CAR SERVICE WITH A MIDAS TOUCH
In Cernusco sul Naviglio, one of the first associated members of the Midas network, Giovanni Cesati, a multi-brand car service and maintenance center, thrives despite the economic recession
"Purchasing at the best conditions, focusing on core business activities and keeping up with all the main news on the market, are the main strengths in joining the Midas network". A choice that Giovanni Cesati, co-owner of the Midas center in Cernusco in the province of Milan, has already made and intends to reaffirm. "Four years ago - he says - I opened this shop, but in 2000 I had already joined the Midas franchise by opening a store in Sesto San Giovanni. And I had previously worked as a manager in another service center in the area, under the same black and yellow banners.
I like to get back in the game and continually renew the challenge, thanks to a formula that allows you to shape a range of products and services tailored to the customers". A proposal that can withstand even a substantial business threat, as the Midas center found itself faced with the unexpected competition from a Norauto store, which opened a couple of years ago along the same road just a hundred meters away. "A structure - emphasizes Cesati - four times bigger than ours and with an extremely aggressive pricing strategy". As it would have been rather difficult to compete on this ground, the decision was to change the layout and working systems: "As part of the Midas promise to all clients, we stand as a reference point for an all-round car maintenance and assistance program, centered primarily on the extended warranty and customer service".
Customer service in the spot light
Friendly reception, speed and efficiency along with custom tailored proposals, with a view to greater customer loyalty. That is why all staff (both partners and four employees) is almost totally interchangeable in both front office and workshop activities. Clients entering the Midas center in Cernusco are received in an open space waiting room where the employees work behind a counter without partitions flanked by a desk where the client is attended to. On a wall, a large screen TV broadcasts Midas tv programs, and all around, on shelves and racks, products marked with the company’s logo, as well as accessories, are all perfectly arranged and renewed according to the season.
Moreover, the current promotional campaign is entrusted to billboards and posters in the right places, outside the store, that go hand in hand with a pair of advertising totems. At the moment the focus is on winter tires with three different sizes at a discounted price, tomorrow will be the turn of extended warranty service, offered at a starting price of 85 €. “The multi-brand extended warranty policy - resumes Cesati - has been Midas’ strength in recent years. And ours is one of the affiliated centers that, in proportion to the total number of interventions, performs best. If the job is well done, the customer is likely to require other services, from tire replacements to wipers, engine treatment and cleaning to recharging the A/C system, passing through brakes and suspension maintenance".
Non-stop promotional campaigns
The only exception to a service workshop set to be a true one-stop-shop, is represented by heavy repair jobs affecting primarily the engine, "and that would force us to leave a car for several more days on a car lift. Our goal, instead, is to be able to work four or five cars a day in each workspace". The center has two scissor lifts, just as many two-post lifts, next to a couple of tire changers, balancers and a variety of equipment for electronic diagnosis. The covered area is 460 square meters, plus a 1,100 square meters open space used as a car park. Cesati says: "I could have planned the layout of the wide reception and acceptance hall differently, integrating two more car lifts. This has not been the case, due to a decision to focus on customer service".
A decision that has paid, seeing that in four years the turnover has been constantly growing. And while loyal customers represent more than 60% of our business volume, new customers are added continuously". Repeated campaigns and free controls on brakes, lights and tires play a key role in our success. “ The company’s philosophy is summed up in our desire to provide our customers with an exemplary quality of service. The advantage of joining such a large group, in addition to not having to chase the best product at the best price and fully devoting our efforts to selling, is the ongoing support, from marketing to technical and commercial training". And although, as a rule, in a relationship between franchisor and franchisee the later has to accept certain directives, a common management platform, a supply system capable of delivering twice a day, and a range of courses and free updates are real convincing arguments.
Tires with a Midas brand
"Then - adds Cesati - you need to treat all customers with kid gloves and honor the campaigns and the prices set by Midas: in other words, provide the best possible service to all those who enter our center and act with foresight abandoning the idea that on all sales you can have the same profit margin: some products are used to generate volume, and if, at the end of the day we gain a handful of new customers we can consider that a great success". The Cernusco center offers its customers, both old and new, a specific maintenance program for each car: "Spare parts are bought and supplied at a group level and, although delivered by local distributors, they directly reflect the group’s agreements with many producers. Moreover, thanks to Midas’ organization and logistics, we don’t need to store more than what is strictly necessary for daily operations".
A motorist desiring to buy a new set of tires will be shown first of all tires with Midas brand. “The Midas Tenor tire range, High Performance tires destined to the average user, offers an interesting value for money ratio, beside showing low rolling resistance and noise level. We have been selling them for three years with a positive feedback from clients who use them : we provide customers with a written warranty that covers 40 thousand km and includes any puncture within the first year. Ranging from 13 "to 18", these tires are an exclusive Midas product, and we are therefore protected from possible price interference". The supply network offers additional brands for different segments. “It’s true that we are tied to the group’s suppliers, but since no one has a universal range, we can also obtain what we need from extra sources. And in this case too, membership to Midas allows purchasing at the best conditions".
MAINTENANCE UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT
Nothing allows having a clear picture of the activities of the Cernusco Midas center than numbers, that show how each year more than 9thousand quotes and approximately 3,500 maintenance and service jobs are performed. The main target consists of cars and light transport vehicles, with a service range that goes from multi-brand extended warranty services on brakes, tires, suspension, transmission, as well as mufflers, belts, water pumps, alternators and starter replacements, alongside batteries, wiper blades and other consumables. The franchise agreement provides as consideration, a percentage share on all works performed, continued working hours from 8am till 7pm (1pm on Saturdays) and compliance with specific customer service requirements. The Midas network, which belongs to the French group Mobivia, has now 76 franchisees in Italy with the objective of reaching the 100 mark by the end of the year.