“Your car is not the most important focus for the business, our people are.”
If you walked into a local auto repairer and saw that on the wall would you walk straight out to find someone more committed to your wheels, or would you first seek to understand why?
The truth is a sign like this doesn’t exist, but if you punch that statement into Google the first two links that come up are: ‘Creating the best workplace on earth’ and ‘the four things a service business must get right’. Interesting isn’t it?
Euro Technik is one of Perth’s most respected European car service and repair workshops, and while this sign is missing we’re sure its owner, Jesse Doherty, must have Googled this, absorbed the messages and applied his learnings to his business. It’s why his multi-site business looks after its customers better than anyone else, and is the shining light in a very competitive industry.
Doherty did what many auto shop owners do, he started his career undertaking an apprenticeship and gaining an appreciation for German engineered cars and how specialised you had to be to get the best result for the customer. His passion and ambition led him to pursuing a workshop manager role at a small workshop and then, looking for a bigger challenge, he parted ways and opened his first workshop with business partner Mark Mcnally, based in North Fremantle.
Whether it is mechanical repairs or maintenance, navigation map updates, electrical diagnosis or performance enhancements, Euro Technik’s state-of-the-art workshops are fully equipped to service any European vehicle, including Audi, BMW, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volkswagen. It goes about its work aiming to be the best, but it also wants to turn around some of the negativity that the automotive industry is unfairly renowned for.
“We have a philosophy at Euro Technik, we strive to be the most trusted and passionate group of Euro specialists in Perth,” Doherty said.
“We want to redeem the reputation of the automotive industry. It’s probably seen as unrealistic, but that’s what we aim for. We want to be known as the trusted guys, we don’t ever want to do anything wrong by people, we want to build good technicians, we want to do good things.”
This philosophy is obviously paying dividends because after four very successful years in North Freo, a second workshop was opened in Nedlands, a little closer to Perth.
“Whether it was the word-of-mouth growth, the customer retention or the new customers, it became quite clear, if we could train more staff with the same morals, values and ethical operating attitudes, then it was feasible to open up another workshop,” Doherty said.
And this is where we return to the importance of people, because to achieve this Euro Technik has invested in its technicians so that the work is done to the highest possible standards, attracting more customers.
“Training is vital, and you can never have too much of it,” said Doherty.
“We have a huge focus on internal training, we commit to two days per month across our 13 staff. It could be mirroring them on a process, teaching them about time management, improving diagnostic skills, or swapping staff around so they can buddy up with an expert in a particular field. We also commit to external training where opportunities present. It’s so important.”
In an industry that is struggling to retain staff, Euro Technik is bucking that trend thanks to a proactive people first, thinking-outside-of-the-box way. Its forward thinking, almost corporate approach to looking after their employees is impressive.
“We don’t have a problem with staff retention, we haven’t lost anyone for some time, which I think says a lot,” Doherty said.
“We are actually looking for more and we are proactively implementing more and more things to retain and attract people to the business.
“We have increased training initiatives, we offer employee assistance programs like counselling, diet and fitness plans, we also arrange cooking classes. Staff can access these, and it promotes personal growth.
“I really think that this is a small price to pay. These make a big difference to staff but also their families. I want my people to be happy, energetic and excited to be working here, and these benefits are helping to achieve this.
“Paying well is also important, and I do this, but I want to offer a supportive, enjoyable work environment.”
Doherty has worked hard to ensure his businesses are presented professionally. The workshops are immaculate, everyone wears uniforms, and the branding is on point, which is important from a customer perspective, because impressions last.
But while it’s important that his customers know that their cars are receiving the best of attention, flawless workmanship and the full dealership experience, it’s clear that Doherty gets significant satisfaction helping develop his staff.
“Seeing people grow, fulfilling their goals and ambitions, whether they be personal or professional is enjoyable,” Doherty said.
“I like building strong relationships with both my staff and customers. For me this is the most rewarding aspect of owning a business. It’s that positive team environment where my customers benefit.”
And this says it all really. Successful auto businesses are filled with content customers that trust you to do the right thing my them. But this is not achievable if you don’t invest in, and support your staff. And this is what sets Euro Technik out from the rest. Well played.