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Top 10 Customer Service Tips

World Class

1. Always introduce yourself! Every relationship begins with an exchange of names, handshake and smile. 

2. Never make a customer do something that you could do for them. Examples include telling a customer they have to call you back because you are busy, when it is your job to capture their number and reach out when you can give them your attention. Refrain from telling them what they need to do; focus on how you can help them. If they need talk to someone else, introduce the guest to the best person and facilitate a smooth transition.

3. Never raise your voice or let a customer see you get rattled. Smile and remain calm and gracious at all times. We like the Ritz Carlton motto, “Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” Use appropriate humor in a discretionary way if it can help soften the stress of a given situation. Many situations escalate out of the lack of proper manners.

4. Always offer customer choices-instead of saying what you cannot do, offer options of what you can do. Be creative in finding ways to help them accomplish their ultimate goal.

5. Always give the customer the opportunity to fully explain what they need-ask questions and listen-before you jump into what you want to say. Take notes while you are listening, and review the matter as you understand it and what will happen from that moment.

6. Simplify: avoid the temptation to give the customer more information about your company processes than they need to know. No excuses, no explanations about why something can’t be done. As the saying goes, “I just need to know the time, I don’t need to know how the clock is built.”

7. Always thank them. Thank them for their business, for their feedback, for the opportunity to make amends, for the chance to earn their trust.

8. Always fulfill your promises-give customer reasonable expectations of what you can do for them, outline how the process will go, and then execute accordingly. Reach out to let them know if something happens to alter that plan at any time.

9. Take an interest. Find out something about the customer in addition to what they are coming to you for: where are they from, what are their interests are. It develops rapport, shows you care about them as a person, helps you to find common ground, and it allows you to serve them better because you know more about them. You may often be able to use this information to find ways to give them personalized “wow-factor” service.

10. Always express confidence in what their experience will be like with your product, company and/or their interaction with you. Believe in what you represent so that they can be assured of the integrity of the product, you and the company.

15 Gifts

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Three years ago, we had an idea to take the normal holiday toy drive and put it on steroids. There are many items in addition to toys that local charities need, so we encouraged consumers to add them to their shopping list. People told us it felt like buying presents for a friend, or a secret Santa; only this time, it was for a charitable agency.

Several non-profits created their own “holiday wish list”. The top 15 requested items were selected for the new campaign, called “The 15 Gifts of Christmas”. In true marketing fashion, the dates were set: November 15 to December 15. It gave us a month to collect, and a few days to deliver the donated goods to the various organizations.

Of course, we had to create a fun donation collection area in the dealership, and lucked upon a beautiful Santa sleigh at Georgia Wholesale Florist, the source of all of our holiday decor. People starting bringing gifts for the charities to both locations (Main dealership at 3520 Washington Road and Pre-owned Center at 3410 Washington Road). Before we knew it, we had a sleigh full of gifts, and many happy charities!

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This year we modified the gifts and agencies only slightly, and the final 15 gifts we are seeking in 2013 will include:

1. Toys for all ages

2. Beanie Babies

3. Stuffed animals

4. Coloring books and crayons

5. Diapers

6. Board Games

7. Kleenex (regular and travel-size)

8. Toothbrushes

9. Pens

10. Disposable women’s razors

11. Twin sheet sets

12. Towels and washcloths

13. Gallon size ziplock bags

14. Children’s hardback books

15. Lotion and soaps (regular and travel-size)

The recipient agencies for these gifts include the Heritage Academy, James Brown Foundation, Salvation Army, Child Enrichment, Ronald McDonald House, Rape Crisis, SafeHomes, United Way and Lydia Project.

We challenge everyone in the community to add a few of these items to their carts as they shop this year. There is no better way to celebrate the holidays than to share your blessings with others. Thanks in advance for participating!

The IS Party…

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We recently celebrated the 2014 Lexus IS in an artful way.

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Guests were greeted by the Valet Parking team in Lexus shirts.

