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10 Steps to Improve Customer Service in the Motor Trade

Customer service in the UK has received its lowest score since 2010, and although the motor trade was rated as the fourth highest sector, facing competition from the likes of tourism, retail and food retail, standards have gradually slipped over the last two and a half years and the bar needs to be raised back up again.

Customers are a vital part of any business; they bring the money in so keeping them happy is integral. The UK Customer Satisfaction Index, who perform the twice yearly study on customer happiness, found that 95% of highly satisfied customers are very likely to remain as customers. In stark comparison, only 5% of dissatisfied customers are very likely to return.

Out of 100 points the automotive sector received an average score of 78.6, which is down from 80.9 in 2013. Motor trade companies like Skoda have proved you can achieve great customer satisfaction in the motor trade, consistently being named in the 20 highest performing businesses in the UK with high scores between 82.9 and 85.7 since 2013.

In order to help keep customers satisfied and returning to your motor trade business, Think have collated some of the best advice from business experts and added a few tips from our own experience.


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Learn Your Business and Become an Expert

 

You may know how to sell cars, repair them or wash them, but do you know everything about your business? If you sell cars, get to know the market as a whole, know the specifications and prices of your competitors. On the other hand if you run a valet business find out if you can be offering your customers more services than just a car wash. Becoming an expert of your business will also help you field customer questions much more easily and give them confidence in your service.


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Make Your Customers Feel Welcome

 

Your customers should feel welcome before they even enter your business. An attractive, family friendly and clean store front will attract customers to your business. Once they enter your shop or garage, they will expect polite service, so look after them in any way you can. If you need to keep them waiting for any amount of time, make sure that comfortable seating areas are available.


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Be Available

 

Due to the nature of customers today, they want service to be available as soon as possible and when it suits them. So be attentive to the business phone and emails, if a customer cannot get in touch with you they may take their business elsewhere purely because that other business picked up the phone.


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Listen to Your Customers

 

Knowing what your customers want is essential to helping you improve your customer service and, in turn, your profits. Find out what they need from you and do what you can to help them. The more you listen to your customers and the more information you find out, the more services you will be able to offer them. Also, if your customer has a complaint with the service they have been given, listening and empathising with their situation is half the battle, once they have vented and you have listened they’ll feel much better and then you can deal with their problem.


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Be Time Conscious

 

Be conscious of your customers’ time, as no matter how good your service is, keeping them waiting an inordinate amount of time is bad service. To make sure your customers’ time isn’t wasted, tell them an estimated time for when the job will be finished, and then try your best to meet the deadline. Customers will always feel aggrieved if they have had to wait longer than you originally told them, without good reason.


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Look at Every Step in Your Service

 

Any weak point in your customer service will be picked up on by the customer, instantly. Look at every step and see if there’s any part that is not performing at its full potential. You need to create a consistently good service so that people will return.


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Feedback

 

You need to receive feedback about your service otherwise you’ll never be able to better it. It requires a thick skin at times, but if there’s something wrong with your business you need to know about it. Offer feedback opportunities on your website, or give forms for people to fill in as they leave.

Also try following up after your service, if someone has bought a car from you recently, or had their car repaired by you, it’s really polite to send a follow up letter a month later letting them know that you hope that the vehicle is still running well and if they need to, they can contact you with any issues.


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Social Media

To offer customers the best service you need to create a social media page on Twitter and Facebook. This will allow them another way of contacting you and also give them the chance to endorse you to their friends.

You can also use the format to advertise offers and discounts. If you offer a one day extravagant price reduction once a month you’ll not only get some free advertisement as it is shared around the web, but you’ll also gain some loyal customers hungry for offers.


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Hire the Right Staff

The key to making your customer service the best is by hiring polite, friendly and dedicated staff. Hiring people that will interact with your customers in a polite and knowledgeable way will increase customer satisfaction tenfold.


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Continuously Improve Customer Service

You may feel like you have the perfect staff and service possible, but to maintain those high levels of service you need to continuously improve them. Learn from your mistakes, talk and listen to your staff about service and interaction on a daily basis.

Think Insurance are experts in providing Motor Trade Insurance and Part-Time Motor Trade Insurance. If you are in need of a new policy, then please get in touch with Think today.

