MCS Midwest Performance Diesel

Dec 1, 2009

About 50 minutes west of St. Louis in the town of Pacific, inside the wondrous state of Missouri, is a diesel shop. This shop renders its customers by nothing less than fine performance within the diesel generated vehicle. MCS Midwest Performance Diesel is purely dedicated to the diesel specification. They are set up with customers by reputation and word-of-mouth. Most of their customers are set up by referrals from other customers. There is only one answer to everything within this particular business; it is customer service at its best. It is the wide range of customer service that keeps this business driving in the right direction.

To Start it All Off

The “MC” stands for McClain. He was the previous owner to the four-year-born business of Peggy Sue and Keith Summers. They are the current owners with the “S” at the end of the MCS. Keith Summers has been known in the past to be a premier diesel specialist along with the present.

Peggy Sue admits, “Keith has a reputation that’s second to none throughout the country.”

He could be considered one of the foremost authorities on diesel performance. Keith did his primary mechanic work ups in dealerships in the 1980s. From Lexus, Nissan, Toyota to Jeep and Eagle; the list of his experiences within the dealership market goes on as expected with any mechanic trying to make it on his own. Working in a plethora of dealerships would drive a man away from that side of the market, just like any other person. This eventually put him into the diesel genre that worked towards a change in mechanic work.

Keith basically states, “We were looking for a change, and we found this opportunity.”

The opportunity was to take over McClain’s business and turn it into theirs. Then hearing about the relocation was word-of-mouth at this point because Keith and Peggy Sue had heard of McClain and that he was looking to relocate away from his store and the opportunity knocked on their door the moment they heard about it.

A Place to Work

The square footage of the MCS Diesel is around 6,500 square feet. Added on to that is an eight-bay garage. This is a big change from what they had before with the original shop. Their last shop was only set up with one double bay garage. That is small considering the business at hand.

Keith admits, “We wanted to expand even when we bought.”

They are four employees strong, including Keith and Peggy Sue. Two technicians primarily work in the garage. They are full-time employees with Keith backing them up if need be in the shop. Peggy Sue admits that it is a rare occasion when Keith comes home before seven o’clock at night. He usually shows up after 10 o’clock after working on a job that needs to be done in a timely matter and to satisfy the customer needs.

The Diesel Mechanic

The main points of their shop are specifications on the diesel model itself. On other occasions they do repair work on vehicles-diesel vehicles. They also work on vehicles to provide better fuel economy, more horsepower for really anything that comes in that needs to be worked on.

Now, in this day and age where diesel performance is so popular, a diesel mechanic is a dime a dozen. However, Peggy points out that, “A good diesel mechanic is extremely hard to find.” In reality they are working on diesel specifications 99% of the time within the work area. Keith is ASE [Automotive Service Excellence] certified in gasoline. That means that Keith, in all instances, has a Masters in gasoline and specifies in diesel.

The Service to Customers

Customer service really comes down to the dedication behind it all. Keith and Peggy Sue literally dedicate themselves to the customer service icon. Within this business is interaction with the customer and good customer service. Peggy Sue states, “There are not a lot of businesses you go to these days where each customer is going to actually have interaction with the owner.”

They are dedicated to that philosophy, and it seems to work extremely well for them as a business. For each customer they want to give personal attention and assistance to everyone. Their focus is purely on one customer at a time, nothing less than that. Peggy Sue notes, “Ninety percent of our customers we consider friends.” Now, this adds to their popularity as a whole. Most of their new clients are referral customers. These customers are referred to the business by their friends or somebody they knew that had work done at MCS Diesel. That is the building block of a phenomenal reputation.


Their marketing strategy is simple yet effective. There are the little things that count for this business. They don’t pride themselves to build upon a larger market scale to get more customers into their shop. They send a lot of their product out of state for customers that need their parts. They also sponsored some pulling trucks that started when they first opened the business. Keith and Peggy Sue are throwing down the simple stuff like stickers, T-shirts, business cards and an Internet site that introduces them and what they do as a business. This is nothing fancy compared to other shops in existence. Peggy Sue would later confess that a parts manager out of Michigan called and asked for some of their product.

Word-of-mouth is an ongoing theme through this Cinderella shop. They are constantly getting referred to by other companies, not customers, companies to help out with customers of their own. Keith states, “We do help out other shops, just like other shops will help us out sometimes.” A lot of times, a dealership will call Keith and ask him certain questions regarding the diesel product and they thrive on it.

Basically from their point of view, their well oiled diesel building machine comes down to experience to make the business run better and to make healthy relationships throughout the industry with other shops. Peggy Sue states, “You do it so much it becomes second nature to you, and if you can help somebody else make their installation a little bit easier, that is just all the better.”

It comes down to whatever fits the customer’s needs. Peggy Sue and Keith are the first to tell a customer that whatever the customer wants is really not what the customer wants. They are all about doing the right thing for that customer and showing him or her other options that would be better for the vehicle and more cost effective. From a literal stand-point they never turn down any customers.

Peggy Sue says, “Keith is going to take the time out and explain to them how to do it.” Then Keith later mentions, “If there is a problem with it they are going to tell people that they got from here, if it is working right they are going to tell people they got it from here.” The “it” factor would be the vehicle itself. This would be to work on a vehicle to perfection without complaint from the customer.


Their pricing varies because for the most part because they are selling other manufactured product out of their store. The pricing there is the same everywhere else. Some product is at retail price; some is not. They charge the same price a store would in any other state. Everything is the same manufacturer and the same price. Peggy Sue admits, “We do the performance, then the repair, then we sell everything else.”


The demographic almost has no bounds with this company. They sell to gear-heads that are in their twenties that are looking for a hot ride that sounds nice going down the freeway. They also deal with the men in their fifties living as Peggy Sue puts it, “Their second childhood.” Then there is the working man that uses his truck daily, and nothing else.

The demographic is clearly wide enough for everybody to join in on what MCS Diesel is doing. All of these demographics keep MCS Diesel business beyond their own capability. Since the beginning, they have had customer’s vehicles waiting outside the shop to be worked on. That means they don’t do have any more room within the garages to do the work inside, so everything is just worked on outside whenever they can get to the vehicle. That is a busy business as far as one is concerned.

The Truth

Like the ongoing theme of the shop is the main fulfillment that Keith and Peggy Sue provide for their customers which is customer satisfaction. They are most fulfilled by the customer satisfaction of the completed job. As Keith looks at it, there isn’t any recognition from the dealership environment. Another thing that bothered Keith was he never got to see the customers reaction and satisfaction from something he did. It is the other way around when he owns his business that is in fact on the up and up.

Peggy Sue admits, “They can go into any shop and they will sell you anything you want, but are they going to tell you the truth?” What she is clearly saying that the customers are really looking for the truth.  It is the truth coming from the owner to the customer. The truth is to sell the customer the product and install it to perfection. On the flip side the customer truly and undeniably enjoying every minute of the finished product. It is the truth of the unprecedented knowledge of their customer service.

The bottom line is for this engrossing business is the customer satisfaction and being proud of that. A lot of times people don’t like what MCS Diesel has to say and Peggy Sue admits, “But they know it is the truth.”

The truth is what they stand for, no matter what the price of admission. It is the true telling of the customer satisfaction and beyond. The extra mile is basically an understatement for this fine group of workers and business performers. That is what the model of the customer service should be built on. Standing at the top of that customer service scale should be undeniably MCS Performance Diesel.