FordRetail News & Events
FORD RETAIL BECOMES FIRST MOTOR RETAILER TO WIN NATIONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE AWARD
Ford Retail has become the first UK Motor Retailer to win an award at the National Customer Service Awards, the ‘Oscars’ of the customer service industry held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.
The company won the award in recognition of its industry leading staff development programme called ‘Moments of Truth’ and joins the ranks of companies such as American Express, insurance company LV= and British Gas which also won awards this year. Seven other companies were shortlisted against Ford Retail including O2, Lloyds TSB and Thames Water.
Commenting on the award, the judges commended Ford Retail by saying: “This was a very high standard category but Ford Retail won through because, in the opinion of the judges, the sheer scope of the training project, the delivery and the results were truly outstanding in a sector not previously known for outstanding service”.
Moments of Truth is a long term initiative which the company launched last year and will see all of Ford Retail’s 3,200 staff across its 74 UK locations from the Board room down, gain a nationally recognised qualification in customer service – a first in the auto industry on this scale.
Central to Moments of Truth is the focus on creating a genuine and emotional relationship with every customer at every opportunity rather than being process driven. As such all staff are involved, not just customer facing people, as for example an incorrect invoice or badly valeted car impacts on the customer experience.
Chairman and chief executive of Ford Retail, Chris Hayden, who collected the award along with Customer Relations Director John Leathem, said: “We’re thrilled to receive the award and be recognised to be amongst the best in the customer service industry. Moments of Truth is really helping to differentiate us and create sustainable customer loyalty by focusing on what creates a great customer experience and a strong emotional connection with our customers.”
Chris Hayden added: “What I am most proud of is the fact that we have a very clear vision of what we wanted to achieve and that we have developed and delivered this programme from concept to completion ourselves.”
Ford Retail has also become the first auto retail group in the UK to gain the coveted Institute of Customer Service (ICS) ‘Training Mark’. It joins the ranks of other major household names such as Virgin Media and Santander who have also had their customer service training accredited by the Institute. Earlier this year, the group also won the Motor Trader Industry Awards for best customer care.
Moments of Truth involves each employee attending a launch event and on-site workshops with everyone working towards an NVQ qualification or an equivalent diploma in customer service. Each member of staff works through a workbook and is externally assessed in order to qualify. The programme incorporates internal communications, coaching and mentoring by Moments of Truth champions as well as a reward and recognition scheme.
DEALERSHIP’S WEBSITES RE-LAUNCHED
Ford Retail has recently undertaken a major facelift to their dealership websites – brunelford.co.uk, dagenhammotors.co.uk, heartlands-ford.co.uk and polarford.co.uk.
The new websites provide significant improvements to their design, navigation, usability and functionality, recognising the demand by consumers for more information and interactivity. An important feature of the new websites is making them more personable with photos and names of the dealership management team at each location, inviting visitors to make direct contact with them.
There are nearly 2,000 vehicles listed on the website from cars to vans with each listing featuring large pictures and in-depth vehicle specifications. Customers can also search for vehicles by distance, colour, age, price or mileage. Furthermore, the site features a ‘value-my-car’ service so that customers can get a price for their part exchange or the option to be contacted by a sales representative.
Ford Retail has also launched a home delivery service on the new website for parts and accessories. Customers can now choose from a wide range of accessories from footwell mats to bike racks and alloy wheels. The site has online payment functions so that customers can buy online with confidence then either collect them from their local Dagenham Motors dealership or have orders delivered to their home.
Other facilities available online include the ability to book a service or MOT, calculate individual finance offers and a first of its kind virtual showroom tour for each Dagenham Motors dealership, designed to help disabled customers find their way from the website to the showroom with ease.
The internet has changed the way many people buy a car with research suggesting that at least 90% of car buyers explore their potential purchase online before even stepping foot into a showroom.
Steve Hood, Managing Director of Ford Retail’s Internet Division said: “The Internet is a vitally important channel to market and it’s essential that we provide a world-class experience online as we aim to provide offline, in our dealerships.”
Complementing the dealership websites, Ford Retail also operates FordOnline, a national website where customers can purchase new and used vehicles off the web page.
FORD RETAIL WINS NATIONAL CUSTOMER CARE AWARD
Ford Retail has been recognised for its outstanding customer care at the prestigious annual Motor Trader Awards held recently in London.
