Article Featured in Transmission Digest, November 2004
Staying Ahead of the Game
Outstanding customer service has been the guiding principal that has allowed AC Transmission, Inc. to flourish even during economically challenging times. “It’s a good feeling to see an old customer walk in to your shop after 15 or 20 years. When you treat customers well, they will always remember you,” said Tony Costabile, who founded AC Transmission in 1976, originally working in a two bay, one man shop in Villa Park, IL. In 1978, the company expanded to a six thousand square foot facility in Addison, IL. AC Transmission has since grown to a 12 person operation, including owners Tony and Marisa Costabile, four installer technicians, four rebuild technicians, and two pick-up and delivery drivers.
In November 2003, AC Transmission relocated from its previous location, to a new ten bay, twelve thousand square foot facility in Addison, IL. “The new shop provides a better working environment for our employees, and many customers say it looks more like a dealership than a transmission shop, which I view as a compliment,” says Tony.
In the early nineties the industry saw drastic changes in the transmission rebuilding process. The abundance of front wheel drive vehicles and electronic transmissions was viewed by the company as an opportunity to set itself apart as a leader in the industry. “As diagnostics and rebuilding became more complicated, it was very important for our employees to adapt to the new procedures. Being a member of ATSG and getting continuous transmission updates, our company and ATSG’s support department constantly share information in order to resolve problems quickly and cost effectively. Since transmissions are changing every year, it’s important to stay ahead of the game.”
The company has remained busy during turbulent market conditions because of its balanced customer base of automotive repair shops and retail business. Tony recalls, “In the late seventies, we used to be a general automotive repair shop. Since other auto repair shops came to us whenever they had transmission problems, it just made sense to specialize on what we do best. We also provide technical support and diagnostic information to local auto repair shops. If you maintain a good relationship with other auto repair shops they will remember you when it comes to transmission repairs.”
The technicians at AC Transmission recognize the importance of a correct diagnosis, “If you get that wrong, it causes unnecessary time and money loss. We make certain to diagnose the root cause of the problem before we take further steps in the repair process. After we diagnose the problem, we always contact the customer to explain the cause and solution. Being honest is an important rule when dealing with customers. This is the reason people have been coming back for over twenty seven years.”
Tony believes the company’s greatest asset is the strength and cohesion of its employees. He states, “Most of our staff has been here for well over 15 years. They are hard working people who take pride in the work they do. Through the years we have all become good friends, which is important when you work together for over 9 hours a day.”
Although there are plenty of transmission shops in the area, Tony does not consider AC Transmission in direct competition with other companies. “I never compare this shop to others in the area. We do our best to keep our customers happy, and I hope that other shops do the same.”
AC Transmission has mainly relied on one form of advertisement since 1976. "Word of mouth business is the best advertisement, so we always do our best to make sure the customer is satisfied. When customers leave happy, they will only tell a few people. But when customers leave upset, they tell anyone who will listen to them, so it’s important to keep people satisfied."