Loyalty as important as ever to all businesses

Torbay Weekly

With the increase in online sales, some people feel there is no need to return to the same business and are satisfied to deal remotely with the seller and trust them to deliver the goods as described or seen online.

There is the further comfort of being able to return the goods, if not as required, within a short period of time and with certain conditions.

In most cases these people know exactly what they want and generally have only themselves to consider.

This is rarely the case with a motor car.

Even an individual making his or her first purchase will seek advice and although a lot of information can be gained either online or through various forms of the media normally, a visit to the dealer and the subsequent test drive will determine the final decision.

The sales advisor of today is a greatly different animal to those of the past.

There are few businesses who will allow a short-term deal where the customer is not dealt with professionally or at worst is sold the wrong car for his needs.

Now in this competitive industry sales advisors understand that regularly returning customers, who also recommend them to their friends, lead to long-term relationships that are mutually beneficial.

In these circumstances the loyalty to the sales advisor can even become stronger than loyalty to the dealer’s brand.

This is why good dealers look after all their employees and hope to retain them over a long period of their working lives.

Last week I had to say goodbye to two very long-serving employees, one a service technician and one a sales advisor.

Firstly, Steve Parnell, who joined Vospers as an apprentice 45 years ago.

Steve became one of our most respected and competent technicians, working on customer’s Ford performance cars including our own rally cars.

He will continue to look after his nephew’s cars which are involved in rally sport locally and we not only thank him for his lifetime career at Vospers but wish him every happiness in the future.

Secondly, Adrian Boyce, who became part of our team when we acquired Blacklers, who had been respected Peugeot and Renault dealers in the Newton Abbot and Torbay area for many years.

Adrian had started his career at Newton Abbot Motors, qualifying as a technician before moving over to sales and completing close to 30 years with Blacklers and Vospers.

He is a perfect example of my comments above and has enjoyed long-term relationships with thousands of satisfied customers which will present a challenge to his successor(s).

We also thank Adrian for another lifetime career in Devon motor retailing and wish him every happiness in the future.

All of us in business will continue to look after our customers and employees and are aware loyalty will continue to play a part but be harder to retain in these changing times.

We must ensure we keep our customers informed and advised and, if there are special offers, they are the first to know.

With the change to electric timing will be important as new models are introduced.

Loyalty has to be earned and can certainly be of mutual benefit to both employees and customers. Thank you, it is appreciated.

Keep safe, keep smiling, I look forward to next week.