Ford Retail won the Best Customer Care Award and was commended for its efforts in promoting customer care and praised for putting customer service at the core of its business operation. The Motor Trader Awards recognised the company as having exceptional customer loyalty leading to repeat business.
John Leathem, Customer Relations Director at Ford Retail, said: “To be recognised nationally at this level for our customer service is fantastic news and a great achievement for every one of our staff who all pull together with the aim of providing customers with the best service possible.”
Ford Retail has put in place a £1.2 million customer service initiative which it calls ‘Moments of Truth’. The scheme aims to train every member of the company’s 3,000 staff, whether they are customer-facing or not, to provide the best customer service in the industry.
Now in its 20th year, the Motor Trader industry awards celebrate the achievements of companies in the automotive sector. Judges commended this year’s entries who, despite the economic downturn, have guided their businesses with innovative thinking and industry leading customer service.
Curtis Hutchinson of the Motor Trader Awards said: “The Awards judging panel felt Ford Retail’s customer service initiative went further than a bolt-on, one-size-fits-all scheme. It was created by individuals who understood the business which it was designed to serve, and the people who would have to put it into practice.”
FORD RETAIL BEST FOR DISABLED DRIVERS FIFTH YEAR RUNNING
Motability Operations, the company that manages the national Motability car scheme for disabled motorists, has awarded Ford Retail its highest accolade of ‘Dealer Group of the Year’ for the fifth year running.
Ford Retail is Europe’s largest Ford dealer group owning 47 dealerships across the UK under brands Dagenham Motors, Polar Ford, Heartlands Ford, and Brunel Ford.
The prestigious award recognises Ford Retail as the best dealership group for consistency of customer service and expert advice from trained staff for disabled customers.
At the awards Mike Betts, chief executive of Motability, said: “Winning the award as the best Dealer Group at the Motability Operations Supplier Awards for the fifth consecutive year is a phenomenal achievement. We consistently find Ford Retail a joy to work with, and a great collaborator in delivering changes and enhancements to Motability customer service.”
On collecting the award, Malcolm Tutton, Ford Retail’s Motability Manager, said: “Motability is extremely important to Ford Retail and we are very proud to have won ‘Dealer Group of the Year’ for the fifth year running. Winning the award is clear evidence that the commitment and excellence of each of our Motability specialists has been recognised”.
In addition to winning Dealer Group of the Year, two individual Ford Retail dealerships from the Polar Ford and Dagenham Motors brands were ‘Highly Commended’ for their exceptional levels of service in the last 12 months.
Setting standards for excellence and sharing best practice, the Supplier Awards take place each year and recognise the manufacturers, dealer groups, individual car dealers and aftersales specialists, as well as key suppliers to the Car Scheme who all deliver service to the organisations’ half a million customers every day.
Motability buys over 5% of all new cars in the UK and over 3,000 makes and models are represented on the scheme. Cars are sold via 4,500 Motability accredited dealerships throughout the UK and Ireland, delivering hassle-free affordable motoring to over 550,000 disabled people.
The Motability scheme offers new and specially adapted cars complete with tax, insurance, servicing, replacement tyres and RAC breakdown cover to disabled people and their families. Many adaptations such as hand controls, swivel seats and wheelchair or scooter hoists are available free of charge. Anyone who receives the Higher Rate Mobility Component of the Disability Living Allowance or the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement is eligible for a car on the scheme whether they are a driver or a passenger.
FORD RETAIL MAKES INDUSTRY FIRST IN CUSTOMER SERVICE
Ford Retail, the UK retail division of Ford Motor Company which trades under a number of brands including Dagenham Motors and Polar Ford, has become the first auto retail group in the UK to gain the coveted Institute of Customer Service (ICS) ‘Training Mark’. It joins the ranks of other major household names such as Virgin Media and Santander who have also had their customer service training accredited by the Institute.
Chief executive of the ICS, Jo Causon, presented the Ford Retail board with the Training Mark following an in-depth assessment of the Group’s ‘Moments of Truth’ customer service initiative – a £1.2 million training programme aimed at taking Ford Retail to the highest levels of customer service experience in the industry.
The Training Mark is issued to organisations that meet the ICS’s rigorous customer service standards, demonstrate individual competence across the organisation and have total management commitment to developing customer service on an on-going basis.
