Bergstrom: Establishing a culture of caring


Bergstrom Automotive demonstrates the market how a dealership team can build the intangible concept of society and prosper.

John Bergstrom, who established the business in 1982 with brother Richard, will take buyer provider very severely. He traces it to his Scandinavian mom, who “taught the 5 of us how to behave,” Bergstrom recalled. Family had been greeted for a weekly evening meal by the Bergstrom youngsters bearing shined footwear and thanking their attendees for traveling to.

“It all started off there,” Bergstrom explained.

The brothers’ initial enterprise was a bar, and it drew on the identical concepts of indicating hi there and making use of patrons’ names. “It acquired to be how we lived,” Bergstrom explained.

Developing that emphasis on buyer provider into the dealership team, primarily based in Neenah, Wis., was natural relatively than a enterprise determination, he explained.

“It is really a society,” Bergstrom explained. “We truly feel the identical way about the individuals we get the job done with.”

Site visitors are not referred to as clients. “They are generally a ‘guest,’&#x2009” Bergstrom explained.

Workers get regular $100 bonuses if their store’s general buyer pleasure scores access a specific benchmark. The team utilizes magic formula buyers to look at and glean classes from dealerships all around the Midwest. It has even despatched these buyers farther absent, these as to Phoenix.

And then there are the Bergstrom bogs, which the firm’s chief has referred to as “the most critical element of our dealerships.”

Each and every working day, the bogs get fresh new bouquets, and they are envisioned to be as cleanse as those people at a 5-star lodge.

“We have labored really tricky to construct a model and a society that claims we treatment about individuals, and it all starts off with our bogs,” Bergstrom, a previous hotelier, informed Automotive Information in 2019.

Bergstrom Automotive retains an once-a-year Race Shop Clean Day in the course of which John Bergstrom and his basic professionals examine just about every keep in the team on a solitary working day, wanting for facility concerns these as insufficient bogs.

“It is really element of the society of who we are,” explained Bergstrom, who has been identified to go away a weed discovered on-web page atop a manager’s desk to send out a concept.

“In the very long expression, your society is what tends to make your enterprise effective,” Bergstrom explained in 2019. “It is really why individuals want to do enterprise with you &#x2014 why they occur back again time and time yet again.”

Bergstrom Automotive’s society also values and is valued by personnel. Bergstrom explained he has experienced the identical secretary for 45 a long time, and he pointed out a salesperson who experienced used 40 a long time with the business.

This 12 months, 10 of the group’s 30 dealerships built Automotive News’ Best Dealerships To Work For” list, and Bergstrom spots have routinely revealed up on the listing in a long time previous.

John Bergstrom explained the team actions by itself from other shops with regard to the selection of its merchants that make the once-a-year listing of 100 dealerships.

Bergstrom Automotive ranks No. 70 on Automotive News’ most modern listing of the leading 150 dealership teams primarily based in the U.S., with retail revenue of 13,721 new motor vehicles in 2021. The business built Glassdoor’s 2020 and 2021 Very best Destinations to Operate lists, and Bergstrom built the site’s 2019 and 2021 lists of CEOs with employee approval ratings higher than 90 p.c. (Glassdoor did not publish the listing in 2020 due to the fact of COVID-19’s effects on the task marketplace.) Bergstrom stepped down final 12 months as CEO in favor of his son Tim, but he retains the title of chairman and proceeds to take part in the enterprise.

“This is what I do,” John Bergstrom explained.

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