For those of us who have worked with Jeff Smith since he started working at Jim Hudson Lexus almost 9 years ago, it has been a fascinating transformation to observe. While always a stellar associate with excellent customer service skills and attention to detail, he has recently demonstrated increased leadership and a sunnier disposition that is a pleasure to witness. Does the credit go to his fellow Parts department team members, who “are like family, and make the job easier”? Perhaps the credit goes to his fiancé Emily, who recently transitioned from a friend of 8 years into a partner on a “fairytale journey we can’t believe is happening”.
Regardless of the reasons for the new and improved Jeff, we are so happy for him and proud to have him as a Master Certified Parts Consultant on our team. We are delighted for his new adventures with Emily as they plan their wedding to take place on New Year’s Eve. Jeff and Emily’s home will include his new step-son Ben and his lab family, Lunar and Mad Moxxi. During your next visit to Jim Hudson Lexus, be sure to stop by the Parts window to congratulate Jeff. You may even run into him on his mountain bike, enjoying the many cool trails in the Augusta area. He is a fun, authentic and dedicated member of the community and the Jim Hudson Lexus family
Enter the service drive at Jim Hudson Lexus on any given day, and you might just hear someone singing. Loaner Administrator Don Johnson, who has been with the Jim Hudson Team for the past 4 years, is known for randomly bursting into song. A bright spot in our guests’ visits, Don’s upbeat spirit ameliorates what could potentially be a stressful place. Lexus owners who may be worried about an issue with their car are quickly relieved to be greeted by Don’s cheerful disposition. He knows many of them by name, and often serenades “Happy Birthday” to those who may be celebrating.
Those who know Don understand why he sings. A member of his church choir, his natural approach to each day is one of gratitude and service. He has worked in the automotive industry for 17 years, and feels at home in the Jim Hudson Lexus culture, where a joyous approach to customer service is embraced. Don truly enjoys helping people, and takes pride in being a part of the process of making sure that each person drives away from the dealership “safely and happily”.
When not working or singing, Don enjoys riding dirt bikes, playing basketball and spending time with his family: wife Tonya, daughters Madelyne and Tionna, son Donovan and grandkids Jaden and Jordan. Born in New Jersey, Don was raised in Statesboro but found Augusta to be a nice compromise between the small-town Statesboro life and the big-city world of Atlanta. We are so happy that he chose Augusta, as our lives are blessed to be able to work with him. Stop by and say hello to Don sometime. And if it is your birthday, prepare to be serenaded.
They say that we spend more time with our co-workers than we do with our family, and surely this is true in the car business. After logging 60-70 hours a week at a dealership, year after year, you grow increasingly impressed or vexed by everyone around you, as their true nature shines through eventually. You can only put on your game face for so long; inevitably, in moments of stress or crisis, each person’s character will shimmer to the surface for all to see.
Fortunately for the team of associates at Jim Hudson Lexus, the character of Bill Gibbs shimmering to the surface is one of exemplary leadership. If you were to ask a new acquaintance to describe Bill, you would likely hear words such as personable and outgoing. Dealership guests and new employees say that he makes them feel instantly at ease. He makes a point to introduce himself to visitors he has not seen before, never once throwing around his title or doing anything to reveal just how busy he really is.
Those who know him well, including countless top leaders in the Augusta community, always speak of his kindness and integrity. Bill has earned the respect of those with whom he works closely. Always the gentleman with unflappable manners, you will never see the type of angry tantrum which is so common in the automotive world, but he will be direct and let you know that he expects you to be your personal best, every day, without fail. It is no accident that there are so many amazing employees working at Jim Hudson Lexus. The most dedicated associates are attracted to Bill’s vision of a world-class dealership. He inspires a special kind of loyalty.
Even after working with him for over 12 years, I am still impressed with the decisions he makes every day, and the example he sets for us. He is diligent in ensuring that our dealership is only affiliated with partners and projects that reflect our world-class brand. In any customer situation, his point of view is not based on numbers, but by what is right. He empowers his team to make the choices they need to make to get the best results, without the micro-managing or belittling managing style that is prevalent in the business world.
