Jiffy Lube District Manager makes connections under the hood and beyond

Victoria Saint-Martin

When Chris Christensen started working as a technician at Jiffy Lube in 1985, computers were still scarce. You had to browse a catalog to find a part. Now, after 33 years and enough promotions to take him to a managerial position overseeing 13 stores, he has said that there is one constant that can be just as important as power tools: how well it connects with people. As a district manager of 13 stores – two in Illinois and 11 in Indiana – he’s eager to shake hands with a new employee or help train someone in the steps necessary to make a change. of oil.

While visiting a store in Mishawaka, Christensen spoke about his early days, his philosophy as a manager and his hope for the future.

What’s the secret to being successful at your job?

“You just have to treat people well. Start by treating your managers well, treating their employees well, and trying to really encourage everyone and really help people when they need it. A lot of places it’s “me, me, me, me” and it shouldn’t be like that. It should be an “us” and “us”. You will succeed and fail as a team.

What positions have you held at Jiffy Lube?

“I started out as a lubrication technician, I became what we used to call a team leader at the time, but he was sort of a key holder or someone with a little extra responsibility and after that , I became deputy director. After that I became a manager for a short time, had some issues and went back to an assistant manager – then I was moved to another location and trained there with another manager for nine month.

“I had about nine months of training with a guy who had really good things to do. I had other skills that he didn’t have, and he had skills that I didn’t. One of his was guest relations – I think I really learned a lot from Dwayne. And that really helped propel me, because after that I came back to management and never looked back. Since 1995, I have had a supervisory role of one kind or another.

What do you hope others take away from your rise through the ranks?

“Changing people’s oil and maintaining their cars is absolutely vital, and that’s great. But I think in a bigger picture, as a business, we don’t want to just be people changing oil; we want to be people who change people’s lives. (Even if it’s) someone who comes in for a newbie position and grows like I did. You will find that each of us who are at my level have come through the ranks. I think it’s inspiring to know that these possibilities are there for those who want them.

What’s the hardest part of the job?

“There are two areas that I think are the worst part of my job, just because you face bad situations; a, having to quit someone’s job, because I have to do it every once in a while, and that’s probably the worst part. And the other worst part of my job is having to deal with all kinds of upset guests, which happens from time to time. I like it, but it’s the worst. I’m generally pretty good at trying to fix the issues and make it a good win-win situation for both parties. “

And the best part?

“The best part is twofold and based on the same pattern: seeing new associates come on board, teaching them something, working with them, and just seeing the light come on, where they say, ‘Oh, I get it now.’ They have an ease with themselves. And the other is when the guests come in, have that “wow” experience and they just go into ecstasies over us. It’s all about the people – these pillars are a vital part of the business.

What does the future hold?

“I think the future is pretty bright. Our business model has changed over the past twelve years. We have moved to a multi-care business model that includes brakes, tires and more. I think as the oil change intervals keep getting longer, more service still needs to be done and we need to become that destination for those. It is a great business decision to develop this business model. People don’t think of Jiffy Lube when they think of tires or brakes, but we see so much of it going through our bays every day, it allows us to find these opportunities to say, “Hey, we’re still in the business of solve a problem for your vehicle before it becomes a problem. ‘”

Chris Christensen, right, chats with Mishawaka store manager John Rucker at the Jiffy Lube store in Mishawaka.
Christensen, left, shakes hands with Lamont Washington, a new employee at a Jiffy Lube store in Mishawaka.
Zachary Pressler, an employee of Jiffy Lube, fills a truck with oil at a store in Mishawaka.

Daniel E. Murphy