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Winner with a fresh approach

Martin Dillow, business manager at Kent Jaguar dealership Lancaster Sevenoaks, is the first quarterly winner in this year's Award for Financial Excellence, sponsored by GE Capital Woodchester.

He collects a cheque for £1,000 and a place in the final round of the competition, with a chance to win an expenses-paid trip to NADA 2001 in Las Vegas next February.

Mr Dillow was among several entrants to take advantage of the broader entry criteria in this year's competition. His team at Lancaster Sevenoaks has developed a fresh approach to motor finance with the emphasis on customer retention and satisfaction.

“We are looking to move away from finance as a means of purchase; more a better use of funds,” said Mr Dillow. To ensure consistent delivery of the right quality, Mr Dillow has created a series of processes and controls, many of them supported by innovative ideas.

These include a weekly internal newsletter highlighting the dealership's performance from an F&I perspective and regular training and assessment on a one-to-one basis. As a result, Lancaster Sevenoaks has performed well ahead of other group Jaguar dealerships and has increased its finance income by 32% in the past 12 months.

It is No1 for customer satisfaction in the Lancaster network and well ahead of Jaguar's own, tough CSI standards. Neil Clyne, GE Capital Woodchester sales director, said: “Mr Dillow has produced a finance scheme which is clearly to the dealer's own benefit but is also highly customer centred. Satisfaction levels are extremely high.” The customer satisfaction element of the process was enough for Mr Dillow to pip Philip Bates, business manager at Perrys Milton, for the cash prize.

Mr Bates was highly commended for his detailed analysis of used car F&I, leading to the creation of a highly structured computerised process. He also wins a place in the final. The judges also praised the entries of Tony Summerhill, Nidd Vale Motors, and Kevin Hudson, Motor Nation, for their fresh approach to helping customers with negative equity.

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