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Driving Licences Become Paperless – Could Play Havoc When Hiring a Car This Summer

As the DVLA ends the paper counterpart licence, fears arise around hiring a car this summer.

The DVLA is scrapping the paper counterpart licence which accompanies the photo card licence, and are warning holidaymakers to obtain a special online code before going away and renting a vehicle. It is thought that this might cause some disruption to hire services.

Paper licences currently hold the information of endorsements and bans that drivers receive, but when the new service is rolled out, they will no longer be required. The new service called, Share Driving Licence, will hold every driver’s endorsements and bans, it will be visible to rental companies after the Driver gives them the passcode, along with their licence.

From June 8th, drivers will need to log on to the DVLA website and input their driving licence and national insurance number. They will then receive a one time only passcode that allows them to hire a car. Users then have 72 hours to hand over the code, after that they will have to request another one.

A spokesperson for Hertz told the Guardian: “We will ask customers for the DVLA one-time pass code, or for the PDF of the driver record, or we will use the DVLA premium-rate line – but this has restricted hours of operation.”

Worried People are Unaware of the Changes

If a driver is unable to produce an online code, the car hire firm will have to call the DVLA’s premium rate line, which charges up to £3 a minute, to check their driving history. Restriction on the phone line’s opening hours and the cost of the call, may cause massive delays for holidaymakers wanting to rent a vehicle.

Many critics of the change over are worried that people and car hire companies are unaware of the rule change, though the DVLA insists that the changes have been widely publicised, and they are working closely with car hire companies to ensure “minimal disruption”.

Travel and car industry experts suggest that drivers wanting to hire a vehicle abroad in the first few months of transition should take a pdf copy of their driving history and at the very least take their national insurance number with them.

For information on Car Insurance or Travel Insurance, please get in touch with Think Insurance’s expert team today.

 

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Switch to Digital Tax Discs Causes Thousands of Motorists Cars to be Clamped

The new digital method of taxing vehicles has caught many used car buyers unawares causing their newly purchased vehicles to be clamped.

The old method of paper tax documents that sat in the window of your car has now ceased and switched to a digital document. Now when a vehicle is sold to a new owner the paper document is automatically cancelled.

The new car owners must buy a new digital document even if the paper discs expiry date is several months away from expiry,  and those that are ignorant to this information risk getting their new car clamped.

Thousands of people have experienced the clamping fate since the new system was introduced in 2014 and have been charged over £800 to have their car returned. The fines cannot be appealed, meaning drivers have no option but to raise the money and pay to get their car back.

Understandably, many of the drivers who were oblivious to the rules feel unfairly treated. Some people are calling the operation a scam for the DVLA to make money and believe they should have at least been warned that their vehicle was not taxed.

DVLA to Receive Millions of Pounds More

The DVLA will receive millions of pounds more each year because of the double road tax payments from the vehicle’s buyers and sellers.

Before the changes, clamping figures were about 5,000 vehicles a month, but the numbers in March this year were upwards of 8,500, which shows a 60% rise in clamping.

DVLA officials told The Guardian newspaper that they had sent out letters to recent car buyers telling them of their untaxed cars, but for many their letters were too late and some drivers received the letters after their cars had been clamped.

Paul Watters of the AA said that there hasn’t been enough done to notify people of the changes,

“There are a lot of people who are not aware of this – some may think they are covered because they see there is a tax disc on the windscreen,

“Clamping is quite heavy-handed and Draconian. Before they clamp they should try to get in touch with these people if they can.”

DVLA Response

A spokesperson from the DVLA responded to the criticism, “The changes have been widely publicised and we write to every vehicle keeper to remind them of the new rules before the vehicle tax expires.

“We also write to every new vehicle keeper when they buy a used vehicle to inform them that they must tax the vehicle before they use it.

“In addition, if a driver does not tax their car we will send a warning letter to remind them to tax as they are at risk of enforcement action.”

For information on Car Insurance please get in touch with Think Insurance.

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The Commercial Vehicle Show Review 2015

From April 14th-16th the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre played host to The Commercial Vehicle Show 2015.

