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Eight questions to... Ben Fish, head of sales operations at Seat UK

Ben Fish, network operations director at Renault UK

Every month AM conducts a quick Q&A interview with a car retail or manufacturer employee to find out what makes them tick.

In the latest edition of the magazine, Seat UK's head of sales operations, ​Ben Fish, explained that the Catalonian carmaker's latest developments are only adding to the sense that he is currently working in his "dream job".

What are the main responsibilities of your role?

I run a team of approximately 30 people working across the Seat dealer network, helping to deliver sustainable new and used sales volumes, develop sales programmes, drive network sustainability and engagement, with the aim of improving the customer experience and ultimately building a base of loyal customers as a result. I’m also excited to be working on Cupra during a really exciting period for the brand as business lead.

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

The industry is experiencing significant change in almost every area, and while this is incredibly exciting it also provides several new challenges that could prove particularly difficult for some, when you consider that the automotive sector really hasn’t had to change too much over the past few decades. The rise of online retailing and electrification is fundamentally transforming the industry, while consumer demands around transparency and service levels as well as their awareness and understanding of new technology and their own environmental impact, have grown significantly. Ensuring the performance of the business and sustainability of our retailer network through this constantly changing environment is the biggest challenge the industry faces at the moment.

How might these challenges be overcome?

Seat has undergone a radical transformation of its product line-up, and now has one of the most modern ranges in the industry, tailored to meet the demands of our audience with a family of SUVs and several electric and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models on the way. Alongside the continued development of the Cupra brand, it’s a really exciting new chapter in our story. Our network is well prepared for electrification and is very engaged in the process toward a green retail experience. However, we’re not complacent, and, most importantly, will remain close to our network and be swift in navigating any challenges ahead. That’s our strength as a brand; we’re proud to have a really strong relationship with our retailers and stay nimble enough to work with them and properly respond to challenges together. There’s plenty of work still to be done of course, and we want to continue to grow our used car business and focus even more on customer service and loyalty to help us maintain our business health while evolving as the industry continues to change.

What attracted you to this area of expertise?

Having worked across the VW group for nearly 20 years, spending my time at both Audi and Seat, I’ve enjoyed getting involved in field roles, sales operations, planning and product marketing. When the incredible opportunity arose to lead the Seat sales operation and network through the biggest period of change the brand has ever witnessed, it was one I couldn’t turn down.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned and how have you made use of it at your company?

The people are what makes this industry special and exciting, and how people work together can make all the difference. Proper collaboration; people working towards a common goal and pulling in the same direction, is critical at all levels. What I enjoy most about working at Seat is that we have a truly collaborative culture both internally, with our colleagues in Barcelona, and with our retailer network. There is plenty more that we can do to improve that, but creating opportunities for an open dialogue through regular meetings and touchpoints, both physically and digitally, continues to be a really important.

What drives you?

I’ve always loved cars, so I have my dream job. It will only get more exciting with Cupra gaining momentum and the new electrified cars.

What’s your favourite app?

I consume a lot of data through spreadsheets and presentations so I use Audible to switch off.

How do you relax?

My wife and I have three amazing kids, who keep me grounded and remind me what’s important in life. And there’s always red wine, of course!

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