By Mike Davey
Montreal, Quebec -- September 28, 2015 -- You can tell a lot about a group by the way they laugh and band together, and there was plenty of opportunity at the 13th annual CSN Collision Centres Conference, held September 24 to 26 in Montreal, Quebec. This year’s event was titled Geared for Success.
“We were extremely satisfied with the overall conference experience for our CSN collison centres, our insurance partners and our strategic suppliers,” said Flavio Battilana, COO of CSN Collision Centres. “We had over 300 attendees from across Canada, from St. Johns, Newfoundland to Duncan, BC and all points in between. The vibe and atmosphere over the past few days was exactly why we hold our annual conference; to re-energize, re-engage and relax as we gear up as the winter season fast approaches.“
Official events got underway with a cocktail reception in the Grande Ballroom Foyer at the Le Westin Montréal. The reception was followed by dinner and awards noting accomplishments of locations within the network. Comedian and television host James Cunningham, host of the Food Network program Eat St., served as emcee for the evening. He kept the crowd entertained with stories and experiences from his career as a television and stage performer. Cunningham also took the opportunity to “roast” Battilana a bit, to the crowd’s obvious delight. See below for the complete list of award winners.
Cunningham also opened the conference the next morning, before introducing the first keynote speaker, Mark Bowden. Bowden is a communications expert and performance trainer, as well as author of the books Winning Body Language, Winning Body Language for Sales Professionals, and Tame the Primitive Brain. His presentation focused on using body language to get your message across. Bowden demonstrated how you can use body language to seem more approachable, gain and grow trust and simply hold someone’s interest.
Dennis Snow served as the second keynote. A customer service expert and author of Lessons from the Mouse, Snow honed his skills over twenty years with the Walt Disney World Company, starting as an attractions operator and rising through the organization to manage various areas of the park, and later to positions with Disney Institute and Disney University, the training and employee development arms of The Walt Disney Company. Snow’s presentation walked attendees through the process of creating truly world class customer experiences in the shop environment, drawing on examples from his career with Disney.
Following Snow's presentation, CSN Collision Centres presented a $10,000 donation to Make-A-Wish Canada on behalf of the network. In addition, CSN Collision Centres presented a special Disney wish to 4-year-old Mikayla.
The keynote presentations were followed by a break for lunch, and a chance to visit the Vendor Showcase, featuring booths and exhibits from numerous suppliers.
“We’re always very pleased with the support we get from our vendors,” said Jenny Trokic of CSN. “This year we also had two special guests: Toyota and Workplace Safety & Prevention Services. They’re not vendors, but the information they provided was great.”
The equipment and supplier side was well represented at the Vendor Showcase, but Trokic notes that what’s on offer goes beyond the usual tools.
“We also had our marketing and promotional item suppliers available at their booths to show our collision centres just how they can help them to grow their business and promote the CSN brand,” said Trokic.
The CSN Shop of the Year Panel convened after lunch, focusing on a number of issues vital to the collision repair community. Jay Hayward of CSN served as the moderator.
“Many times we’ve seen different individuals sitting on a panel and they are asked how they feel the industry can fix itself, in regards to employees, growth, profit and so on. We wanted to do something a little more personal and a little more behind the scenes,” said Hayward. “Everyone has a different definition of success. Some will say it’s dollars, some will say it’s size, and still others will say it’s respect and admiration. At CSN we measure all of these traits, and then we look at something a little deeper.”
Panelists included shop owners Shane Campbell, Randy Weber, John Hutten, Dale Keizer and Jeff Jones. They represent a wide diversity of experience, but all have one thing in common: they’ve all won CSN Shop of the Year awards.
“The idea behind the panel was to show that, if you just change the way you think, ever so slightly, you open up a world of opportunity. The gentlemen on this panel today have demonstrated this quality,” said Hayward.
Hayward engaged panellists with numerous questions about how they do business, including how to engage teams in the process, what motivates them to be open to new opportunities, and how they’ve made connections with peers and mentors that have aided them in staying focused and generating new ideas.
The day’s events concluded with a cocktail reception followed by a dinner and show at Cirque Éloize.
The third and final day of the conference consisted of closed door meetings exclusive to CSN facilities.
Key items from the agenda included a presentation by results marketing expert Steve Schoolcraft and an update from CSN Corporate.
Schoolcraft’s presentation focused on how to better compete in the collision industry by gaining consumer brand preference, the importance of investing in consumer equity by making the experience a positive and memorable one and why customers choose a CSN shop over a competitor and how to provide verified measurable data to support that.
“In a world where the consumer is the single most critical resource that everyone struggles with, doesn’t it make sense to diversify a shop’s business model to a blended approach by developing consumer metrics that drive sales growth at the same speed as production metrics improve efficiency?,” asked Schoolcraft.
After a great few days in Montreal, no doubt the CSN Collision Centres are Geared for Success in 2016 and beyond.
For more information on CSN Collision Centres, please visit csninc.ca.
Shop of the Year: CSN-Jones Auto Body
Sales Growth, under 8,000 sq. ft: CSN-Orleans Collision Centre
Sales Growth, 8,001 to 12,000 sq. ft: CSN-Keizer's Collision and Automotive Center
Sales Growth, 12,001 sq. ft-plus: CSN-Jones Auto Body
CSN Experience, under 8,000 sq. ft: CSN-High Street Auto Body
CSN Experience, 8,001 to 12,000 sq. ft: CSN-Keizer's Collision and Automotive Center
CSN Experience, 12,001 sq. ft-plus: CSN-Jones Auto Body