Leading the pack in service
Wenatchee, Wash.—Brian Thorpe has few illusions about what it takes to operate a full-service automotive repair shop and provide exemplary customer service.
“With us at Global Car Care, it involves our technicians who have a high level of expertise and are accurate, caring, and persistent,” he said. “They have the ability to work on vehicles in Wenatchee where there may no OEM dealership to service them. Plus, having an exceptional facility and a firm commitment to building long-term relationships one person at a time with our outstanding service advisors, our staff could be a role model for teamwork.”
While Global offers complete automotive services, including tires, alignment, repairing of minor scratches and bumper damage, plus diesel truck service, Thorpe said 80 percent or more of overall business involves underhood work — from diagnostics to engine work.
With six technicians working in 11 service bays in the 8,500-square-foot facility, the average monthly car count is 230. Though Global works on all domestic and import vehicles, Thorpe said that over the years the shop has become a European specialist and is known throughout the area for its Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, and Volvo service. Total service and repair volume is $1.5 million annually.
The Bosch Car Service Center’s techs use a diversity of scan tool and scopes: Autologic and Farsight for deep European support, Vag-Com for VW, Snap-on Modis for its vast capability and ease of use, and Launch scan tools. The shop also uses a Pico Scope, BG EFI and fluid service equipment, Robiniar A/C equipment, as well as a variety of multimeters and other test equipment.
“The industry is changing fast,” said Thorpe, who was an ASE-certified Master Technician for nine years prior to opening Global in 1983. “We have to properly manage our diagnostic time and perform vehicle inspections that are realistic.”
To that end, the shop is using the Repair Shop Solutions system for its digital inspections, which have altered how inspections are performed and have improved customer communication.
“It’s a great visual tool — it’s easy to add photos and is very flexible. Our techs love it and so do our customers because it educates them about their service and repairs with full transparency.
While digital inspections are helpful, Thorpe is adamant that building customer relationships is clean and clear communication with each person who walks through the door.
Another aspect of the customer relationship is the MaxxTraxx shop management system, though Thorpe said he is considering ShopWare for added communication between the shop and its clients.
Thorpe has long been involved with the Elite’s Pro Service group and said he values the networking and coaching he obtains from Elite’s staff and 20 Group partners.
Staff obtains training through a variety of sources, including three days of training at the Automotive Training Expo (ATE) each March in Seattle, AVI OnDemand online, Bosch, WORLDPAC, and Autologic.
Active in ASA-NW and Rotary, Thorpe said Global is an A+ rated business with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The shop was a finalist for the 2018 BBB Torch Awards for Ethics in the Northwest + Pacific Region that includes Alaska, Idaho, Hawaii, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Western Wyoming. The award recognizes excellence in business and Thorpe said he applied for the award “to recognize my staff, who through selfless service have risen to the top of our industry by providing an uncommon level of professionalism, competence, and desire to do the right thing for every client.”
Global Elite Motors, a separate company that sells vehicles, has its office inside Global Car Care. Sitting on 1.4 acres, there is more than ample space for the 100 or so cars and trucks sold each year by a full-time sales person and Thorpe. “We do about $1.4 million in car sales each year, plus the shop gets some repair and service work.”