Autobody News spoke to Jeffery Thompson, the production manager at Phil Long Collision Center in Colorado Springs, CO. He shared his thoughts about aluminum repair, OEM certifications and being part of a DRP. Established in 1945, the dealership shop has 37 employees. Although they repair all makes and models of domestic/imported cars, trucks, vans and SUVs, Phil Long primarily focuses on Mercedes Benz, Audi and Ford aluminum trucks.
Q: What prompted the decision to get certified in Ford aluminum repair and what did it entail?
A. We are aligned through a network of dealerships, both new and used vehicles. Two of these locations are Ford dealers, and who better to repair your vehicle than the technicians who are trained by the factory in proper procedures. It also really helps to service what you sell. (There are 13 Phil Long dealerships throughout Colorado and New Mexico.)
Q: How long have you been certified by Mercedes and Audi, what did it entail and what is the benefit to your shop?
A: We have been certified for several years by Mercedes Benz and Audi in the repair of these vehicles. We were certified through our dealer partners and through Mercedes Benz USA and Audi. In 2014, when Ford introduced the Aluminum F-150s we knew that we needed to be onboard and took the opportunity to get the necessary training to allow us to be the only certified Ford aluminum repair shop in the area. The process of being certified ensures that you follow the manufactures tolerances and specific equipment that is needed in order to make the proper repair.
Q: What are some of the advantages you have found being a DRP shop as well as some of the issues you deal with?
A: As a DRP for our insurance partners, you have the ability and the trust to move forward with the repair without needing to wait for an adjuster to arrive to look at the vehicle. This allows you to return the vehicle to the customer quicker, thus reducing cycle time and creating a happier customer in what is a very trying time to some people. It returns the customer to a sense of normalcy. Another benefit of being a DRP is a marketing relationship. The insurance partners help market your business in order to satisfy theirs.
Q: What are some of the components of your shop that contribute to its success?
A: By having certified and knowledgeable technicians, you can achieve the ultimate goal of providing world-class service for the customer, your insurance partners and the dealer networks. We strive to ensure that each customer is happy to the best of our ability, whether that is from the waiting room in the office to the guys that wash up a vehicle to return to the customer. We want them to be pleased with our service.
Q: From your experience over the years, what advice can you share with readers?
A: Listen to your technicians, for they are the ones who work on the vehicles on a daily basis and know the brands inside and out. This is how you provide world-class service.
Jeffery Thompson, production manager at Phil Long Collision Center, can be reached at 719-667-2900.