“We have a saying here,” says Simba Muffazal, owner of Merlin Complete Auto Care in Glendale Heights, IL. “Pretend like you’re working on your mother’s car. Make sure everything’s done right.” Muffazal speaks warmly about the diverse community his automotive repair shop serves. “We invest in technology. We invest in our skills,” he says. “We want to see our community grow. We want to see our employees grow. And, obviously, we want to see our business grow.
During the pandemic, Muffazal has had to rethink the way his staff interacts with their customers. The biggest change, he says, was embracing contactless service. This ranged from contactless appointments and payments to dispatching staff to pick up customers’ vehicles for inspection and returning the vehicles, sanitized, upon completion of the service. Muffazal also says that he and his staff proactively called long-time customers to check in on them during the pandemic, offering everything from servicing their vehicles to picking up groceries or supplies if they couldn’t get out. But Muffazal wanted to do more. Knowing how essential a reliable vehicle is for getting to work or school, he and his team worked with local officials to donate a car to a family in need. With the car, they offered a year’s worth of service on the vehicle free of charge. Over the course of the year, the shop donated three vehicles to families in need and plan to continue the initiative annually.
The gesture resulted in recognition from Synchrony, a consumer financial services company and partner of Merlin Complete Auto Care. Synchrony’s small business awards program, the Pillars Project, honors innovative small businesses who have supported their communities during times of change. Muffazal used the award money to invest in new technology and marketing projects that resulted in an increase in sales for his business.
“Starting and running a business is challenging,” says Muffazal. “You have to have a passion for it. Being able to help my customers and my employees is what makes me proud to be a small business owner.”
Synchrony is committed to helping small businesses stay strong. See how you can grow your business. To learn more about Synchrony and the services they provide, visit: www.synchronybusiness.com/auto?sitecode=auttp00b14 .