A vehicle collision is the last thing anyone wants, but it does happen. Even the most careful drivers are impacted by distracted drivers and icy road conditions. When your car is damaged in a collision, there is a shop in the city that has been keeping Albertans on the road for more than half a century: Jaehn’s Autobody. That’s a name that goes hand-in-hand with quality service and care. Here’s why.
Company owner Bruce Rutter purchased Jaehn’s Autobody in 1990. At that time the shop was located on the south side and was growing fast, with an expansion to the facility and two estimating bays.
“That was basically as much as you could put on that land,” laughs Rutter, but it wasn’t enough to handle the demand for high-quality, customer-focused autobody repair, so Rutter built the west end location in 2000. Focusing on their location on the west side, Rutter eventually closed the south side, amalgamated most of the staff, and continued to grow from the new location.
“We’ve got all of the aluminum repair equipment. We’ve got all the measuring systems. We are totally equipped for any kind of collision,” he smiles.
“Our mission statement is important,” Rutter continues, “Jaehn’s aims to be the supplier of choice for Albertans requiring autobody repair solutions. We undertake to offer automotive owners first class service, materials, and workmanship. Our employees maintain a high level of interpersonal and technical expertise, and they are our strongest recourse. We maintain a clean and safe work environment and treat people in a friendly and courteous manner.
“Jaehn’s Autobody’s central focus is the customer, who is our reason for being in business and whose confidence and trust we constantly strive to gain and maintain. We aim to understand the needs and expectations of our customers, and to perform our jobs to meet those needs and expectations every time.”
Rutter wants all Jaehn’s Autobody’s clients to feel confident in the safety and durability of the company’s work.
“We ensure properly repaired and restored vehicles to Alberta drivers from a provincially certified autobody facility,” he stresses. “The company exercises quality control throughout its operations to provide a first-rate finished product. Tools, equipment, and workmanship, which meet or exceed federal, provincial, and local legislation, are used to achieve this goal.
“Autobody repair is multi-disciplinary in nature, and the various aspects of repair and restoration require skilled work for which only Alberta-licensed autobody technicians and apprentices are employed. A high level of commitment is required from all employees.”
The company has refined its procedures to ensure the highest level of workmanship and customer satisfaction.
Rutter informs, “A definite procedure is followed from the time a damaged vehicle arrives at the shop until repairs are completed. Customer relations are an important part of the process: during reception, the estimate, the delivery, and the follow up.
“We offer a smoke-free, comfortable environment for customers, and we require our employees to be clean and tidy at all times. We maintain a clean and orderly parking lot, building entrance, reception area, estimator’s desk, and storage areas.”
Jaehn’s Autobody cares about the employees as much as it cares for its customers.
“All our employees take reasonable care while working to protect their own and other workers’ health and safety, along with the health and safety of clients and visitors on company property. They take responsible precautions to avoid any form of damage or wear to customers’ property.”
The outstanding corporate culture is achieved through what Rutter considers the most important aspect of success: communication. The way he sees it, effective communication is achieved when three main areas are addressed: clarity, attention to the message, and consistency.
“Clarity,” he points out: “parties must use mutually understood language. Inattention to the message: people often don’t really listen to what is being said. Misinterpretation of information received: miscommunication between the estimate and the customer may result in poor understanding of what is wanted, what is advisable and what is required. Clear communication: both written and verbal are as important among Jaehn’s employees as they are between employees and customers. Consistent documentation: specific direction is required to move smoothly through the entire repair process.”
How has this focus on customer service and corporate culture worked out for Jaehn’s Autobody? Ask their 11 Consumer Choice Awards, most of which were won consecutively. Not bad for a company that went from six employees when Rutter bought it to the 24 it has now.
The shop’s work ethic also makes it a favourite location for insurance referrals, a fact of which Rutter is justifiably proud.
“[I love] working with the insurance companies, the owners of the vehicles, and getting everything done and seeing that customer happy. Our relationship with the insurance industry is important because we do it [autobody work] better and the customer is happy. The insurance companies like to send their customer here.”
Jaehn’s Autobody’s interests extend far beyond the clean and efficient location on the west end. Numerous charitable organizations, such as The Edmonton Police Foundation, The Edmonton Firefighters Society, The Salvation Army, Cross Cancer Institute, University Hospital Foundation, and more, have benefited from the company’s generosity.
Rutter enjoys giving back to the community that has been so supportive of Jaehn’s Autobody, and he loves living in the city, citing “the four seasons, even winter!” as a highlight of being an Edmontonian. Winter is when he gets to snowmobile, but during the warmer months, he also enjoys travelling, hiking, and boating. He keeps sharp with four workout days a week, showing the staff that work/life balance is important for success at and away from work.
Jaehn’s Autobody grew with Edmonton, and it is now a fixture in the ever-changing city. It has kept pace, and at times set the standard, for auto repair services as vehicles evolved over the years, and the company will continue to be a leader in providing the highest standard of customer and employee-focused service in the industry.
Rutter is very grateful to the staff, clients and vendors he interacts with every day, and also to Carlson Body Shop Supply from whom Jaehn’s sources paint, training, and equipment. He looks forward to either opening another Jaehn’s location or expanding the current shop to keep up with the steady and growing demand.
“Everything here is accomplished by working collectively, from the reception to the estimators,” he says, crediting employees like Erkan, Eric, Heng, and Cameron in estimating, Dale in parts, and foreman Derek as key players in the company’s smoothly running operations.
He smiles as he concludes why Jaehn’s Autobody does what it does best: “Our customer is the only reason we are in business. That’s a huge factor that some people just don’t get, but for us, it’s the most important thing.”