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Swedish personal service promised as Volvo Retail Experience car showroom style is rolled out

Volvo car showrooms in the UK are being transformed into a customer-focused, Scandinavian-inspired space over the coming years as the car manufacturer seeks to transform the way consumers engage with the Swedish brand.

Three UK locations have already adopted the new corporate identity, labelled Volvo Retail Experience (VRE), which sees 40% of the showroom transformed into a ‘living room’ with Scandinavian designed furniture for customers to relax on, free wi-fi and Swedish snacks and coffee, and 60% dedicated to a ‘street’ area which displays the models in Volvo’s new car range.

Click here to read AM's exclusive report from last October on the VRE concept. 

The emphasis on customer comfort is due in part to Volvo’s desire for aftersales customers to wait while their car is serviced. Although Volvo car dealers may still offer courtesy cars and collection and delivery, a new ‘lean’ method of working by teams of two technicians on each car will mean that a service should be completed in less than an hour.

Glazing will ensure the waiting customer can see what is going on in the workshop, and their assigned Volvo Personal Service (VPS) technician will deal with them directly in the ‘living room’ and can take them into the workshop to see first hand if any further repairs or maintenance needs have been spotted on their car.

Phil Hand, Volvo Car UK head of network development, said: “VRE has been designed to tackle the challenge of bridging the gap between an ever-improving market sector and the current Volvo dealership customer experience. Workshops are integral to the customer experience, so being able to see in and out of the ‘window’ between the dealership spaces becomes a symbol of trust between Volvo and our customers.

“VRE isn’t just about a change of furniture though – it’s a new way of retailing designed to make our customers feel relaxed and at ease in an environment that informs and provides flexible waiting, working and assessment areas.”

David Baddeley, Volvo Car UK customer service director, said the improvements reflect a fundamental need for trust, and demonstrate that Volvo dealers are respectful of the customer's time. By attending a specific appointment and relaxing or working at the dealership while the car is being serviced, the customer can be on their way again within an hour.

The Volvo dealerships which have already adopted VRE and VPS are Johnsons at Solihull and Volvo authorised repairers MRG in Chippenham and TMS at Hinckley.

The roll out of the programmes is expected to extend to 20 more sites per year until the entire 103-site Volvo dealer network is complete by 2020.

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  • g g - 15/04/2015 16:54

    What a fantastic concept. Would we not all want to work in this environment and welcome our customers in. Only problem is the quality of people being attracted to our industry is declining all the time and most would not appreciate or respect the money, effort and desire put in to this great plan. Perhaps it is society, perhaps it is both the manufacturers and dealers lack of training, perhaps it is the tight controls and lack of responsibility giving staff no self worth, perhaps it is that modern managers spend far more time on their backside filling in spread sheets when they should be training, whatever it is our industry is a much poorer place to be than it used to be and no amount of beautiful showrooms will change this, good people look after customers no matter what their surroundings.