Angela Barrow, EMaC chief executive, believes service receptions should be the first thing customers see when entering UK showrooms to reflect why the majority of customers are visiting.
Barrow believes adopting a USA model would add more prominence to the aftersales departments for UK dealers and show that service customers are as valued as new car customers at the dealership.
Approximately 43% of US dealer annual profit is derived from aftersales and moving service desks to the front of the dealership is a trend that is starting to gain traction.
Barrow believes the current design of making service customers walk through the showroom to see new models and meet salespeople is misplaced because many service customers have a single-minded purpose to be in and out swiftly and do not have the requisite ‘browsing time’.
The US model recognises the frequency of face-to-face contact between service advisors and customers.
Barrow said: “More customers visit the typical showroom for service and repair reasons than for anything else and in many ways it makes sense to ensure that the service area is both more prominent, welcoming and comfortable.
“Re-locating the service desk and enhancing the use of space to create a better experience addresses this. Adding a salesperson to the area is an opportunity to upsell products such as service plans, update records and above all ensure opportunities to gain sales are all realised.
“We understand that there are cost implications to relocate a service desk, but even in the short-term there has to be an opportunity to enhance the service customer with a dedicated ‘meeter & greeter’ in the way that Peter Vardy is now operating.”