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They were then welcomed by fashion models, who checked their names on an iPad.

Flutes of champage were also offered at the door.

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In addition to the lovely setting of the Morris Museum, we were honored with the presence of these seven stylish models.

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Ranco tents created a black and white contrast tent, which was a true work of art.

This design aesthetic followed the imagery in the Lexus “Color Shift” commercial, seen here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aB6S8m74N70

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The black IS F-Sport was on display on the white side of the tent, and the white IS was on the black side.

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Inside the museum, guests enjoyed a photo booth with costumes. Souvenir photos printed on the spot.

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Mr. and Mrs. Hudson drove in from Columbia for the event!

We were so happy to see them.

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Video images from Lexus commercials were displayed on the roof of the tent.

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Phillip Barnett, with At Last Productions, provided cool tunes and a fun vibe in the tent.

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We were happy Jim with Ranco was able to join the party!

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Many of our team members enjoyed fellowship after working hard at the dealership.

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We enjoy seeing our Service Manager Jose show his fun side!

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Milla Gibbs is the wife of Bill, our GM and

Gina Healy is the team leader at our ad agency, who helped plan the event.

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Patty from Modish Salon did all of the amazing hairstyles for our fashion models.

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LaTonya ONeal was one of our models wearing clothes from the store “one.” in Surrey Center.

LaTonya drove in all the way from Atlanta!

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The lovely redhead on the left is Ooollee of Vintage Ooollee downtown. She did an amazing job recruiting and coordinating all of our fashion models! We could not have done it without her!!

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Passed hors d’ouevres were offered by the smiling staff of Enterprise Mill Events/Fat Mans Catering.

All of the food and signature drinks were amazing!

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Chelsea Stetz looked phenomenal in her ensemble from one. in Surrey Center.

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 as did Amber Combs

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Shelby Gough

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and Madelyn Wasden. (Note the striking hologram skirt shipped in from New York.)

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Mark Stevens and Emily Hammond posing together.

We were impressed at how all of the models could stay still on the platforms so well!

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Of course, the real star of the show was the Lexus IS.

People were blown away with the innovative design and integrated technology.

We appreciate everyone who attended and supported our celebration of this sleek and stylish Lexus.

October 11 Team Update: Puppy Alert!

We love dogs! We love all animals, really, but most often it is dogs that our customers bring to the dealership, and when they do, you can hear someone proclaim “Puppy Alert!” When we hear that, we all come running to greet the dog and offer a treat that we keep on hand. It seems fitting, then, for one of our team profile blogs to have dogs as a theme.

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First, we would like to introduce Toby McToberson, who lives with Katie Woods from our Guest services team. Katie joined Jim Hudson Lexus over 2 years ago, and has been a tremendous asset to the dealership. Katie tells us that she enjoys working here because of the people, and gets along great with customers and co-workers! Katie helps with anything related to the guest experience, often following up via phone or email after a customer has visited us for service.

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When not at work, Katie says that she enjoys anything to do with water, and that her dogs go with her everywhere! In addition to Toby, you will also find Rocky Balboa at Katie’s home. Katie says they are like her kids!

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Joining Katie in our large team of employees who love dogs is James Williams, a member of our Lexus technician family. James joined the Jim Hudson Lexus roster over 6 years ago, and has been a dedicated and valued addition to our service department. James works on vehicles at our Pre-Owned Center, and has been diligently pursuing an advanced Lexus technical training path. When not at work, he enjoys yardwork and restoring classic cars.

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James and his wife Sara have a family of 4 dogs, including a four year-old American Bulldog who was born deaf. They also have an Australian Terrier named Chevy, a Jack Russell named Gracie and a Yorkie named Jax. In addition to this great mix, the Williams family also boasts 2 turtles!