Commercial vehicle show 2015

The largest and most comprehensive road-freight transport event in the UK, The Commercial Vehicle Show, parked itself in Birmingham’s NEC this April. Visitors from all over the country travelled to either be a part of the show or explore what exciting things are happening in the industry.

With nearly 200 businesses exhibiting, the show’s participants this year ranged from all the big hitters such as Mercedes Benz, Peugeot and Bridgestone, and new businesses like the exciting wearable & portable technology startup, Nemesis.

25.3% Growth in 2015

This years show came after a very strong commercial sales performance in March, Britain saw a 25.3% growth in commercial vehicles, which put the 18,000 strong attendance at the event in good spirits. The amazing growth in sales this year was reflected in the exhibitions as there were more tankers and trailers on display than there have been since the recession in 2008.

Larger vehicles and trucks seemed to be a large focus of this year’s show, which reflected the current market, as 2.5 and 3.5 tonne vans, and 3-axle trucks have seen sharp increases in registrations this year. It appears that fleet owners are trying to make their businesses more efficient and flexible.

Technology

The technology on show this year is staggering, TomTom, Blue Tree Systems and Telematics were showing off some outstanding new products. One of the most exciting bits of tech and engineering on show was the Stertil Koni Diamond Lift, an eco friendly commercial vehicle lift that raises two or three very minimalistic columns from inside the ground. The product can make a school bus look like it’s floating in mid air, obviously it’s not meant for magic tricks, but HGV mechanics will certainly find it a small miracle if installed in their garage.

The Commercial Vehicle Show is one of the best places to meet other fleet managers and businesses, and 2015 also saw the launch of the CV show’s Youtube channel, bringing fleet owners and businesses together all year round. Can’t wait until next year!

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The Autonomous Future of Commercial Fleets

What effect will autonomous driving have on commercial vehicles? Think Insurance finds out.

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As the UK Government plans to invest £100 million in driverless technology this year, Think Insurance wanted to consider what might happen to the commercial side of transport, taking in the current technology and the proposed ideas for the future, and also exploring the future of the commercial driver.

Though cars are not yet driving themselves, we have already seen certain driverless technology incorporated into commercial vehicles. Take the new Volvo Trucks, they can now be fitted with a cruise control that monitors the space between the truck and the vehicle in front, better still the car is fitted with a collision warning that will light on the windscreen and an emergency brake, which automatically assists drivers if they are likely to crash. You can watch the technology for yourself in this, honestly, terrifying video.

Other sensory technologies currently available can alert drivers if cyclists are nearby, it is thought this technology will save hundreds if not thousands of lives every year. Audible or visual alerts can be sent to the driver if a cyclist is close, allowing the driver to take extra caution.

The biggest step in autonomous commercial has come with the launch of the Daimler Future Truck. The massively comfortable looking lorry allows the driver to take their eyes of the road and relax, but if necessary the driver can swing round in their chair and take the wheel again. Launched in 2014 at the International Commercial Vehicle Show in Hannover, the vehicle not only has sensors that stop it from causing collisions, it is also linked up to a central traffic control system, which feeds it information, this lets the vehicle know if emergency vehicles are nearby and will move accordingly to avoid them and let them pass.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Autonomous Fleets

The benefits of autonomous driving are multiple, they’ll be better for the environment by reducing emissions, they’ll be safer for pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers, and they’ll hopefully ease congestion on roads. There seems to be only one negative. With advances getting more and more impressive, it is possible that future employment in commercial driving could one day dry up, after all, staffing is one of the biggest costs for fleet owners. There genuinely could be a day where there is no need for drivers, and the vehicles could do the work, but until then the only autonomous cars being built still require a licensed driver to be in control of the vehicle.

At the moment the idea of autonomous controlled vehicles is being welcomed by the majority of fleet drivers, most of them suggesting it would remove stress from their working day. In a survey taken by Venson, a specialist in automotive solutions, 62% said they would welcome the technology. Though only 55% believed the vehicles could actually reduce road accidents.

Autonomous vehicles are now being tested in four UK cities, it is hoped that we’ll see the first autonomous cars available to the British public in less than a decade. Until then, fleet drivers will have to keep there eyes on the road!

If you are looking for a good deal on your fleet insurance please visit our Fleet Insurance page now.

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