“We work very hard at maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction, because we’ve identified that in this internet age it is more important than ever given that we’re seeing the customer less and less in the showroom.”
Nevertheless, Grzesinski suggests the industry suffers in the varied ways different manufacturer brands measure satisfaction. He suggested marking on the customer experience, scored 0-10, with a seven and above showing a good experience.
“If you have a good experience, not only are you satisfied, but it will lead to customer retention. And it will give you a bigger voice with the people you deal with singing your praises.”
The group has a central marketing team, which is involved in database, social media and all forms of advertising. For three years, Macrae & Dick has chosen internet advertising over newspapers, but the company sees its database as the real opportunity. Conquest business is important to grow revenues, but not at the expense of forgetting the existing customer base.
“Sometimes on my rounds I’ll meet customers and they’ll say ‘this is the 10th car’, and other times the father and grandfather will be in with the granddaughter to introduce us.”
The impact of the showroom environment
Asked what impact the showroom environment has on the customer experience (its large Inverness Ford dealership has been updated recently to the latest corporate identity and its Jaguar and Land Rover businesses are destined for development), Grzesinski said some customers expect to have very nice, modern surroundings, while others look on the premises as being something they ultimately pay towards.
“It’s really up to us to make sure we have an environment that’s not only welcoming, but at the same time our people engage with the customers that come in. It’s all about the people, it’s not all about the look of the building,” he said.
A driver of good customer experience is a low staff attrition rate, he said, in that it creates experienced staff who are able to build trusted relationships with their customers. Grzesinski believes empowerment of the staff to make decisions and address problems quickly is what keeps that attrition rate low.
Employees are also given business information, and social opportunities, so they can feel they’re playing a part in making the business a success. Grzesinski passes on personal ‘thank-yous’ to every member of staff if he gets a letter or email from a customer, to acknowledge their contribution. Training is also high on the agenda, often on the back of internal mystery shops. Macrae & Dick won the national IMI Skills Award two years ago.