Michael Mills, 39
General sales manager, Champion Chevrolet of Avon
Achievement: Returned Champion Chevrolet of Avon in Indiana to the black while boosting sales
Michael Mills is a big believer in consistent processes.
"When we make decisions on how we want things to happen, what we try to do is design a process and implement that process so that things happen that way most of the time," Mills said. "When we need to make a change, we change the process."
For example, Mills is relentless about customer feedback, and has put processes in place to get it. Every person who walks into the showroom or drives into the service bay triggers the store's customer relationship management system, which assigns a task to the receptionist who then solicits the customer's feedback via email and text.
"When we do get negative feedback, we're not afraid of that because it allows us to address that immediate customer's concern," Mills said. "And we have an opportunity to adjust whatever process that led to that issue — so based on that negative feedback we're constantly changing that process."
Mills' processes have paid off. Before he became general sales manager at Champion Chevrolet of Avon in Avon, Ind., in 2008, the store recorded three unprofitable years in row.
From 2008 to 2009, Mills' team swung the store into the black with a profit of $650,000. During his time as general sales manager, Mills has grown total new- and used-vehicle sales 75 percent.
He says he constantly trains and retrains employees to keep the customer experience at "the forefront of their minds." For example, he emphasizes jobs well done at Saturday morning meetings by reading positive reviews aloud to employee applause.
"Every day is a challenge, but something we really work hard at is treating our customers with respect," Mills said. "And we put customer service and treating employees correctly at the forefront of everything we do."
Stephanie Hernandez McGavin