OWNER: Don Van Eck
IN BUSINESS: Since 1981
KNOWN FOR: 90% customer retention and referral rate
More To The Story
When Don Van Eck describes what he does for a living, it sounds less like a job and more like a calling. To the founder and owner of Van Eck Auto Body, it’s not just about putting broken vehicles back together again. It’s about being sensitive to what the customer is going through … from the frustration of an ill-timed fender-bender, to the emotional after-effects of a serious accident. For over 30 years, the entire Van Eck Auto Body team has put this kind of compassion into every job they do. And it shows.
Thinking Like A Customer
Being empathetic to customers means finding ways to make the repair process as painless as possible. It can be as simple as getting creative with your hours of operation. Van Eck keeps their office open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday. “We do that so people can get home from work, have dinner, see their families … and they can still get their car in for an estimate,” Don says. Other customer conveniences include free loaner vehicles, towing, mobile estimates, and even free pick-up and delivery.
Evolution Is Key
Customer service means nothing if it isn’t backed up by delivering the highest quality workmanship possible. “We feel like we have to stay on top of current technology and machinery,” Don says. No wonder Van Eck’s office walls are plastered with the certifications from ICAR Gold, ATEG, EPA, ASE and MOPAR, as well as all the major manufacturers from GM to Infiniti. And their experienced techs stick around – all but one of whom has worked at Van Eck’s for at least 18 years.
Legendary Cycle Time And Customer Retention
With five body techs, three painters, one detailer and two employees on clean-up, it’s no surprise cycle time averages 12.1 hours a day per vehicle. That, combined with the quality of work, explains their over 90% customer retention and referral rate.
“When We Say Free Lifetime Warranty, We Mean It!”
Don recalls a few years ago when a customer brought in an old Corvette they’d worked on back in 1987. After all those years, there was a paint peel on the bumper. “Of course I fixed it for him for free!” Don laughs.