Auto Shop Coaching Blog

How to Bridge the Celebrity Gap at Your Shop

"A man without a smiling face must not open a shop."Chinese Proverb

Do you have a celebrity gap at your shop? “Dan,” a shop owner from the Midwest, has one. A few weeks back on a 100-degree afternoon, a customer named “Sarah” arrived at his location with the following request,

“I just blew my right front tire, and I don’t have any cash on me. Can someone help me put my spare on?  I’ll come back and pay when I get off of work.”

To which Dan replied: “Ma’am, I’m sorry but the charge for that service is $20.00! I gotta make money somehow!” What Dan didn’t know was that Sarah was a “celebrity” within her network.  

 As she stood in front of his shop, she whipped out her smartphone and shared her experience with her 5,000 Facebook friends.  

Within an hour, the shop was barraged with (15) negative internet reviews from her followers with wording that warned the reader to avoid this shop! 

If Dan knew that he was speaking with a celebrity, he would have handled things differently! Dan has a celebrity gap!

The Celebrity Gap

In his book Celebrity Service: Discover The Gap In Your Service You Never Knew Existed, Geoff Ramm coined the phrase, “The Celebrity Gap.” He concludes that this gap represents the difference between how you would treat your favorite celebrity compared to how you would treat a regular customer.    

For example, let’s say you’re a big Rocky fan. Imagine if Sylvester Stallone showed up at your shop making the same request as Sarah, about changing over a spare tire.

Would you do it for him? If you would do it for Sly, but not for Sarah, you have a celebrity gap at your shop!

Dan underestimated the impact that social media can have on a business.

Consider this: Back in February 2018, reality TV star Kylie Jenner, sent the following tweet to her 24 million Twitter followers: “sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad.”

Seems harmless right? Well, 44,000 retweets later, this “harmless tweet” caused Snap Chat’s stock value to drop by $1.3 billion dollars!

Dan’s story and Kylie’s tweet, prove that the underestimating the impact of social media can cost you more than you realize.

So how do you bridge the celebrity gap? Stay with me and I’ll explain.

A “Rock” Solid Solution

OK, I get it, you may not be a Rocky fan. So, in this next illustration, I’ll use the wrestler turned movie star, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Would you allow the phone to ring 10 on more times if you knew that “The Rock” was the caller? Would your writer fail to make eye contact and then fail to greet him as he stood in line waiting to be serviced? Would your tech refuse to do a courtesy check, knowing that it was his car?

Wrestle with this thought: If you would do for him what you wouldn’t do for your regular customer, YOU have a celebrity gap. Here’s the solution:

During your next team meeting, ask your crew to name their favorite celebrity. Once you get an agreement on who this person is, have them describe how they would treat this individual if they visited your shop. Write down their responses on a whiteboard or flip chart.

Then as a follow-up, ask if their answers describe how you normally do business today. If the answers don’t line up with your current behaviors, create an action plan that covers what you and the team will do to bridge the celebrity service gap.


So, there you have it. You may never get a visit from “Rocky” or The Rock, but closing the celebrity gap can make you a contender for the title of ATI Top 12 Shop! You can post pictures of your Top 12 plaque on Snapchat!

P.S. Need additional help bridging the celebrity gap? Email to receive a Celebrity Service Checklist, which can be used at your next team meeting.

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Eric, the Accountability Coach, is an Executive Coach at ATI and has coached since 2009. Eric came to ATI having managed over 60 different automotive repair facilities and having supervised over 500 employees at a given time. He loves seeing members progress beyond what they thought was possible and improve their shop to the point where they can leave for weeks at a time and come back to a business that's better than when they left.