Measurement of performance and motivation of staff are both vital tools in driving up standards of customer service in motor retail.
That was the overview given by Inchcape chief executive Andre Lacroix to delegates at the SMMT International Automotive Summit.
Inchcape interviews 12,000 people across its global operations every month, including buyers and those who walked away, for feedback.
It also measures customer visits, phone calls, emails and test drives against KPIs in order to identify issues and recognise progress.
Lacroix said the car buying process is highly emotional for customers so the overall experience, from parking at the dealership to being engaged by staff, is vital.
Some potential customers in motor retail are still not given the right opportunity because they are pre-judged by sales staff.
“The cars are getting better every day so if you want to offer value for money I believe you have to continue to work on customer service,” said Lacroix.
The quality of employees is essential, as is the way that management interact with them and that their remuneration and bonuses reflect good service and not just sales.
Lacroix said a happy employee will deliver fantastic customer service, and a well-treated customer will be more loyal and more likely to trade up when given the opportunity.
He added: “It’s very good to have smart and practical people but if they don’t know how to get through to the customer that’s a challenge.”