Jeff Matt, Founder and President of Victory Auto Service & Glass, gives us an inside look at the practices that helped his company win a 2016 BBB International Torch Award for Ethics.
By Sheila Adkins
In 1997, Jeff Matt founded Victory Auto Service & Glass in Fridley, Minnesota, with a commitment to providing honest, dependable service to those in need of automotive repair and maintenance. He wanted to create a place where customers would always feel cared for, never feel taken advantage of, and always receive the highest quality service at the best price. Today, the company has five locations in Minnesota and one in Florida that deliver top-notch service in a clean and friendly environment, provide fair and accurate estimates, and carefully explain every diagnosis and repair process to customers.
When Victory Auto Service & Glass was nominated for the 2016 Better Business Bureau (BBB) International Torch Awards for Ethics, the judges were impressed with the company’s exceptional customer service, including its efforts to improve the automotive service experience for female consumers. As an Ask Patty Certified Female Friendly shop, Victory Auto Service & Glass strives to offer women an experience based on trust, respect, comfort, and improved communications.
We sat down with Matt to talk about what it takes to be a better business in the automotive industry and what’s in store for his company in the future.
Adkins: In an industry that is sometimes viewed as dishonest and unethical, how does Victory Auto Service & Glass set itself apart from competitors?
Matt: That’s a great question because we are acutely aware of this perception in our industry, and we strive tirelessly to dispel these fears and concerns with everyone we have contact with. To differentiate ourselves from our competitors and fight against these common viewpoints, we first focus on hiring. We always strive to hire the best automotive professionals available. However, if we have to pick between a candidate who has lots of automotive experience versus a less experienced but proven candidate, we will always choose the proven quality person. We can train on the technical side, but we can’t easily train in integrity or ethics.
Next, we focus on delivering the best automotive repair experience possible for our customers and potential customers. Delivering an exceptional customer experience requires continuous quality training and accountability. We do this through weekly training for every Victory Auto Service & Glass employee who interacts with our customers.
Last but not least, we feel it is critical to partner with credible organizations like BBB. We strive for the very things that are the mission of BBB in advancing marketplace trust through setting standards and supporting best practices. Good ethical businesses don’t mind scrutiny and standards. In fact, good businesses will look to surpass standards, and they will view any scrutiny as an opportunity for improvement.
We greatly appreciate BBB for the services it provides for consumers and the inspiration it provides businesses like ours to strive to be their best. As active members of our local BBB chapter, we are passionate about being the best we can be and spreading the message of integrity in business to others.
Adkins: What inspired you to become an Ask Patty Certified Female Friendly operation?
Matt: Our decision to become Certified Female Friendly came from wanting to set ourselves apart as an auto service center. We have always made every effort to be a shop where everyone feels comfortable and welcome, and since women are major decision-makers in the auto world, positioning ourselves as a shop that women can trust is an integral part of our brand.
All our staff who interact and engage with customers have undergone extensive online training and testing to become Certified Female Friendly. We found this to be a very helpful process for our staff and for many of our customers both male and female, as they like to see that we have made an investment in better understanding what their desires and needs are. The truth is that the Ask Patty training helps us deliver better service to all our customers.
Adkins: What does the future hold for Victory Auto Service & Glass?
Matt: We could not be more excited looking forward as an organization. We will continue to remain connected with the great organizations we are with, and we will never settle with where we are process-wise. We are always challenging ourselves to get better, be more efficient, improve our marketing efforts, and look for growth opportunities in new markets. We simply won’t sit on our hands. Because of the business we are in, people will always be looking for trustworthy, fair, and reputable automotive service shops, so we will keep working on growth and hopefully inspiring others to do the same thing.
Adkins: What does winning a 2016 BBB International Torch Award for Ethics mean to you and your employees?
Matt: When I started the business 20 years ago, an award like this was not anywhere in the thought process. However, the guiding principles and business ethics clearly laid out by BBB were definitely at the core of what I wanted to accomplish. For me, this is the top of many awards we have been blessed to receive. We are so grateful!
I believe for our employees the award reinforces and confirms their decision to work at Victory Auto Service & Glass and also gives them great pride and motivation to grow and continue to demonstrate all that we say we stand for each and every day. Collectively, this award put a big smile on all our faces and confirms that what we are doing, and how we are doing it, is getting noticed. We want to keep improving and encouraging other businesses to strive for the same because in the end, everybody wins.
Sheila Adkins is responsible for managing Council of Better Business Bureaus conferences and events that serve to promote Better Business Bureau’s vision and mission and build greater engagement and involvement among business communities. She has over 25 years of association and nonprofit experience in event management, community outreach, media relations, and internal and external communications.