It All Started with a Cheeseburger

Who knew waiting tables and programming software had one thing in common— customer service. KC Baker, Software Engineering Manager for Next Gear Capital, shares the common thread that he keeps top of mind when developing software at Cox Automotive.

By KC Baker

Cheeseburger in Paradise was a tropical oasis for the average Indiana nomad to escape the cold for a few hours. It was my first college job and it taught me very early on about the customer experience.

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As I waited on tables of new diners or out of town guests, I knew that I was their first contact with our brand. I greeted the guests, took their order, brought out their food and while it took a team to make their visit amazing, I knew that they would associate their overall restaurant experience back to their interaction with me.

Fast forward to today where I work for NextGear Capital, a Cox Automotive brand, as a Software Engineering Manager. I’ve been with the company for two years and since joining I have witnessed the incredible impact of our company vision, transforming the way the world buys, sells and owns cars.

On my team, we work very closely together to enhance the experience of our Manheim auctions by processing titles and collaborating on major initiatives like Gavel to Gate. We play a key role in building internal efficiencies that help our employees and in improving processes for our customers. I think back often on my experience in the restaurant industry and the pride that I felt with creating memorable customer experiences that ultimately change the way a customer feels about the dining establishment, and that helps me to realize that we do the same thing as software engineers.

In this photo KC Baker snaps a selfie in front of a waterfall near Vancouver with his wife Laura, who both enjoy traveling together.

It starts with us — believing that we can radically change the way a software program is used to enhance the experience for Manheim customers.

I love that our company leads by example; our leadership team is transparent and honest about the direction of our company and that open communication empowers me and my team to take ownership in our jobs. We are NextGear’s — and Cox Automotive’s — competitive advantage.

When I used to serve a table of guests and perhaps made a few mistakes, I could easily adapt my method for the next group to have a better experience. This same model applies to how I encourage my team to work, to be agile and adapt easily to change and that’s how Cox Automotive works too.

I learned early on how to own an experience. I was empowered to make decisions, solve problems and enhance each customer experience. Now I’m lucky to be doing that today in a field that I love and for a company that I am very happy to work for.

Special thanks to KC for sharing his story! To learn more about career opportunities in technology visit our careers website.