Mitchell Shefveland, Service Advisor.
Mitch started his MINI career as a porter, and now he is one of the best service advisors in the nation.
How would you describe the MINI "brand" experience at the dealer level for MINI employees?
MINI's branding is tailored to their customers; Customers can make their car completely their own—the customization possibilities are endless. MINI has also created a brand for all age groups. I once had an 80-year-old gentlemen come in with his 2012 Roadster S. I put in a new JCW tune. Man, he was all smiles when he left! That's how MINI has designed their brand; it's a car that everyone can love!
What drives you to be a service advisor at MINI?
My love for working in the automotive industry started when I was a little boy working on my dad's muscle cars. Seeing the excitement in his eyes made me share in his love for cars.
After graduating high school, I worked at different dealerships and tire shops as a porter and a lube tech. It wasn't until I started my career at Bill Jacobs MINI dealer as a porter in 2007 that I knew I found my dream job. Seeing how MINI treats their customers and their employees made me love the brand.
I initially wanted to become a tech for MINI, but my boss saw something else in me. He saw my approachable personality and ability to interact with customers, even in stressful situations, so he started training me to become a service advisor for MINI. From my first day as a service advisor, I was able to make an instant connection with my customers. Making them laugh and getting a genuine connection with them made me feel right where I needed to be. MINI customers are so unique and fun to work with because they have such a personal connection to their cars. MINI takes care of their customers more than any other company that I know. Seeing this on a daily basis pushes me to give 100% each and every day because I know I'm working for a company that cares.
What is the typical successful MINI service advisor like? What characteristics would you use to describe them?
A successful MINI Advisor is someone who values the brand and the customers! What made me successful is being able to listen, understand and relate to my customers. I love to make them laugh, but at the same time I always reassure them that their MINI is in good hands. Having good customer service skills, being able to read customers in what they want and need, and being personable is key. This all comes from gaining experience and increasing your confidence.
Why should a person work for a MINI dealer over other car dealers?
Bill Jacobs MINI is one of the best dealers I have worked for. They take a personal interest not only in their customers, but also their employees. Bill Jacobs MINI makes the environment gratifying and exciting. For example, every Friday we play a dice game called Left Right Center. The team is able to unwind and have some good competitive fun. Bill Jacobs MINI also ensures that their representatives are around for questions, and they provide us with material so we can be up-to-date on our product knowledge. My bosses and co-workers are easy to work with and are always there to help in hard situations. They even have internal customer service competitions that I have won based on customers reviews and performance. Not only was winning a huge boost of confidence, but I was able to experience a once-in-a-lifetime trip. MINI takes the extra effort to make all of their employees feel valuable and appreciated.
What types of training are offered to MINI dealer staff?
MINI has a great training program setup that is exciting and interactive. They have in-room classes with teachers who are very experienced and eager to share their knowledge with us. Some of the ways they help me to build my confidence are role playing, product knowledge and quizzes. They also have online classes that teach you the brand and MINI experience. It's nice because you can refer back to those classes as a refresher at any time.
Another type of class they have is the rally classes where you get to go behind the wheel of a MINI at a race track. This is awesome because you get to really know the car more and what it can do! These classes molded me into the service advisor I am today. The various training techniques teach you not only about the product but how to be comfortable around your customers and how to create a relationship with them that the customers truly value.
Do you have any brand partnerships or sponsorship partners for sales and/or employee benefits at your dealer location?
Our dealership in particular works with A.D.O.P.T., a pet adoption organization. MINI has hosted several A.D.O.P.T events where a number of dogs were adopted. I wouldn't expect a dealership to be a place to adopt a pet, but it's such a neat experience walking in and seeing a bunch of dogs running around and playing with the customers. We also sponsor and raise money for the Susan G. Komen foundation for breast cancer. We welcome customers to come on in and test drive vehicles. For every test drive, we donate money to the foundation. This benefits both the dealership and the organization because it allows customers to see that MINI is actively taking a role in our community.