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Service advisers lack soft skills

Castrol expects 500 service reception staff to undertake its Red Carpet Training this year, after finding a soft skills gap in the sector.

Research by Castrol Professional showed 42% of service advisers do not feel empowered to handle customer issues and 54% receive fewer than the industry-recommended minimum of five days training. Just under 20% have less than two days training.

Its Red Carpet Training aims to close this gap, by preparing service staff for the new customer service adviser route within the Institute of the Motor Industry’s ATA scheme.

Manufacturer training often focuses on technical aptitude and processes, rather than any soft skills or sales training, said Castrol.

When designing the programme, it worked with the IMI and the Motor Industry Consultants group to ensure the course met the needs of the industry. Castrol added that it had used best practice from other industries where customer service is a top priority, for example, the long-haul airline industry.

The training, the only third-party offering which meets criteria for ATA assessment, has six modules including customer connections and tackling customer objections, all of which are delivered on-site.

Each module lasts for two hours.

Employees have a pre-course assessment with their line manager and after completing the modules, staff get a development plan to be monitored by management and a Castrol consultant on an ongoing basis.

Castrol said the training is one part of the broader Castrol Professional offer, so cost of training is based upon the supply agreement with individual dealers.

Similarly, it is hard to demonstrate a measure of success as individual objectives are agreed between Castrol account managers and the dealer before implementing the course.

But dealers have seen improved upselling ability of service reception staff that have undertaken the course, said Castrol.

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