Peugeot has set its network the challenge of being amongst the best performing brands for customer service.
High on the target list are the JD Power Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Survey and the New Car Buyers Survey in which the manufacturer does not have a good performance record.
Peugeot has launched a customer satisfaction programme called Podium 2012.
All 3,500 customer-facing manufacturer and dealership employees will participate in one of nine events being held around the country in a six-week period.
Peugeot UK managing director Jon Goodman said: “The aim is to challenge the perception of all customer facing staff of what customer service is.
The goal is for Peugeot to be in the top three in any measurement of satisfaction by 2012.”
He identified the JD Power as the most visible indicator of how well manufacturers perform. This satisfaction survey put Peugeot at 24 out of 29 manufacturers in 2009.
It scored 764 points out of a 1,000. The industry average was 781.
Goodman said he would also learn best practise tips from Peugeot’s dealers and share those across the network.
The aim is to combine best practice standards and behaviours in 11 areas, including the dealership welcome, vehicle handover and explaining service and repairs.
The Podium 2012 programme will be followed by a “host of operational standards to determine how we handle the fundamentals of customer service”.
A key change in culture, Goodman said, was to move dealers away from doing business “purely on the deal dealers offer customers”.
“The analogy I make is, if an estate agent started talking to you about the price of a house while still on the drive, you wouldn’t buy the house.
"So, dealers have got to stop basing sales on the deal and win customers over on the brand strengths and the appeal of the car. When the customer wants to buy, then the dealer should talk about the price,” Goodman said.
And in another new initiative, every customer facing employee in the network will have a day’s inductions into the brand at Peugeot’s Coventry HQ.
The moves are part of a two-year overhaul of Peugeot’s dealer network which comes to fruition in 2010 under the banner ‘back to growth’.
Goodman said: “The brand has been declining for too long. In the last eight years our market share has gone from 8% to 5%. We have allowed ourselves to become divorced from our dealers and it’s fundamental we improve the relationship and work together to grow share and profitability.”
Peugeot’s network is being reduced from to 245 as of June 1 from 280 two years ago and from an all-time high of 330.
The 2010 market share retail target is 5.4% and fleet 6.3%.
Peugeot is working towards a dealer return on sale of more than 1.2% for 2010, the average for 2009 – or £105,000 in cash. The top quartile dealers, Rod Philpot, network development director, said achieved 3.4% with the bottom quartile operating at a loss.
“In tough economic times we are seeking to improve the average and have no dealer in loss. The latter will never happen, but we expect to improve on the middle ground,” he said.