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Insight builds a brand at Inchcape

Building a brand is a fundamental part of Inchcape Retail’s customer-focused Insight programme.

Initially piloted in three dealerships almost two years ago, it is now rolled out across the group and has made an immediate impact.

Manufacturer CSI surveys have recorded massive improvements at Inchcape’s volume and prestige franchises, particularly on aftersales. Three Mercedes-Benz outlets moved from among the poorest performers in the country to the top five.

“The key to Insight is that we have recognised differentiation is not about us being different, it’s about being better. A better service for our customers and better at delivering our manufacturer partners’ brand values,” says Inchcape Retail UK managing director Spencer Lock.

After considerable feedback from focus groups through customer research specialist CGA, the company defined nine elements – moments of trust –within the customer journey where it wanted to excel.

These start with first impressions, such as ensuring parking spaces are available, offering valet parking if necessary and having a ‘host’ to greet visitors as they enter the forecourt. Other elements cover aspects designed to making the browsing experience as easy as possible, such as having cars unlocked, with information freely available, and early offering of test drives.

They also include the aftersales experience, from handover of the car to service booking and explaining work carried out and the invoice details.

“Within weeks, the sites were changing in terms of physical appearance and colleague behaviour. Importantly, customers were also noticing the difference,” says Lock. “The attitude of doing a deal today has shifted to making customers feel special so they actually want to buy a car from Inchcape.

“Focus on all nine ‘Moments of Trust’ has turned the customer’s experience from one of selling and servicing to one of buying and running; from a transaction led experience which focuses on ‘the deal’ to one which is relationship driven.”

Employees are given an aide-memoire to carry, which reiterates the nine ‘moments’ and also states the Inchcape Retail values of service, teamwork, innovation, respect and results. “We must never forget our customers have a choice,” adds Lock.

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