Filed underScore Originals
The Patrick Dealer Group began as Patrick Cadillac in 1977 when Hanley Dawson III ventured out from his father’s Cadillac dealership in downtown Chicago. What started as a single franchise operation (named for the youngest son) in Schaumburg, IL, has today become a dealer group with six stores across the Chicago area, including prestigious franchises such as BMW, MINI, Jaguar, Cadillac, Saab and Volvo. Revenues within the group currently total more than $250 million.
In 2002, Patrick beat out more than 19 Chicago-area dealers to receive Jaguar’s new Naperville, IL franchise. The company was also one of three Chicago dealers awarded the BMW Group’s new MINI franchise, which launched in March 2002 to become Patrick’s sixth store.
Dawson credits the company’s growth and ongoing success to the quality of his staff. “They’re our biggest asset,” he says. “Without the right people, even the best business systems and services will fail.”
Keep It Simple
Asked to describe the company’s mission, Dawson’s response is not to recite the typical high-minded, corporate mission statement. “We like to keep things simple,” he replies. “I think the company’s mission is the customer. We work hard at what we call our CSI – customer satisfaction indexes. Our No. 1 goeal is to have an extremely high CSI. We want everybody to be thrilled to be doing business with us.”
Dawson believes that empowering his employees at all levels is one sure way to keep customers happy. Giving more latitude to those with direct customer contact helps to ensure that they feel confident in addressing customer needs. “Our people are paid an incentive portion of their compensation for all kinds of things, but one of the incentives they get is bonus money for exceeding measured performance goals from the manufacturer in customer satisfaction,” Dawson explains.
For that reason, recruitment, training, motivation, development, compensation, and performance measurement are all critical to the operation. Dawson believes the result is a motivated, competent employee base that, in an industry plagued by turnover, exhibits an impressive degree of loyalty.
“Our average salesperson has been here for six years, and our average service technician for nearly 12,” Dawson points out. “We have many employees who have been with us right from the start. And a lot of our people have been with us for 20 and 25 years.”
Of course, in the automobile business, customer satisfaction can depend on many factors. Sales, service and the bottom line are only the most tangible. Dawson says The Patrick Dealer Group is highly focused on establishing an ongoing relationship with its customers built on trust.
“We want to be somebody they can count on after they purchase a car,” he says. “You can purchase a Cadillac or a Jag or a BMW in Chicago from a multitude of dealers who have basically the same pricing and availability of product. So all we have to offer is the service experience. It gets back to the mission of the company, and that is extraordinary care for the person who is doing business with us.”
In order to keep customers satisfied – and coming back – The Patrick Dealer Group has developed a comprehensive service offering tailored to their needs. Signature services include two start-of-the-art collision centers.
Another signature service offered by Patrick is the Red Star Program. The service stresses convenience, delivering a loaner car to the customer’s home or workplace while their vehicle is being serviced, and then returning it after all repairs are complete. The customer’s vehicle is always cleaned inside and out before being returned.
The company’s Web site, patrickcars.com, also provides an added measure of customer convenience. Using private Web pages, customers can receive maintenance reminders and recall notices, review their car’s service history, schedule a maintenance appointment, and even check the status of their vehicle while it is being serviced. And under The Gold Club Referral Program, any customer who refers a prospect who purchases a vehicle from Patrick will receive a $100 referral fee.
All of this attention to customers and employees alike has yielded a more-than-loyal clientele. The Patrick Dealer Group has consistently received a slew of automotive awards, including Volvo’s President’s Club; BMW’s “Most Distinguished Dealer,””Dealer of the Year,” and “Outstanding Achievement” awards; Chrysler’s “Corporation Award for Excellence;” GMC’s “5-Star General” designation; and Pontiac and Cadillac’s “MasterDealer: honors. Dawson himself has been inducted into the Cadillac Dealer’s Hall of Fame.
Still, it’s not awards that inspire Dawson’s pride in the organization he has built. “I’m very proud of the people who work for us,” he concludes. “That and our reputation. You always need to care for that, and our reputation is one of the things I’m most proud of after being in this business since the late ‘60s.”
State-of-the-Art Collision Centers
Patrick’s two state-of-the-art collision centers service more than 3,000 vehicles per year are not limited to the car lines the dealership represents. Both shops are Jaguar Authorized Aluminum Collision Repair Centers, two of only three certified shops in the Chicago area. Each center offers climate-controlled drive-through estimating bays, on-site appraisers, an on-site rental car facility, computer workstations for customer use, and a computerized paint color-matching system. The collision centers’ technical teams (body, painters, estimators, detailers) have more than 330 years of combined experience. All technicians are factory-trained and have received ASE and ICAR certifications; many have received ICAR gold class certification.
534 Mall Drive
Schaumburg, IL 60173
1559 W. Ogden Ave.
Naperville, IL 60540