It really is so nice to see things done correctly in a world of slapdash practices and throat cutting rivalry. I know I have said it before, but there really is a long term gain by simply throwing straight dice or by just being plain fair when dealing with the public. Quite often, the customer themselves are their own worst enemies by screwing the dealers into the ground, messing around, dealing with every other local agent to to save a few bob.
They then cry like Banshees when the dealer stops being attentive or subservient – there comes a point where a pain in the backside for a sliver of profit and very little chance of repeat or referral business just isn’t worth the hassle. But getting back to the crux of the point – its really great to see a professional and customer-focused outfit really shine and demonstrate their craft. For a trade background person such as I, it kind of makes you realise why you admire the whole motor trade industry.
A close friend of mine had a bad experience with a Dodge Calibre which he purchased from a dealer in Berkshire. The garage was kind of okay but the car itself was utter rubbish. In the end he ran out of patience, and when asking about compact crossover cars, I suggested Hyundai. Running the car as a company motor with very high mileage means the resale value is of a lesser importance, so after trying one and a Kia Sportage, the Hyundai was purchased from a local agent close to Gatwick.
The car has just been recently serviced for the first time since purchase and after doing a little shopping around, he found a dealer in South West London to be notably cheaper. Unfortunately he succumbed to an accident which left him temporarily immobilised him so I was given the task of driving the car to the dealer complete with aforementioned mate and his crutches. Arriving at the premises, the tiny size of the dealership certainly looked tiny compared to many of the modern Cathedral sized dream factories.
A small but happy little dealer that despite being very busy, was clean, tidy and friendly. The lady on the service desk was funny and friendly as was her colleague who ran the parts desk next to her. We collected the courtesy car and were given an estimate of when the car would be ready for collection – but they did forewarn they were a man down and extremely busy in the workshop. Despite this, the car was ready a little over two hours later and immaculately presented.
Even after thumbing through his was wad of notes to pay the bill, we both felt like we had enjoyed ourselves and had been made to feel valued. Its not hard to please the customer and I am certain I know where my chum will quite possibly be purchasing his next car from if the long term experience proves to be a good one. As we left full of coffee and good spirit, another pleasant surprise was in store when arriving at the car in the customer parking area.
The car had been treated to a mini valet and a neat little Hyundai Scented Berry freshener swung merrily from the interior mirror – and it was effective too. A prime example of how well these small family dealers work at keeping their staff motivated and more important of all – ensuring their customers keep flocking back. This is not a blatant advertisement for the dealer in question – Belmont Hyundai, think if more like a tribute for the right way of doing things.
Many of these smaller family run dealers had their franchises stripped in the buoyant times as the manufacturers yearned for huge glass showroom owned by PLC companies in a bid to shift more and more metal. That’s fine when the going is good, but when times get tough those high ceilings also mean high overheads. The smaller family operated businesses with their lower cost bases and impressive attitudes can ride the storm, but sadly there’s not enough of them left to go round.
One thing is worth considering… a dealer who goes the extra mile is worth travelling the extra mile – everyone wins… everyone is satisfied – every time!
Moving on to Rover and then PSV / HGV, he has circumnavigated most departments of dealerships including parts, service and latterly - the showroom. Mike has owned all sorts of rubbish from Lada to Leyland and also holds both Heavy Goods & Public Service Vehicle licences, he buys & sells buses and coaches during the week. Mike runs his own automotive web site and writes for a number of motoring or commercial vehicle themed publications
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