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Rounding out our team member profiles is another employee with several dogs. Brandon Prigden is a member of our Pre-Owned Center Sales team who joined us earlier this year. We appreciate having Brandon on the team, because he is very courteous and helpful; he tells us that he enjoys “working hard on behalf of the customer”. Originally from the Raleigh, NC area, Brandon moved to Augusta in 2007, and has a home with his wife Rhonda, 2 kids (Aaron and Trinity) and 3 dogs (Prada, Diamond and Storm). Below 8-month old Storm is pictured, who is “very friendly and loves the kids”!

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When not at work, Brandon enjoys running with the kids and playing basketball. He says that his favorite thing about working here is the people, and gets along well with the entire team. Brandon can be reached at bprigden@jimhudson.com .

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We are blessed to have Brandon, James and Katie as part of our Jim Hudson family, and are proud that they are not only exceptional employees, but also fans of dogs! We welcome visitors who similarly consider their dogs to be a part of the family, and want to stop by for a people treat and a doggie treat! After you arrive, listen carefully… I bet in the background somewhere, you will hear a team member call out: “Puppy Alert!”

September 7 Team Update: Showing Initiative!

Today’s theme revolves around the word initiative: going above and beyond what is expected. We’ve observed that typically the person who shows initiative on a consistent basis has a pure motive: they cannot do otherwise. It is their nature to pursue excellence; they are simply hard-wired that way. We are blessed at Jim Hudson Lexus to have more than our fair share of these types of individuals. They care, so they find a way to be more helpful than is required, and offer to pitch in where they have not been asked.

A perfect example of this kind of person can be found every morning at our front desk: Rosanne Guedea, our Guest Services Team Leader. She helps in the selection and training of receptionists, supports all public relations activities, greets customers and answers the phones. In the afternoon, she can be found helping the accounting office, organizing brochures for the sales team or buying refreshments for our guest amenity area. If she notices cars backed up in detail, she will drive them where they need to be to get washed. If she observes the service drive becoming especially busy, she will help get loaner cars fueled up. The point is two-fold: she will not only do whatever is needed, but she will do it on her own volition. As if this weren’t enough, Rosanne does all of this (and more) with a pleasant disposition. She never raises her voice or creates any drama, and she is well-loved by the entire team. She is the selfless person who will stay late, come in early, or work through lunch.

When she is away from the dealership, Rosanne enjoys spending time with her adorable 4-year old daughter Mercedes. She has also gone back to school, and spends a good deal of time studying for her classes. She was born in Germany, and “grew up all over”, since her Dad was in the military. Rosanne has been gracing us with her work ethic for 6 years, and we appreciate her loyalty to the organization. She can be reached at rguedea@jimhudson.com.

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Rosanne is definitely not alone with her superstar status at our dealership. Joining her is the man who practically runs the show in the service drive every day: Frederick Kennedy, also known as “Freddy K”. Freddy makes sure that guests are greeted and loaner vehicles are queue’d up for them. He demonstrates true leadership, supporting the team of valets, as well as the service advisors, in whatever they may need. He is often the first to arrive and the last to leave. Loyal Lexus owners all know and love Freddy, who makes them feel welcome and watches out for them. You will never see Freddy taking it easy-he is always busy! His teammates appreciate his energy and his humor; he is truly a delight to be around.

“Freddy K” has been a part of the Jim Hudson family for over 3 years, and in the automotive business for 6. When not at work, he enjoys bowling, going to the race track, and spending time with family and friends. We’ve also heard rumors that he is an excellent karaoke singer, but he will not confirm. :) Freddy tells us that the thing he likes best about being on Team Lexus is the people. “You never know who you are going to meet or come across, ” he says. Whoever it is, chances are good that they will get along with Freddy, a true people person. We are grateful for his personality and dedication.  He can be reached at fkennedy@lexusaugusta.com.

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Our final profile of the day is a relative newcomer to Team Lexus, but definitely not new to the business. Robert Yeomans has been in the automotive business for 29 years, and has been affiliated with Lexus since 1991. Robert serves as the Manager of the Jim Hudson Pre-Owned Center, a responsibility which is made even more challenging because he doesnt live in the Augusta area: he flies here from Raleigh, North Carolina every week!

