When your company has been a trusted, reliable name for more than 90 years, transitioning to a new brand can be exciting and scary at the same time. Brian Moak, founder and owner of HEART Certified Auto Care, knows that all too well. Last year, he introduced a new brand for the company he purchased from his father eight years before. Duxler Auto Care, an institution in the Chicago area since 1924, became HEART.
A key reason for the transition is that Moak wants to grow the company and create franchise opportunities. In fact, he’s exploring two possible franchise agreements right now that would grow his number of auto repair centers to five. Three Chicago area locations that used to operate under the Duxler brand and are now HEART Certified Auto Care centers in Evanston, Wilmette, and Northbrook. And though the name has changed, Moak says the exceptional service customers had come to expect remains the same.
HEART is an acronym that stands for Helping Everyone Achieve Reliable Transportation—but for Moak, the name represents much more than that. “We are a heart-based company,” he says. “Everything we do comes from our heart and from a place of care, community, and longevity. The name HEART fully represented the value, the beliefs, and the reason we’ve been successful.”
He says what’s really exciting about what’s happening right now is that they’ve met with a few people who really align with their values and our mission. That’s an important part of Moak’s growth strategy; he wants to ensure customers get the same treatment and the same experience no matter what HEART Certified Auto Care Center they visit.
Here are a few facts that set HEART apart: The company provides many customers with complimentary loaner cars while they’re waiting for their own vehicles to be serviced, and 95 percent of the work is done the same day. The company has a 99 percent customer approval rating, which is even more impressive when compared to the industry average of 60 percent. And the company has a 94 percent retention rate as well.
“Our customer satisfaction is higher than it’s ever been,” says Moak. And he’s particularly proud of that considering the recent shift to a new brand.
HEART also offers a couple of industry-leading programs. One is a two-year, 24,000-mile warranty on services. The company has also introduced a Virtual Inspection Program that provides photos of any areas of the automobile where repairs are recommended, accompanied by a detailed inspection report. This is delivered to the customer by email before a technician calls, which gives you time to study and understand recommended repairs before being informed during a phone call.
“We have found something that really works,” Moak says. “An informed customer is a customer that feels good about repairs. We want anyone that comes into our business to feel that way.”
He’s also found something that works when it comes to his employees, which have a tenure that averages 13 years. “When someone new comes in, you can feel the culture, you can feel the energy, and you can feel what we stand for. The people who work at HEART are the best there are, and this is a career for them,” he says. “We’ve got an amazing group of people who take care of each other.”
Moak is focused on growth, and his plans for expansion are ambitious. In the next five years, he hopes to expand the number of locations considerably throughout the region to close to 50 stores. Five years after that, the goal is to have locations throughout the entire United States. And this is good for customers, he says. “The bigger we get, the better pricing we can offer.” Plus, HEART warranties are covered at any franchise location, which means you’ll be covered on a road trip or when traveling throughout the state to nearby areas when you visit a HEART Certified Auto Care Center.
“We are really proud of where we are and where we’re going,” Moak says. “And we’re extremely grateful for our customers. It’s a group of people we’ve become very close with, and we’re going to be very disciplined as we grow. Anyone who has a HEART franchise is going to be someone you can trust.”
HEART Certified Auto Care is located at 2620 Green Bay Road in Evanston, 847-563-4443, heartautocare.com.