Lucy Ford (pictured), a Kia product genius at Bolton Kia, reveals the importance of her role in educating consumers about the features and benefits of electric cars.
What are the main responsibilities of your role?
The Kia genius role aims to help guide customers through the sales process in a non-pressurised way. We help them feel at ease while they are deciding which model best suits their requirements, for example through personalised demonstrations and test drives. Another part of the role is to assist with online enquiries, we go the extra mile and make personalised videos and photographs of the specific car a customer has enquired about. We’re also trained to know all the specifications of the entire Kia range and this helps us guide customers in the right direction for what they seek.
What are the most significant challenges ahead in your field of work?
The ever-changing landscape of the car world, with announcements such as “electrification by 2030”. Helping customers understand what electric and hybrid cars are and how they would fit into their lives is a further challenge, as they’re new to most people. We also encounter a lot of incorrect preconceptions and it can be difficult to change people’s minds on electric vehicles (EVs). At the moment, most of the people who enquire about EVs have never really looked at them before, so our task switches to being an educator and we need to confidently tell people how good EVs can be to put people at ease when they consider moving that way.
How might these challenges be overcome?
It helps that Kia has a really wide range of electrified vehicles, so for anyone not ready to go full-electric, there are other choices ranging from mild hybrid, hybrid or plug-in hybrid that can each act as stepping stones to make the journey more acceptable. Electric car technology is rapidly improving and the infrastructure is only getting better, so I think the job of conveying this to people is getting easier with every step the industry takes forward. Kia also has announced its next-generation of electric cars that will be based on the new E-GMP platform, offering up to 500 kilometres (310 miles) of range and less than 20-minute charging thanks to a dual 400/800V system. That’s game-changing and helps reduce any anxieties customers may have.
What attracted you to this area of expertise?
I genuinely have a passion for cars, but I had no previous experience working in the car industry. The Kia genius role made a lot of sense to me though, as it nurtures that passion and allows me to really learn in-depth information about the product range so I’m better able to help customers with decisions. It’s especially exciting working for a manufacturer like Kia, as it’s a fast-moving company that’s introducing a lot of new products.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned and how have you made use of it at your company?
Asking the right questions and then being able to really listen to a customer’s needs is the most important part of the role. When you truly listen, you get a really good understanding of what somebody needs, which helps further through the sales process. A lot of customers already know what they want, as they may have already researched cars online or completed a test drive and it’s vital to listen to them instead of assuming anything. Also, the ability to adapt how I work with the customer is really important, as some customers want to be led through the sales process more slowly than others and gauging this accurately can really make people feel at ease and allow them to enjoy the experience.
What drives you?
When a customer steps into the showroom, you already know they’re serious about buying a car. Being in a position to really help them understand what Kia has to offer and leading them through the options resulting in them driving away in their new pride and joy once they’ve completed the purchase with a sales executive is very rewarding. It also helps that we’re in an ever-changing automotive environment, which keeps things interesting and never stale. So, it’s also great to rise to the challenge of keeping up-to-date with all the Government changes, car taxation, and, of course, new Kia products – all to be able to comfortably provide assistance to people entering a world they’re not used to.
What’s your favourite app?
I spend a lot of time on Reddit, as it’s a great source of information, whether that’s global news, automotive news or just funny videos. It’s a news aggregator site, so you can get different perspectives instead of a biased view.
How do you relax?
It’s hard to switch off from work because I’m genuinely interested in cars and working with Kia’s exciting model range only adds to my enthusiasm! So, I enjoy watching videos about cars and playing PC games.