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Eight questions to… Nic Brayley, operations manager, Devonshire Motors

Nic Brayley, operations manager, Devonshire Motors

What are the main responsibilities of your role?

First and foremost, my main responsibility is to ensure customers receive the level of service they expect, whether they visit, call, or make a digital enquiry. Within that, there is an awful lot of detail and process management, as first impressions involve a lot of channels and a lot of different expectations. I work closely with all our teams, including administration and valeting, so that, as a business, we are a single unit all pointing towards the same overall goals. So many dealership processes are inefficient as they pass from person to person and department to department. We have a unique and dynamic structure that involves far fewer people than a traditional set-up, but, as a result, our processes have to be micro-managed.


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

Ensuring that our customers who choose a digital path get a joined-up experience when they visit the dealership. We are seeing less and less showroom traffic and with more of our business coming from digital channels, we have to adapt to the changed expectations that brings. Also, to continue to evolve service levels so we retain the customers we worked so hard to win in the first place. Our managing director is keen to remind us that lost customers cannot be replaced with new customers on a 1:1 basis, so we are constantly trying to improve our communication and feedback mechanisms to ensure that what we do is what the customer wants.


How might these challenges be overcome?

With my role in particular, it will involve better communication between each team. One of the things we have already done is to centralise our administration, CRM, hosting and lead management so everything is handled by one group of people. This allows us the benefit of the same people handling walk-in, web or phone-based enquiries and then all sales and aftersales contact after that. Having core responsibility for so many unique events means customers really get to know and trust us, plus the exchange of information isn’t slow or departmentalised.


What attracted you to this area of expertise?

I’ve been in the motor trade since I was 16. I started as an apprentice in 1996 and from day one I was fortunate to be surrounded by a great team who had a wealth of knowledge and experience behind them. The senior management team were well versed in the motor trade, which gave me an interest in progressing. I’ve had a lot of experience, both main dealer and in the independent sector, and that has given me a good base to understand people and processes, which is what my current role is based around.


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

Brayley: To listen and be like a sponge – every day is a school day and you learn so much by listening to what’s going on around you. Being able to absorb information from everywhere in the business means you are able to make much better decisions, and this is vital to our success with a centralised and flat structure.


What drives you?

My desire to progress, adapt and evolve to be better than I am already. At the same time, it is very important to me to be a good person and to be considered as someone who does a good job by my employer, colleagues and peers.


What’s your favourite app?

This has to be Facebook, which is I think part of most people’s lives these days.


How do you relax?

Relaxing is something that doesn’t come easy to me, but when it does it’s usually spent with my family walking the dog at one of our local beaches, which also lets the children burn off some energy at the same time. We are getting into cycling as a family as we are blessed with some fantastic cycle routes. They run along the coast, giving some amazing views while being a safe ride route.


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