A major training programme was launched by Ford Retail in January this year called Moments of Truth.
The scheme, costing about £1.2 million, involves every member of Ford Retail’s 2,800 staff across its 74 dealerships and support sites.
The idea is that everybody in the network is trained to the same level to offer a consistent approach.
It is made up of one day workshops, normally on-site, consisting of about 25 people and sees everybody working towards an NVQ Level 2 in customer service.
Those attending work through a series of exercises to understand what good customer service is and how through their role they can deliver it.
Everyone is given an NVQ book to complete within six months which provides written evidence of their ability to achieve the set standard.
A ‘moment of truth’ occurs every time a member of staff comes into contact with a customer. This could be anything from a salesman selling a vehicle to a technician ensuring a car is clean following a service.
Absolute commitment to the training programme
John Roberts, Ford Retail’s human resources director, said: “I don’t think this has been done before.
The difference is the absolute commitment from the organisation to make this work.
“We use a business model used by American company Sears Retail which says if you are going to be customer focused you need a programme to implement it and to recruit the right people.”
Staff give feedback on the training via a survey provided by an external website.
It revealed that 97% of people say they are proud to work for Ford Retail, with about 600 people completing it so far.
About a third of the staff have already gone through the training and it will take until June 2010 to get everyone through.
John Leathem, Ford Retail’s customer relations director, said: “All the staff will complete the training because everybody contributes to customer service.
Customer service = Customer satisfaction
It is all very well to report on a manufacturer’s CSI through sales, but customer service is about customer satisfaction. I have a strong opinion that cars are very similar and the only way we can differentiate ourselves from the others is by service.”
Moments of Truth measures how satisfied customers are with the service via an online survey.
Follow-up phone calls are also recorded and played back to staff to monitor their performance, which Leathem said is invaluable.
He added: “If the customer says they are really happy that is good enough, but if they say something is wrong we have to listen and that’s why we did Moments of Truth.
“It is about going towards our vision of being the best value car retailer in the UK.”