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8 questions to SsangYong regional aftersales manager Phill Sargent

Accessories for SUVs and developing the right culture are among the areas of focus for Phill Sargent, a regional aftersales manager at SsangYong UK, 

What are the main responsibilities of your role?
My main responsibility is to provide essential aftersales support for all authorised SsangYong dealerships in the south. My role can vary from assisting with customer support, providing technical advice, implementing staff training and development plans, identifying aftersales opportunities and supporting our dealer network in delivering outstanding customer service.

What are the most significant challenges ahead?
There is no doubt electrification is on its way and SsangYong is deep into planning for the release of its first electric vehicle (EV) next year. Although there is already an increase in EVs on the road, the market still faces many challenges, such as infrastructure, charging speeds and accessibility. One of our significant challenges will be to ensure aftersales profitability remains consistent, given there are fewer serviceable components that make up an EV.

How might these challenges be overcome?
We must ensure our SsangYong network continues to deliver exceptional customer service which will secure customer retention and increase aftersales revenue. We must also look at revenue opportunities such as a robust accessory programme, which will allow customers to personalise a vehicle to their individual needs. We need to ensure we create a culture that a customer would not think of any place to get their vehicles repaired other than a SsangYong dealership.

What attracted you to this area of expertise and how did you get to your current role?
I am very excited about the future of SsangYong. Its vehicles keep going from strength to strength while its dealer network continues to grow and develop. I want to be able to look back in the future with pride and passion and say I was there at the start of this journey and be proud to see where we are today. I started off as an apprentice vehicle mechanic and was given some outstanding advice by my first aftersales manager, Mike Johns. He was an inspiration and a fantastic leader who I always had the utmost respect for. He gave me great direction and showed me how to grasp every opportunity with both hands. We still share regular phone calls.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your career, and how have you made use of it?
Manage a team of people through great leadership and coaching. Ensure you take time to become a great listener and use this effectively to understand how to improve something. I pick up the phone at every opportunity possible and talk to my colleagues daily, even just for a catch up.

What drives you?
My passion and competitive nature drive me forward, while my fiancée and children keep me in focus.

What’s your favourite app?
Sky Sports News.

How do you relax?
Spending quality time with my family and friends, making the most of great company (usually over a beer or two).

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