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Business Operations

Of caring and carwashing

July 01, 2011
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A main topic of concern and interest to carwash owners and operators has to do with employee and supervisor relationships. Good, well-balanced relationships can benefit a car care operation, while one of contempt can wreak havoc on the business’s output, production and atmosphere. Recognizing this, one company is working to change, enhance and better the way a business operates and interacts with its employees. Marketplace Chaplains USA is a company that sends a chaplain to a business looking to better their in-house structure. By definition, a chaplain is described as a “clergyman in charge of a chapel,” or as a “person chosen to conduct religious exercises (as at a meeting of a club or society),” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

So, what exactly is a chaplain doing with carwashes? Well, Dick DeWitt, the president and COO, admitted it’s a unique structure, but it is certainly being well received, as chaplains are being hired to visit car care businesses to speak about the importance of respectable workforce interaction.

Professional Carwashing & Detailing recently sat down with DeWitt to discuss how the company works exactly and why it is reaching out to carwashes and detail shops.

Professional Carwashing & Detailing: Please tell us about Marketplace Chaplains USA.

Dick DeWitt: Marketplace Chaplains provides a personalized and proactive employee care service utilizing Chaplain Care Teams to extend, enhance and broaden the level of care company leaders have for their most valuable asset — their people. Since 1984, Marketplace Chaplains is the original and leading chaplain supplier to large and small, public and private companies with more than 2,500 chaplains serving over 450,000 employees and family members in 2,386 service locations covering 864 cities in 43 states, in four other countries and one commonwealth.

This unique and innovative strategic initiative has been voted the number one benefit by many employees; regularly sees 50-97 percent usage rates, and has even been voted the “Best Supplier” by a manufacturing firm.

The chaplains make regularly scheduled worksite visits to build relationships of trust and friendship and they are always available on a 24/7 basis.

PC&D: And you work with car care businesses, such as carwashes and detail shops?

DeWitt: Yes, we have extensive experience serving the oil change, carwash and auto service industry, caring for employees in leading companies such as American Lube Fast, Express South, and Fast Lube in Georgia and the southeast, along with Herbs Paint and Body in Dallas.

PC&D: Why would a car care business benefit from such a service?

DeWitt: The return on investments (ROI) results speak for themselves: Increased attendance, retention, teamwork, safety and productivity. People bring personal problems and issues to the workplace each day and these have a negative impact on job performance.

Add to that, the unexpected crises of life, uncertainty and today’s economy where fewer people are asked to do more, and it’s easy to see why many top executives appreciate the exceptional care chaplains provide.

PC&D: Employee conflicts can cause hostility and have an overall negative impact on a working environment. What advice do you have for business owners who are dealing with employee conflicts right now?

DeWitt: Employee conflicts in the workplace cost managers up to nine weeks per year in resolving them. Our clients have definitively seen that chaplains will help mitigate or eliminate time-wasting problems and/or communication-expectation gaps.

PC&D:How can a healthy working environment filled with happy employees ultimately help a business, such as a car care business?

DeWitt: First, our clients have seen, and studies show, that employee satisfaction equals employee loyalty, which equals added service and value, which produces satisfied and loyal customers. The only way most businesses in this industry can differentiate their company from others is by better customer service. That formula, by definition, produces profit.

More important are the intangible and non-verbal signs that company leaders recognize that this level of exceptional employee care can produce. Many have said that it’s just the right thing to do.