Like Freddy and Rosanne, Robert has a reputation for excellence. In every moment of his work day, he is driven for success and for encouraging the best in others. He tells us that he is ” a passionate team member who expects the best of myself every day and will go above and beyond for every customer and team member.” Robert tells us that he is very competitive and enjoys the supportive environment of the Jim Hudson team. He finds our positive atmosphere a “refreshing” change from the selfish “dog eat dog” culture that exists in many car dealerships.

When he is not “driving his team crazy with texts and emails”, Robert enjoys time with his 15-year old son Kyle and his significant other Erika, who is an artist. Robert also likes to work out, play sports and coach youth teams in his area. He also has a miniature daschund named “Yumi”, who “runs the house”.

We are appreciative for all that Robert has done to elevate our business and encourage us toward greater success. Even on the days when he is in North Carolina, Robert is very accessible and always answers emails and return phone calls. He can be reached at ryeomans@jimhudson.com.

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September 2 Update: Dedication!

Recently Kyle Christiansen celebrated his 10-year anniversary with the company, joining a select group of team members who have reached that milestone. Including his time with Jim Hudson Lexus, Kyle has been in the automotive industry for over 15 years. In his role as Internet Manager, Kyle is responsible for our main website, www.augustalexus.com, as well as all online inquiries. He is one of our top Sales Consultants, and his customers are very loyal to him! They tell us they appreciate his integrity and humor. In addition, Kyle often serves in a supporting role to our management team, such as working the manager’s desk when the GSM is at a Lexus meeting. Kyle is the consummate team player who looks at the big picture and acts in the best interest of the organization. In addition, his easy-going manner and intelligent wit have earned him the respect and rapport of his guests and co-workers. When asked what he likes best about the dealership, he replies, “the snacks!” That’s the kind of guy he is- a fun person to have around and a truly valued member of our family.

When he is not brightening our day at the dealership, the bright spot in Kyle’s day is his adorable family! He and his wife Misty have 3 young kids, all of whom are well-mannered and very smart. Kyle and his kids enjoy outdoor sports, including swimming and golf. Kyle is also a very talented artist who recently sketched an impressive portrait of the little ones.

He can be reached at kyle@lexusaugusta.com, as well as on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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Joining Kyle in the 10+ year club is our beloved leader, Mr. Bill Gibbs. Bill has been General Manager of Jim Hudson Lexus since the dealership opened in October of 2001. Bill’s leadership style is supportive, encouraging and empowering; he expects his team to be their absolute best and will do all he can to foster that development. Bill is outgoing and makes an effort to speak to all of our dealership guests, helping them to feel at ease. A 30-year veteran of the automotive industry, his comprehensive knowledge of the business is exceeded only by his engaging people skills.

On the rare days when Bill is away from the dealership, he enjoys spending time with his family, golfing and reading. He and his wife Milla have been married for 22 years, and have 2 sons: David and Jack, and 2 dogs: Cleo and Betsy. Bill is very active in the community, serving on various boards and civic groups, including the Augusta Chamber of Commerce, GRU Foundation and Exchange Club of Augusta. He also plays in many local charity golf tournaments.

When asked what he would like to share with his team, Bill says that he has “very high expectations of himself and his employees” and that he cares about each of his team members. He tells us that his favorite thing about working here is the “outstanding people”. We are happy to have Bill as our boss! He is accessible to his employees and customers, and can be reached at bgibbs@lexusaugusta.com

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Our final team profile for the day is another long-standing member of Jim Hudson Lexus family, Mr. Chester Butler. Like Bill and Kyle, Chester has an impressive dedication to the company, and a very high standard of excellence for himself.  When Chester charges after a task, you can rest assured that it will be done to the best of his absolute ability. His responsibilities are many, but we most lean on Chester to help us maintain the impeccable appearance of our inventory vehicles on the new car lot. He supports the detail team, the service team and the sales team. In addition, he is a loyal Lexus owner himself, and when he trades in a car, it is always the most immaculately maintained trade-in we receive. Like Bill, he has over 30 years of experience in the automotive industry, and we are grateful that he is a member of our staff.

