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Face to face: Wessex Garages – using video to build trust and transparency


Video has become a crucial tool in delivering Wessex Garages’ aim of creating an air of trust and transparency around its business. One month can see the six-site franchised dealer group create almost 1,000 videos of customers’ cars being health-checked before service and 600 two-minute sales films of used cars in stock.


  Turnover £102.4m  
  (2012 accounts)
  New car sales 4,400
  New LCV sales 100
  Used car sales 4,000
Wessex Garages franchise representation   

“Video has replaced so many things that we used to do,” said Wessex Garages managing director Keith Brock.

“In most cases if you can put a video around it then it explains things to the customer in a much clearer manner.”

To achieve such focus has meant several developments for the business. One was the decision to employ a tech-savvy digital sales executive in each of its sites to take on all the digital activity, including filming the key features and benefits of each car with a camcorder and giving a sales message on any offers relating to that particular car.

In traditional dealerships, the digital activities are imposed on the sales manager. Wessex’s solution frees the sales manager to concentrate on leadership, customer satisfaction and stacking deals and means.

Brock said: “We want the customer to decide they now want to see that car in person, or they want to reserve it online. Our job is to make that whole part transparent. You can see the price, the condition, the wheels, the seat covers, the mileage, what it’s got in the boot, and get a very clear picture of that vehicle.

“We know that 90% of used car customers research online before they buy, and the latest stats suggest the customer will only visit 1.3 dealerships on average. Our job is to make sure that 1.3 becomes one, and that one is us. This is where the trust and transparency comes into it.”

In aftersales, all electronic vehicle health checks are filmed for customers to see, using CitNow’s video system. If extra repairs are identified, the video evidence often helps the service adviser to convert the sale. If everything passes the health check, it’s a reassurance for the customer.  

Brock said: “Some of these videos will be purely for customer satisfaction. If we video a customer’s car in the workshop, detail various aspects of the car and tell them it doesn’t need any extra work, that’s building trust. Although we don’t make any money out of that today, we’re giving an element of trust and transparency to that customer.

“In a year or two’s time, when we go through the same process and might find it needs new discs or has a leaking shock absorber, that element of trust and transparency means the customer is engaged with us and what we say is believable.

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