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Eight questions to… Glyn Hopkin operations director Stuart Hodson

Stuart Hodson, Glyn Hopkin

What are the main responsibilities of your role?

Hodson: The day-to-day running of sales and aftersales of what is effectively 51 franchised outlets in 14 towns, in a contiguous market area covering east and north London, Essex, Hertfordshire, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Buckinghamshire.

The management, motivation and remuneration of all customer-facing staff within the business to deliver the best possible experience and results for us and, most importantly, for our customers. I have a very close working relationship with the managing director, Fraser Cohen, whose hands-on approach demands the highest level of accuracy with information reported, and whose in-depth understanding of every area of the business keeps me on my toes. A large part of the role is managing the senior relationship and getting the very best mutual benefit with 10 manufacturer partners along with associated suppliers and systems.

 

What are the most significant challenges ahead in your field of work?

Hodson: Finding, developing and retaining the best individuals for an industry that is constantly evolving in a part of the world with a very competitive jobs market.

I have to keep up with the huge amount of information that passes through my inbox on a daily basis,

prioritising what is important and being confident that everyone in the business has the information they need to do their job. It’s also critical to find ways to maintain the income streams in challenging times, when manufacturers are looking to protect their own returns by controlling margin and incentive payments. I also seek to ensure that key processes are followed each time, in every part of the business, to deliver the levels of quality and consistency we constantly strive to achieve.

 

How might these challenges be overcome?

Hodson: I think staff and process are the answers to most challenges in any customer-facing business. The expectation and performance management of staff at all levels is crucial. Glyn Hopkin is a results-driven business and our pay plans are always written with KPIs that heavily incentivise staff to strive for perfection, and the best customer outcome in their area of responsibility. It has always been our company ethos to grow staff with the business and reward loyalty and success, and virtually all our management and directors have been with us a long time and risen through the company. I would like to think that all our staff see the opportunity to repeat what I have done, having started with Glyn Hopkin as a trainee sales executive 25 years ago.

 

What attracted you to this area of expertise?

Hodson: I have always had an interest in cars – particularly the retailing side of the business – and I finished my A-levels just as Glyn Hopkin established its first dealership nearby in Romford in 1993. I have always been motivated to ensure that things are done in the correct way and have never relented on instilling that ethos in others.

 

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your career, and how have you made use of it?

Hodson: I think the biggest thing I learnt very early on is to be completely honest, ask for help and deal with a situation as soon as it arises. It’s also crucial to remain as closely engaged as possible with all members of the staff in the business, which isn’t always easy. You should also be physically present in the dealership, visible to customers and staff as much as possible. We actively encourage customers to engage with us personally by sharing their feedback – be it good or bad.

 

What drives you?

Being successful and driving the rest of the team to do the same.

 

What’s your favourite app?

My Honda.

 

How do you relax?

By the sea with no phone signal.

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