> Caption: Comedian Kevin Bridges with Ford Retail customer relations director John Leathem, chairman and CEO Chris Hayden and Brent Mitchell from award sponsor Balfour Beatty.
Ford Retail has become the first UK motor retailer to win an award at the National Customer Service Awards, the ‘Oscars’ of the customer service industry.
The company won the award in recognition of its industry leading staff development programme called ‘Moments of Truth’ and joins the ranks of companies such as American Express, insurance company LV= and British Gas which also won awards this year.
Seven other companies were shortlisted against Ford Retail including O2, Lloyds TSB and Thames Water.
The judges said: “This was a very high standard category, but Ford Retail won through because, in the opinion of the judges, the sheer scope of the training project, the delivery and the results were truly outstanding in a sector not previously known for outstanding service”.
Moments of Truth is a long-term initiative which the company launched last year and will see all of Ford Retail’s 3,200 staff at its 74 UK locations gain a nationally recognised qualification in customer service – a first in the auto industry on this scale.
Chairman and chief executive of Ford Retail, Chris Hayden, who collected the award along with customer relations director John Leathem, said: “Moments of Truth is really helping to differentiate us and create sustainable customer loyalty by focusing on what creates a great customer experience and a strong emotional connection with our customers.
“What I am most proud of is the fact that we have a very clear vision of what we wanted to achieve and that we have developed and delivered this programme from concept to completion ourselves.”
Ford Retail, the UK dealer division of Ford Motor Company which trades under brands such as Dagenham Motors and Polar Ford, has also become the first auto retail group in the UK to gain the Institute of Customer Service (ICS) ‘Training Mark’.
It joins the ranks of other major household names such as Virgin Media and Santander who have also had their customer service training accredited by the Institute.
Moments of Truth involves each employee attending a launch event and on-site workshops with everyone working towards an NVQ qualification or an equivalent diploma in customer service.
Each member of staff works through a workbook and is externally assessed in order to qualify.
The programme incorporates internal communications, coaching and mentoring by Moments of Truth champions as well as a reward and recognition scheme.
As well as Dagenham Motors in London and the south east and Polar Ford in the north, Ford Retail owns Lindsay Ford in Northern Ireland, Heartlands Ford in Birmingham and Brunel Ford in Bristol.