Mariah Litton was only a year old when she started doing commercials for her dad’s collision repair business in Billings, Mont. Twenty-three years later, she has retained that initial interest in marketing but has worked her way up from commercial appearances to taking on administrative responsibilities.
At American Autobody, she has the official title of “customer service representative,” but you could also call her an “educator” and “advocate.”
“We want to educate and empower our customers so they feel comfortable coming to us with questions, whether it’s for a repair or something simple like changing oil,” she said.
American Autobody strives to make customers feel at home, and one way it accomplishes that is by hiring skilled professionals. All of the company’s estimators have prior repair experience, so they’re able to both work on cars and write sheets. In addition, the shop ensures that its techs stay in check by regularly attending I-CAR classes.
“We make sure all of our techs are updated on their education and that we’re aware of all the new trends coming down the pipeline,” said Litton. “We want to treat every car like it’s our grandma’s car or mom’s car. We’re making sure we’re taking really good care of our customers.”
Being business-savvy is as equally important as being able to properly fix cars. That’s why Litton and her parents stay as up to date as possible by taking continuing education courses. Her mom and dad frequently go to classes at the Masters School of Autobody Management, while she attends online, collision-focused classes as well as business and marketing courses at local colleges.
“There’s something to be said for being able to fix cars, but if you don’t understand the business aspect of it, it makes it difficult,” said Litton. “You need to know how much money you’re spending and how much money you’re making. That’s all going to tie into your work you do on the back end.”