Speaking about the achievement, Jo Causon said: “Ford Retail is leading the UK motor trade with Moments of Truth and everyone who works for the company should be justifiably proud of their personal involvement in the programme. Delivering a world-class customer experience is key to the future success of any service-orientated business and Ford Retail is clearly committed to delivering this for its customers.”
Chairman and chief executive of Ford Retail, Chris Hayden, stated: “Through our Moments of Truth programme we are determined to set ourselves apart by delivering a world-class customer experience and lead the way in doing this. Providing a great customer experience is down to creating a strong ‘emotional connection’ with customers, as well as getting the ‘non-emotive’ basics right. It applies to everyone in the business including non-customer facing staff who play a vital role in the end-to-end process of delivering service excellence.” Everyone is considered a customer in Ford Retail including work colleagues, who are referred to as the ‘internal customer’.
Ford Retail’s Moments of Truth programme is a long term initiative which the company launched last year and will see Ford Retail’s 3,000 staff across its 74 UK locations gain a recognised qualification in customer service. As well as Dagenham Motors and Polar Ford, other trading names include Lindsay Ford, Heartlands Ford and Brunel Ford.
One of the Group’s dealerships, Polar Ford in Huddersfield, is considered to be the first car dealership in the UK where every member of its 60 staff have recently gained a formal customer service qualification following in-depth training and on-the-job development. Staff, including behind the scenes employees such as cleaners, administrators and technicians who play a vital role to the overall customer experience, either gained an NVQ Level 2 certificate or an ICS accredited diploma.
Over the next year, Ford Retail’s other dealerships and support sites will follow Polar Ford Huddersfield and it is expected that in early 2011 all 3,000 employees will have qualified. Leading by example are members of Ford Retail’s board and senior management team who have also undertaken the coursework and gained their qualifications.
Moments of Truth involves each employee attending a launch event and on-site workshops with everyone from Board member downwards working towards an NVQ qualification or an equivalent diploma in customer service – a first in the industry on this scale. Each member of staff works through a workbook and is assessed in order to qualify. The programme incorporates internal communications, coaching and mentoring by Moments of Truth champions as well as a reward and recognition scheme.
FORD RETAIL DELIVERS SUBSTANTIAL PROFIT INCREASE
Ford Retail Group, the UK retail division of Ford Motor Company, has reported record turnover and pre-tax profits of £1.15bn and £15.7m respectively, following a successful year which saw new car sales increase by 7.3% to 54,598 units.
Despite extremely challenging economic conditions, the Group increased its market share of new Ford cars in the UK by 1.9% to 15.2% and became the UK’s biggest supplier of Transits with a 13% share of the market.
Commenting on the results, chairman and chief executive Chris Hayden said: “Our results are very positive news for the business and is a result of our relentless focus on improving every aspect of our operation over recent years, specifically customer service which we are taking to new levels through our ‘Moments of Truth’ customer experience initiative. Of particular satisfaction is how we have managed to deliver more consistent positive results throughout the year on a month-by-month basis.”
Other key results include a dramatic growth in its UK parts division, @first parts solutions, which saw revenues increase by 9.1% to over £95m and significant sales and revenue generated by its growing Internet business launched by the company last year. Although used vehicle volumes were down on 2008 figures in line with the market in general, profit contribution increased due to stronger margins and good trade performance. Reduced costs across the Group were also a contributory factor towards the profit result.
Looking ahead to 2010, Chris Hayden commented: “We remain cautious for the year ahead with the UK economic recovery in a fragile state and post-election uncertainties that exist such as the cost of borrowing. However, the Group is in a strong competitive position, both financially and operationally, and is ready to fully exploit markets as conditions improve.”
A factor which Hayden believes is beginning to make a real difference to Ford Retail’s performance is the roll-out of their ‘Moments of Truth’ customer experience programme involving all 3,000 staff. Every employee from Board level down attends a launch event and on-site workshops, and works towards an NVQ or equivalent qualification in customer service – a first in the industry on this scale. Internal communications, coaching and mentoring are key elements of this long-term initiative, as well as a reward and recognition scheme.
Headline figures for year ending December 2009 (2008)
Turnover £1,151m (£1,058m)
Pre-tax profit £15.7m (-£0.85m)
Total units sold 88,053 (90,369)
New retail units 27,332 (26,352)
Wholesale units 3,041 (2,729)
New fleet car units 24,225 (21,780)
New CV units 5,688 (9,918)
Used retail units 27,767 (29,590)