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Eight questions to Julie Sidgwick, Motability expert, Lookers

Julie Sidgwick, Motability expert, Lookers

What are the main responsibilities of your role?

My key responsibility is ensuring that, where eligible, customers access the freedom and independence that a car can bring, all with the assistance of the Motability scheme. I share my knowledge of the scheme, its eligibility criteria and the possible
adaptations that can be made to make driving easier.

My focus is on making sure the vehicle will be suitable for the customer’s needs and that they are confident in its use. I also commit time to getting out in the community to raise awareness in the scheme, as there are so many individuals who still do not know they are eligible for this support.


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

A dealership could struggle when there is insufficient resource given to the Motability scheme, including sufficient parking for disabled customers and having a Motability specialist on site. Not all disabilities are visible, and each disability carries its own challenges to the individual, the support required and the possible mobility solution that is deliverable. Through my experience, I have developed strong working relationships with local adaptations suppliers, which helps us deliver vital information, support and technical assistance to each customer. Without these relationships, it would be difficult to support customers where the required solution is more than just supplying a car.


How might these challenges be overcome?

Knowledge and understanding helps overcome many of the challenges a dealership would face.  As the main point of contact, there is no ambiguity over who is the best person to assist a customer. As a dedicated resource, I can commit time to helping those already on the scheme and spreading awareness without the distractions of dealing with private retail customers.  As for parking, although car park attendant isn’t in my job description, I am relentless at ensuring my customers can get parked. Luckily, we have four priority spaces in front of our showroom, so I don’t have to intervene too often.


What attracted you to this area of expertise?

I started in the motor trade in 2007 and after working on private retail sales for 18 months, wanted to achieve a greater understanding of the scheme, as I had heard about it, but didn’t know much about it myself.  As soon as I embarked on my training, I fell in love with the scheme and the independence, freedom and support that it delivers to those who depend on it. Simply put, it’s not “selling”, it is an advisory role and one which is deeply rewarding. The feedback I get from customers shows me that I make a difference and that is the most important thing for me.


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

sidgwick: The most important thing I have learned is to never make promises unless you can deliver on them. Building and maintaining trust enhances your reputation and ensuring my customer is happy is why I turn up to work every day. Over the time spent in my role, I have been lucky enough to meet some amazing and inspiring individuals who I could count as friends as well as customers. Knowledge, patience and understanding is so integral in delivering the right level of care and service.  Having a cup of tea with my customers who are in the dealership for vehicle servicing or an MOT is just as important as helping those who are new to the scheme into their first car.


What drives you?

Making a difference. Positive feedback is so motivational to keep doing it over again.


What’s your favourite app?

WhatsApp, I love keeping in touch with my friends and family.


How do you relax?

Crafting days out and spending time with family and friends.


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