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Honda’s big fish in a small pond

Dealers in Honda (UK)’s franchised network have been painted a picture of the brand’s future this week, and it’s based on fish.

The carmaker wants dealers to learn from the famous customer service philosophy of Pikes Place Fishmarket in Seattle, USA. Key points include coming to work with the right attitude, incorporating an element of fun, and believing in the golden hour spent with the customer when all focus must be on them.

This culture has built Pikes Place a worldwide reputation for great interaction with customers and making them feel well served and appreciated. Such is its success, that the management launched a business consultancy service.

Sales operations staff from Honda (UK)’s head office in Swindon designed a roadshow titled True Retailing, during which they presented to dealers how the brand has evolved in the last 10 years, and gave a vision of how the Honda customer will be treated in 2015.

“At the moment the network is busy thinking about the here and now, but we want to get them thinking strategically about how the business is going forward,” says Michael Doyle, Honda (UK) regional aftersales manager for the south of England.

“We’re not trying to preach anything. They are the retailers, and we’re the manufacturer. But what we’re trying to say is that there’s a gap going forward so that they recognize that and consider how they fill it. It really is a culture change to embark on.”

The roadshow covered a broad spread of factors, including showroom premises and sales processes. Doyle says one of its key goals was to share best practice across the network.

It looked at the most profitable Honda dealers – described as its True Retailers – and the way they operate.

Honda has also videoed high street shoppers and premises of other non-automotive retailers to examine their practices.

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