The Luther Automotive Group

Master Guild competitors take on nation’s best in field

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After a five-year hiatus due to a down economy, Jaguar Land Rover’s “Master Guild” competition is back with full impact, and more than a handful of Luther staff members are finalists in these challenging tests of skills and knowledge.

Qualifying with time on the job, certifications, electronic learning and quizzes, eight individuals at Jaguar Land Rover Minneapolis finished among the top 36 in the U.S. for each job category.  Further tests will narrow each field to 12 professionals, who will travel to England for factory tours and driving events.

Competitors start with an attitude of wanting to be the best, said Land Rover Service Manager Floyd

Bill Berg Jim Nelson

Parts pros Bill Berg and Jim Nelson

Skjerping.  “We are very proud of everyone who took the extra effort, who studied and learned the material.”  Master Guild began with more than 4,000 competitors.

For the three service advisors competing, customer satisfaction indexes must be higher than the national average, and they must have a vast knowledge of the manufacturer’s products and processes.  Advisor Nick Sparrow completed as many as 10 electronic learning modules, covering multiple vehicles, warranties and accessories.  He also took offsite classes to earn gold certification, a precursor to Master Guild.  “Preparations further enhance an advisor’s ability to help customers on the phone, many times with technology related issues,” Sparrow said.  This expertise can also save managers’ time when there are warranty questions.

Some of the competitors are returning Master Guild members, such as advisor Henre Rajtar, who won the recognition two years in a row, and five time competitor and Assistant Parts Manager Jim Nelson.
Master Technician Craig Geisler is in his third or fourth competition, and travels to New York for an intense test involving sabotaged vehicles laden with “bugs.”

The complexity of the problems has only increased, he said.  “Sometimes, there are two or three things for one 40-minute problem.  You fix one, and it opens up another,” said Geisler.

“It’s like having the customer watching you, his lawyer and CNN videotaping,” he said.  “While you’re doing it, you’re talking constantly and describing everything you’re doing.”  Stress levels are high.  Adding to the difficulty is using someone else’s tools and performing the service according to exact factory procedures.

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