When he is not working hard at the dealership, Chester is an extremely talented tennis player who has won numerous competitions, most recently the Inner City Tennis Nationals. He and his wife have 3 kids, and they have been in the Augusta area since 2006. (He is originally from Savannah, Georgia.) When asked what he likes best about working at Jim Hudson Lexus. Chester tells us that he enjoys “serving the team members every day in good spirit”. That service-oriented attitude is a true inspiration for all of us, and we appreciate his dedication to the organization.

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Next time you visit Jim Hudson Lexus, be sure to say hello to Kyle, Bill and Chester-3 loyal and dedicated team members who will always greet you with a warm smile and helpful disposition.

August 24 Update: The World of Golf!

At one time, the demographics for our Lexus owners indicated that 90% expressed interest in golf. That is an amazingly high number, but then again, golf is a very addictive sport, especially to us in Augusta, Georgia!

Golf will be the theme of this week’s team member profiles, as all three of them have indicated that it is a hobby. Our first associate is Justin Johnson, who is an Augusta native. Justin has been a valued member of our sales team for about a year and a half. In addition to golf, Justin enjoys spending time with son Bailey, who is 12, and his dog Baxley.

Justin’s customers tell us that they enjoy his outgoing personality. His polite and friendly manner helps put guests at ease during what is often a stressful transaction. Justin tells us that he enjoys his job at Jim Hudson Lexus, saying that he appreciates the people and the positive working environment. He is quite knowledgable on the wide range of vehicles we offer at our Pre-Owned Center, and is also certified to sell new Lexus vehicles. We are proud to have Justin on the team, and he can be reached at jjohnson@jimhudson.com

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Another loyal golf fan on the Lexus team is a member at Champions Retreat, Russ Starnes. Although he has been in the car business less than a year, you would never know it from talking to him! He is a quick study who picked up the process and product knowledge very easily. He is a member of our new car sales team, where he says he has been warmly welcomed by the other associates. He also appreciates not having to travel, since his previous career as Regional VP in the camera business for 28 years had him working all over the East Coast!

In addition to his golfing and photography hobbies, Russ spends his free time enjoying the outdoors kayaking, and spending time with his family. He is happily married to his wife Cindy for the past 26 years, and they have one daughter and two sons. Originally from Augusta, Russ has spent several years in Charlotte and Atlanta. They moved back home in 2006.

We are delighted that Russ has settled back into Augusta, as well as into our home in the automotive industry. His commitment to excellence is demonstrated when he comes to work early, lives up to his promises, and shows a willingness to go above the call of duty to help a guest or co-worker. Russ can be reached at rstarnes@jimhudson.com

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Our final profile and golf fan this week has been a tremendous asset to our team at the Pre-Owned Center, Terence Castleberry. If that name sounds familiar, it is because Terence is one of our “voices on the radio” during a call-in to 96.3 Kiss FM and Power 107.7FM every week! His personality lends itself to radio and to sales because he is confident, courteous and approachable. He has been in the business for 16 years, and prides himself on being honest and helpful.

In addition to golf, Terence enjoys watching football, and follows NFL. college and high school levels. He and his wife have 5 sons, who join him as football fans in the home! The Castleberry family is from Thomson, Georgia, where small town values have instilled in Terence the integrity which lends itself to his success in sales. We are pleased to have him on the team, and he tells us that he enjoys the “family togetherness” of our Jim Hudson organization. Terence can be contacted at tcastleberry@lexusaugusta.com

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As you can see, we are proud of these Sales Consultants/Golf fans! They are each dedicated and talented professionals who can be counted on to be helpful and responsive to their guests needs.

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