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Ridgeway Oxford Audi: keeping the focus on people, not technology

Car parking and exposure were high on the wish list, above the wish to provide gadgets and a hot drink brought to you rather than slipped out of a machine.

Matschy displays his experience from working in the industry for more than 20 years, when asked what difference technology makes to the art of selling: “The only way sales processes have changed is the introduction of technology and use of computers to configure cars.  

“For me, customer handling has never really changed. It still comes back to building a relationship and actually finding out what somebody wants: qualification, then advice. You can show a customer a car on screen, but I’ve got a large showroom and so customers can see the cars. Technology is not a replacement for rapport.”

The availability of different computers, furniture and use of rooms is not dictating the experience, Matschy believes, but providing customers with choices.

“A customer might be very particular, very sensitive, or shy regarding their preferences and not want to be in the public area, so we move to the lounge. It’s an improvement to having to sit at a desk. We move out from behind them now to where the customer wants to be. Use of iPads is part of that experience.”

Aren’t technology and coffee bars, game consoles and Wi-Fi just ways to assuage a customer who is being made to wait?

“It’s not as simple as that. There are people who come here every week for a coffee and a chat about cars because they are enthusiasts. Others get out as soon as possible. You need to cater for all.”

And on the often-asked, but less often answered with any empirical evidence, question, do gadgets and comfort factors sell more cars and servicing?

“When it comes to searching through a box file to find a customer’s details and their preferences, yes. When it comes to meeting expectations, yes,” Matschy said.

“But I still think selling a car is about people, and I still see people today that will buy cars because they’ve not been treated properly somewhere else.

“Any car that you buy nowadays is not just a few pounds, so the difference is actually personal service, and I don’t think that’s ever going to change.”

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