Four dealers have successfully trialled the new position of aftersales business manager in their dealerships and have seen a “significant” uplift in sales as a result.
Allen Ford Coventry, Allen Ford Romford, Essex Group in Essex and Co-op Derby have all taken part in the trial in association with The Warranty Group.
In each dealership the aftersales business managers has been tasked with maximising service plan and warranty sales as well other aftersales KPIs such as amber sales.
They are attached to aftersales operations in a similar way to how traditional business managers work alongside new and used car sales departments, selling finance, GAP and RTI products.
Ian Simpson, sales and marketing director at The Warranty Group, said: “The trials we have undertaken with aftersales business managers during the last few months have, we believe, underlined the fundamental soundness of the concept, as well as helping us to refine the idea.
“In the current economic climate, aftersales is very much the key battleground for dealer profitability with franchise dealers finding themselves facing increasingly stiff opposition from independent and fast fits. To retain and grow their aftersales business, franchise dealers must find new ways to retain customers over longer periods of time.
“We believe that products such as service plans and extended warranties are likely to be key tools in this battle. Aftersales business managers with a specific brief to cover this area could be the answer for many franchises and the trials have shown impressive results.”
Simpson explained that the increase in sales seen at the four trial dealerships was rated as “significant”, although The Warranty Group did not want to release exact figures because the test group was small.
He said: “We are already in discussion with more dealer groups about the new intake of aftersales business managers and are identifying the best dealerships in which to place them.”
So far, all the aftersales business managers have been employees of The Warranty Group but, in future, it is envisaged that more will be directly employed by dealer groups as the concept proves its value.
Simpson explained: “As we gather evidence for the soundness of the aftersales business manager concept, the programme will change to encourage franchise dealers to either recruit or switch existing members of staff into the role. However, in this initial phase, we are ‘parachuting’ people into dealerships to gather real world information.”