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First National launches call centre for dealers

First National Motor Finance is launching a call-centre service aimed at small and medium-sized dealer groups which want to release sales staff and cut administration time.

The service offers dealers a dedicated telemarketing team, based in Bristol, with both phone and direct mail support for new and existing customers. The aim is to boost customer retention, capture new customers and increase revenue from added-value products such as finance, insurance and service plans.

Keith Horlock, First National Motor Finance managing director, said: “The service is ideal for dealers who want staff to focus primarily on closing deals, rather than making phone calls. They will be able to exploit our substantial investment in this service and receive professional telemarketing support at a competitive price.”

Major dealer groups, such as Pendragon and Lookers, have invested heavily in their own call centres to manage customer relationships and centralise a variety of functions such as service booking, finance and insurance sales, and database management. First National claims it is the first UK finance house to offer a similar function – though Capital Bank Motor does offer customer retention and F&I sales to its contracted dealers.

“In the perfect world dealers would have time to follow up every lead, all new customers would be personally welcomed and customer databases would be kept fully up-to-date,” said Mr Horlock. “We have turned this into a reality with a service which is designed to maximise a dealer's profitability but requires no investment in IT by the dealer.”

The telemarketing operation, which was originally trialled in an ill-fated link-up with DC Cook, provides consistent brand support to create a customer relationship. Phones are answered in the dealer's own name and dealers retain ownership of the customer database.

Typical services on offer include: handling incoming sales calls and appointing customers, follow-up calls to non-purchasers, customer satisfaction calls, service and MoT reminders, repurchase calls, cross-selling insurance products and cleansing databases. Dealers can select the services they require.

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