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01285 641800

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Love Lane, Cirencester, Gloucestershire,
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West Swindon Motor Park, Swindon, Wiltshire,
SN5 7SB
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Love Lane, Cirencester, Gloucestershire,
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West Swindon Motor Park, Swindon, Wiltshire,
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Swindon businessman takes the Wow Factor to South Africa

Customer service innovations born in Swindon have been exported to the other side of the world, after a town businessman was invited to give a presentation in South Africa.

Back in April Dominic Threlfall, the managing director of Swindon Hyundai and Suzuki motor dealership Pebley Beach, developed his Wow Factor presentation to explain how he created an award-winning customer service strategy that encourages customers to return and recommend his business to others.

His thirst for innovations that he can adopt has taken him all over the world, including to the American National Automobile Dealers’ Association expo in Las Vegas.

And following his keynote speech to the first ever Automotive Management magazine Customer Service Summit at Silverstone, Dom was invited to travel to South Africa, where he presented to a national conference of owners and dealer principals representing 300+ dealerships selling all marques. 

On November 9, he presented at the Fairlawns Boutique Hotel in Johannesburg at the invitation of tech firm Pinewood, with whom he has developed dealership management systems tools and processes.

“One of our innovations was to have customers’ details automatically displayed on the monitor when they call in,” said Dom. “It’s the kind of function you’d expect from a big call handler like a bank, but no-one’s really doing it for car showrooms and workshops.”

Dom has won praise for his creation of customer interfaces to enhance the customer experience at Pebley Beach. 

Everything from MoT and service reminders and simple online booking to being able to watch technicians work on your car via a smartphone are handled by the Hyundai 360 workshop automation platform. 

One of the most visual aspects of Hyundai 360 is the customer welcome programme, where appointments are linked to an external display panel. Number plate recognition software logs a customer’s arrival on site, welcomes them, and directs them to an assigned parking space.

“In South Africa they have an ambition to do all these clever things,” said Dom. “But like most UK dealers they are taking the ideas on board but going about it in a labour intensive way.  

“It might be just a 10 minute daily job, but by demonstrating a ‘work smart not hard’ policy I demonstrated I could save them 50 manpower hours over 12 months.  

“Bolt in a few more tech-savvy ideas you can literally save over a month of work across a business. This then frees up staff to invest more time in face-to-face dialogue with customers.”

But while his presentation was about embracing technology, it also came with a caveat.

“South Africa is in the middle of a digital explosion,” said Dom. “While we’ve had years to adjust to innovations afforded to us by the internet, while they’ve gone from a standing start to super-fast broadband.

“The temptation is to digitalise everything, but my message to them was ‘don’t forget customer relations – face-to-face contact is still very important and relationship building must be the top priority’.

“It’s all about using technology to improve the customer experience, not overwhelming people with it.”

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Financial Disclosure

Pebley Beach Limited is an Appointed Representative of Automotive Compliance Ltd, who is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA No 497010). Automotive Compliance Ltd’s permissions as a Principal Firm allows Pebley Beach Limited to act as a credit broker, not as a lender, for the introduction to a limited number of lenders.

We can introduce you to a selected panel of lenders, which includes manufacturer lenders linked directly to the franchises that we represent. An introduction to a lender does not amount to independent financial advice and we act as their agent for this introduction. Our approach is to introduce you first to the manufacturer lender linked directly to the particular franchise you are purchasing your vehicle from, who are usually able to offer the best available package for you, taking into account both interest rates and other contributions. If they are unable to make you an offer of finance, we then seek to introduce you to whichever of the other lenders on our panel is able to make the next best offer of finance for you. Our aim is to secure the best deal you are eligible for from our panel of lenders. Lenders may pay a fixed commission to us for introducing you to them, calculated by reference to the vehicle model or amount you borrow. Different lenders may pay different commissions for such introductions, and manufacturer lenders linked directly to the franchises that we represent may also provide preferential rates to us for the funding of our vehicle stock and also provide financial support for our training and marketing. But any such amounts they and other lenders pay us will not affect the amounts you pay under your finance agreement, all of which are set by the lender concerned. If you ask us what the amount of commission is, we will tell you in good time before the Finance agreement is executed. All finance applications are subject to status, terms and conditions apply, UK residents only, 18’s or over. Guarantees may be required.

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