VERTU Honda Newcastle is working to make its dealership and services autism-friendly.
The dealership has supported the North East Autism Society with a number of fundraising events and now the organisation has been training staff on making visits to the showroom easier for those living with autism, after the team saw a rise in visits by people on the spectrum.
The sessions were tailored to the dealership’s environment and started with how to understand the disability and the differences in communication. The training then covered the emotional and social well-being of customers and how to make visitors as comfortable as possible.
Kerrie Highcock, family development manager at the society, said: ‘We are delighted to be working in partnership with Honda to be able to create a better customer journey for autistic individuals and their families. The aim is to roll this out to all Vertu Honda garages in the north-east.
‘All the staff who attended our training session left feeling they had learnt something and with ideas of how to make small changes in the sales process and at the showroom to make customer experiences better.’
Chad Ridley, general manager of Vertu Honda Newcastle, said: ‘It’s important to know how to fulfil the needs of every single customer who visits our dealerships. The training delivered by the North East Autism Society was invaluable to our colleagues.
‘It has taught everyone to be aware of their actions and has reminded everyone to be patient and sensitive at all times. I think that rolling the training programme out across all of our Honda dealerships is a fantastic idea – I know our team has certainly benefited greatly from it.’
Pictured at top are Kerrie Highcock and Chad Ridley