Chad Pretorius, the virtual showroom/live showcase manager at Škoda UK, speaks on the challenges of his role
What are the main responsibilities of your role?
I manage a team of product experts which supplies live 360-degree digital tours of the Škoda vehicle line-up through the Škoda.co.uk website.
We showcase the latest cars in our purpose-built showroom studio via one-to-one broadcast technology – enabling customers to experience the vehicle range from the comfort of their own home.
We also provide video training on the features of newly launched cars.
This ranges from electric vehicle charging functionality to the latest active safety technology, which we deliver through a live broadcast or by pre-recorded content; all scripted, filmed and edited by my team.
This allows us to reach thousands at one time including retailers, in-house teams and fleet customers.
What are your most significant challenges?
Škoda was first to launch a virtual online showroom in the UK and we need to remain at the forefront of the technology.
We also need to learn from and adapt practices so we can engage our customers and ensure they receive a first-class experience.
Our team has a wealth of specialist knowledge and I need to ensure they have the latest vehicle information and updates available, so we can pass them on to customers.
Building trust is key.
How might these challenges be overcome?
By ensuring my product hosts have access to the latest tools and training and, importantly, hands-on experience of the Škoda range.
They need to keep up with the latest technological innovations so they can recommend the right car for the customer’s needs.
I always make sure the conversations we have with customers are meaningful and provide an experience that makes them feel welcome to the brand and that the car that they are deciding to buy is right for them.
Our customers, in particular, love the Simply Clever features unique to the brand when we showcase these.
What attracted you to this area of expertise?
The majority of my family has come from the automotive industry so my passion for four wheels has grown from an early age.
This, combined with my skills in managing teams and departments in the digital experience sector, compelled me to this role.
I have been with the team since day one, and have learned so much and experienced many different sectors of the brand, which I have enjoyed.
Piloting the first online showroom in the UK was a unique mix of setting the standard that others have now followed.
We’ve grown quickly and now offer a similar set-up to other Volkswagen Group brands.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your career, and how have you made use of it in your current role?
Being flexible and having the skill to adapt easily to any situation has been one of the most challenging but key tools that I use nearly every week.
This has helped my team and I make the virtual showroom a success.
From setting up additional brands in a few months, hopping on a plane to a car launch and scripting product training films with a few days’ notice, to moving our whole operation to our homes and turning our driveways into showrooms without any downtime as a result of Covid-19, have been just some of the ways we have shown this.
What drives you?
My team and a good challenge are great motivators.
What’s your favourite app?
I can’t quite believe I am admitting this, but since we have been in lockdown and had so many additional moments on our hands, a younger relative introduced me to TikTok and I am addicted.
How do you relax?
Travelling with my husband or watching the latest car review on YouTube is a great way to spend some downtime.