The paramount concern for Gilder Group chief executive Garry Scotting is not selling more cars, raising aftersales retention or keeping his customers satisfied – it’s ensuring he has a happy workforce.
“Everyone will tell you that customer satisfaction is the most important thing, but this is where we’re different from other groups,” Scotting says. “We honestly believe that you have to make your employees happy before your customers.
“If you have a happy team, customer satisfaction will naturally follow. We’ve given them great facilities and our training budgets are about 25% greater than the rest of the Volkswagen network, at about £600 per head each year.We take on 20 apprentices a year, 80% of whom stay on with us.”
The strategy works. Gilder’s top Audi site is ranked fourth and its best Volkswagen site third. All its eight sites are in the top quartile.
Gilder Group is fighting back againist the gloom at the start of 2009 with the opening of a £15 million franchised dealership at Meadowhead in Sheffield. It’s not the best time to be investing such huge sums of money, but Scotting is undaunted. The showroom is a key part of the facilities he talks about.
The five-acre site becomes Gilder’s base for its Volkswagen and Audi showrooms. It combines four of Gilder’s former dealerships – Peter Gilder Audi, Audi Approved Chesterfield, VW Banner Cross and VW Hillsborough (which remains as service/repair only).
- Read this story in full in the 6 Feb 09 issue of AM. To subscribe to AM magazine click here or call 01733 468659.