"Even after 60 years of looking after Alfa Romeo customers it is refreshing to hear you are still looking at ways to motivate your team and enhance the experience of your customers.” This testimonial – from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles UK – summarised the conclusion the judges and auditors reached in deciding the class winner.
The loss of three sales franchises over the years meant Kinghams had to adapt or go under. However, through a series of internal and customer-facing initiatives, a focus on aftersales means the business is booming.
The initiatives include improving communication between service adviser, technician and customer. Service advisers actively encourage a jargon-free review process with customers, who are sent descriptive accounts of service findings and a CitNOW video. They follow up immediately with issues – and “saying sorry is so important”, Kinghams says.
Kinghams can demonstrate that good and clear communication has enabled the service adviser team to upsell above the business plan. Labour sales increased from £665,000 to £722,000 through “targeted upsell of Land Rover throughputs”, year-on-year. The basic service offering of £390 attracts the customer initially. But the video upsell accounts for the significant increase.
Twice a day a ‘whiteboard meeting’ is held with the technicians and the aftersales manager, when each outstanding job is discussed and responsibilities allocated, customer contact agreed, target completion time, parts back orders, technical issues and work progress are discussed. It has helped generate a culture of ‘bothering to help each other out’.
And if any team member has been on a training course, it is mandatory they present a short summary, ensuring learnings are reinforced, and training time and expenditure not wasted.
Finally, all staff receive a monthly share of gross profit. Profit from labour sales, parts and sub-contract work are accounted for daily, along with individual technician times attended, hours sold and worked, plus team utilisation, productive efficiency and overall efficiency. A green light shows when profit projection is positive; red when negative.
“A comprehensive use of video as part of a strategy to simplify customer communications, an investment in people, a profit share scheme and a community feel in the business make this a clear winner,” said the judges.
Highly commended: Steven Eagell Toyota Chelmsford
Finalists: Hills Ford, Kinghams of Croydon, Mercedes-Benz of Preston (Marshall Motor Group), Steven Eagell Toyota Chelmsford, Stafford Land Rover (Swansway Garages)
Award sponsored by: GTechniq