For the past three years, Imperial Cars’ principal focus has been on improving service levels. In 2018, this came to fruition with an overhaul of the sales process, reducing the pressure on customers to buy a car.
The transition to the “soft, less pressured ‘meet and greet’” was accompanied by giving sales staff access, via a tablet computer, to historic data on a customer’s contact points, such as live chat, email enquiries, finance calculator, car searches and shortlisted vehicles, as well as their journey on imperialcarsupermarkets.co.uk.
It means staff at the company’s 11 locations don’t repeat a process a customer has already been through, or recommend a car they have already dismissed. Advice on alternatives is only offered if the customer is undecided after a test drive.
The consumer appetite for a more accelerated buying process has led to the introduction of the ‘Click, Call and Collect’ service. This requires the customer to be present at the showroom with their part-exchange only for the test drive and paperwork signing, before driving away. Of customers using the service, 98% buy a car from Imperial Cars.
It also claims to have more details online about its cars than any other dealer, including documentation such as the V5, MOT status and service history. Stock displays are accompanied by a condition report and extensive images.
Imperial Cars’ three-year strategy has led to a 22% year-on-year increase in turnover, 344% increase in profit before tax and average unit margin per used car sold up 23%.
Its CSI rating has gone up from 81% to 88% and an average JudgeService score of 4.3 out of five. Some 90% of customers would recommend the business.
Highly commended: Thame Cars
Finalists: Alexanders Prestige; Carbase; Cartime; MB Motors Ballymena; Motonet.com
Award sponsored by Santander Consumer Finance