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HR Owen: Email, events and enticing the 21st-century customer

Salesforce also displays sales staff call activity, calls made, leads followed up – or not. Harris said this appears a little like ‘Big Brother’, but insists staff reaction has been positive: “Sales people now use it to run their selling and general managers to manage their businesses. A couple of GMs have said they don’t know how they’d manage their businesses without it.” He also emphasised its power as a point of sales tool: a sales person can spec a vehicle, give the deal a value using Kee Resources data and an order form is generated.

“If you toured our showrooms you would see it open on every sales person’s computer screen,” said Harris.  

Of course, the effectiveness of this means of providing attention to detail is measured.

Email is used to measure customer satisfaction, using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) system based around the question, ‘how likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to your friends and colleagues?’

NPS can be as low as −100 (everybody is a detractor) or as high as +100 (everybody is a promoter). An NPS that is positive (higher than zero) is said to be good and an NPS of +50 is excellent.

More than 2,500 surveys were sent in Q4 2013. Some 300 responses were received and HR Owen’s NPS was +71. Apple’s is said to be +47.  

The impact of Salesforce on staff was critical. Doyle and the management team identified another challenge in 2011 –winning back the confidence of its 370 staff.

Internal surveys in 2011 and 2012, using NPS, asking staff if they would recommend the company for service, parts and sales saw group averages of just 19% and 28% respectively. The responses to whether they would recommend HR Owen as an employer were even worse, with an NPS score of -6 in 2011.  


Increasing staff satisfaction with internal communication

The ‘group first’ strategy for 2013 aimed for all staff to believe “I feel as much part of the HR Owen group as my specific site or franchise”. Internal communication has been a key to improving staff satisfaction.

Throughout the potentially unsettling periods such as boardroom changes (including the departure of chairman Jon Walden), from the summer of 2013, Berjaya Philippines Incorporated’s negotiations to purchase a controlling stake in the company, and April’s de-listing from the stock market, Doyle kept up a steady stream of emails to staff informing them of changes and deciphering the management speak.

When an announcement is made to the stock market at 7am, an email to staff will be sent at 7.05. For those who don’t have access to email – technicians, for example – Doyle’s words are posted on notice boards.

The management team was also simplified with Doyle’s direct reports cut from about a dozen to six: HR, finance, marketing, two sales divisions, and IT.

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