Buying a car can be a stressful experience. It can feel like going to war against an adversary to destroy you and take everything you’ve got. John Patterson know this. That’s why when he set out to get into the car business in 2004, he wanted customers to have the kind of positive experience that would create something unique in his business – word of mouth developed from caring about the customer from the moment they buy until they’re ready to sell.
It’s a different kind of buying experience and the service visits feel like checkups not wallet drains. He hires employees who understand at the end of the day that they are in the people business first and the car business second. You can just feel it when you’re there and you see it with the engagements with customers.
Tustin Mazda has won several awards from Mazda Corp., which he says “motivates us to stay at the top of our game.” The Huntington Beach location is the only “Mazda Retail Revolution” showroom in Orange County.
Patterson sets aside $50 from every vehicle sold to be donated to community charities, such as the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, Pancreatic Cancer Research and the Mariners Elementary School Foundation. A member of the Mariners Church in Irvine, Patterson also offers “give cards” instead of gift cards, that offer support to those in need.
“Our philosophy is very simple: take care of the community and the community will take care of our business,” he said.
The company’s annual Christmas Party is “a true morale builder,” Patterson said, and he treats his employees to a Prom Night-like party, an overnight stay at a nice hotel, and a babysitter to watch employees’ children.
“Many dealers have eliminated this expense as unnecessary, but I could not disagree more,” he says.
It is no wonder that Patterson won an Orange County Register Top Workplaces award for Best Leader. It’s the kind of recognition that can be canned and pasted over with nothing really special behind it. But in this case it’s truly deserved.
John Patterson is the kind of leader that thinks things through and takes massive action once he’s made a decision. That filters down through the rest of the business and lights a flame of passion for customer service. It makes car buying a whole new experience. One in which you feel taken care of and loyal to your provider. It’s a formula for winning. And it’s a very rare thing.