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5 minutes with… John O’Donnell, managing director, EMaC

John O’Donnell,  managing director, EMaC

What are the benefits of service plans for the dealer?

Mainly a steady stream of servicing revenue to offset fixed costs. An average of more than £364,000 of service activity under our plans is authorised every day.

Also, there has been a significant development in the change cycle. While finance sales have grown over recent years, the propensity of motorists to settle their finance agreement earlier has increased.

 Through service plans, we continue to help sustain customer contact. If a customer is thinking of cancelling, our approach successfully minimises the risk and we also keep the dealer informed. On the other hand, if they opt to extend ownership then we can quickly extend a service plan to suit.

 

Can you provide a specific example of how EMaC benefited a dealership?

One group was selling about 250 service plans a month before it moved to us and increased that to about 330 – a total for last year of 3,960 that brought in more than £327,650 for the group.

To achieve this, there were regular group review meetings and best-practice process implementation, along with targeted training. Training didn’t just focus on what a plan is or why they are vital for the group – it also covered sales and presentation skills. One site had two service advisers increase sales 40% in the first month post-visit.

 

How has EMaC grown over the years?

Over the 13 years , annual sales growth has gone from about 5,000 to 450,000 and currently there are over 1.5 million live plans among more than 1,000 dealer groups at 6,000 sites, making us the number one service plan provider.

 

Are there any impediments to continuing growth?

None that I can think of. With 20m vehicles on the road and two million new ones sold last year, that’s a very positive backdrop for further development.

 

How does EMac’s offer exceed rivals’?

Feedback shows we are the best when it comes to innovative technology, training support through our sales force and the 70-strong team manning the in-house contact centre at our HQ in Crewe.

 

Can you provide an example of ‘innovative technology’?

Most significant is Autoquote, currently on trial at selected dealer sites. It is a time-saving automated process whereby EMaC generates a quote based on data from the dealer and sends it to them to be printed ready for the customer. 

 

Where do service plans rank in consumer popularity? Is the main sales channel point-of-sale or aftersales?

Along with GAP, it’s at the upper end of consumer choice. Aftersales is the main channel, but it varies from dealer to dealer.

 

How do you deal with complaints?

They run at less than 1%, which is impressive against industry standards.

We have a very robust process for dealing with complaints that may feature such issues as cancellation of the plan and refunds, or transferability.

On the latter, some dealers prefer that the plan is confined to one of their outlets, while others are happy to extend it to any outlet within their group and this is made clear in terms and conditions. We have found that an increasing number of consumers are willing to travel further afield to maintain contact with a dealer of their choice.

 

What are your main leisure interests?

Fell-walking and watching rugby with my fiancée.

 

Favourite possession?

A picture of family and friends at Wembley when Blackpool won the 2009–10 Championship play-off final to go into the Premier League.

 

Ambition before going into business?

To be a PGA Tour golfer.

 

CHRIS PHILLIPS



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