Bill works 6 days a week, and yet still finds time for family, fitness, community service and church. Bill can also be found networking on the golf course, where his 5-handicap game and casual demeanor make him a welcome member to any foursome. He is often hosting visiting dignitaries and special customers at his home course of the Augusta Country Club, or supporting a charity tournament.
With guiding principles such as quality, integrity, passion and pride demonstrating the Lexus Covenant in action, it is easy to see why Bill Gibbs is such a good fit for his role in the Lexus family. He lives these values every moment, every day, year after year, both in the dealership and in his personal life. For the Augusta, Georgia community, Bill is Lexus. He has led the team through awesome and difficult times, unwavering in his own core values, and will continue to do so for years to come. Having the honor of working with Bill Gibbs makes it much easier to work a 70-hour week.
Although he has only lived in Augusta for five years, Eric Saunders and his wife Tiffany are completely at home here. He is an avid golfer, and enjoys the mild climate and friendly people. Eric has also made a home at our dealership in the sales department, leveraging an automotive career that dates back to 1986. Originally from New Jersey, Eric’s large family includes four children and three dogs.
Eric tells us that he enjoys selling because, at heart, he loves helping people, and gets along with all personalities. The environment at Jim Hudson Lexus has proven to be conducive to his commitment to customer service. “I like to treat people the way I would want to be treated,” Eric notes. “Listening is the key-working to learn the guest’s wants and needs will help the visit to go smoothly.”
Eric can be reached at email@example.com
Cardell joined the Jim Hudson Lexus team the first week in April, and fit in immediately. At first glance, you might think it is because he is a golfer (and we love golf here!), or because he has so much experience in the automotive industry (20 years!). The more we think about it, though, we are convinced it is because he is a true professional who believes that success hinges on building great relationships with people.
Cardell believes in doing things the right way-being honest, offering excellent customer service, responding to requests for help. His integrity is a good fit for the dealership, because he knows what needs to be done in a given situation and does it. In his short time here, he has already received praise from owners and guests who commend his courtesy and professionalism.
Cardell also knows so many people! He was born in Augusta and has lived here all of his life. He proudly makes a home here with his wife Julyn; they have been married for 8 years. He is proud dad to daughter Krystal and son Kenneth. He graduated from Butler High School and attended Augusta State University. He is a member of Beulah Grove Baptist Church and feels a strong connection to the CSRA community.
Cardell tells us that he enjoys the car business because he is able to meet so many great people, and that he likes the challenge of helping people with such a significant purchase experience. He feels at home at Jim Hudson Lexus, where “first and foremost, it is about customer service. The atmosphere is comfortable and the dealership is supportive.” When he is not selling cars, Cardell enjoys travel, movies, golf, cars, and all kinds of music. We are pleased that Cardell is a part of our family.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Top 8 Etiquette Reminders recently shared with Jim Hudson Lexus Augusta team:
1-Avoid casual terms of endearment such as sweetie, honey, babe. These are often perceived as showing a lack of respect, much like the word “tu” instead of “vous” would be in France.
2-Do not allow a customer to walk to their car in the rain (including test drives). Bring car to a covered area or escort them with an umbrella.
3-Introduce yourself. Too often we launch into a business transaction without this all too important first step.
4-Remember the power of a firm handshake, both at the introduction, as well as with words of thanks at the end of the visit.
5-Help with heavy objects/packages. Be careful not to get so busy that we fail to notice opportunities to help people transport items to or from their cars.
6-Always escort a guest asking for directions, never tell them where to go or point. Walk with them to their desired destination, offering your name and any additional assistance.
7-Never gesture for a guest to come to you or call them loudly from a distance-always walk the steps needed to speak to them directly.
8-Open doors for guests. Common sense, but you’d be suprised at how often we miss this opportunity.
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.