Best of the Bay Award for “Best Auto Body Shop in Northern California”, and are a Certified Bay Area Green Business.
Koss Collision’s equipment includes a Chief EZ Liner S21 frame machine and Chief Velocity computerized measuring system; several welders, including a ProSpot PR-10 compression spot welder; a Global Finishing Solutions heated downdraft spray booth; and a computerized paint mixing system. The shop sprays Sikkens paint.
The Kosses said they had worked with all of their technicians for at least 10 years at other shops before hiring them, so they knew they had a qualified
I-CAR-trained crew from the start.
“We are looking at buying a newer multi-metal spot welder,” Bob Koss said, “and we are planning on setting up an aluminum repair facility because that’s the wave of the future. We’re also considering hiring a technician for mechanical repairs beyond collision-related.”
Ninety-eight percent of the parts the shop uses are OEM.
The shop has earned the Diamond Certified Award from American Ratings Corporation (ARC) for six years, which Don Koss, who runs the front office, said has helped the shop gain new customers and a 15-percent increase in business in the past two years.
“We had to go through a rigorous rating and certification process,” he said. “That included taking a random sample of 200 past customers who were surveyed confidentially to determine our customer satisfaction score (CSI), which has to be 90 or above out of 100. The shop also has to be recertified every year through the same process.”
“It’s pretty intimidating when you first apply,” he said. “But it’s paid off because of the way the Diamond Certified program is marketed to the public. They target people who want a quality repair, not those who just want to save a dime.”
He said the shop is also provided with Diamond Certified signage, personalized brochures that he includes with every estimate and repair receipt, and Diamond Certified company directories.
“I recall one instance where a woman was standing outside with me as I was doing the estimate and she reached in her bag and pulled out a Diamond Certified Directory book and said, ‘I knew I wanted to have my car fixed here because you’re Diamond Certified,’” Don recalled, “So it can be a helpful marketing tool.”
Another factor in the shop’s bottom-line growth, he said, is the Internet, including peer-review sites, videos, the shop’s Facebook page and its website.
“We have people who bring in their friends and relatives and we have them fill out a card that asks how they found out about us — repeat, referral, the Internet,” he said. “Our repeat customers are No. 1, but it amazes me how many new customers check the Internet.”
The goal, he said, is to give every customer “a positive experience from the time they walk in the door and are greeted by Sharon Koss, who is our office manager, to the final detailing done by Adam Carrera.”
The shop gets referrals from local independent mechanical repair shops, and has one direct repair program. Because of its reputation for quality, the shop has established “desk review” relationships with several insurance companies.
“Desk reviews are a coming thing,” he said. “The insurance companies send us a claim electronically. We then write the estimate and take photos to send back to them for approval.”