CAR Dealer reported on how Fiat MD Andrew Humberstone pledged to visit every one of the brand’s UK dealerships a while back.
Well, we can now report that he’s well on target! He’s currently visited 80 per cent of the 147-strong sales force.
And has reaffirmed his commitment to visit them all.
It’s all part of a crusade of his, reports a Fiat spokesman. ‘You can’t change things overnight, but the investment is going in to make a difference.’
So, what sort of things is Humberstone noticing and advising on? ‘Simple things – we know dealers are under huge financial pressures, but there are still areas they can work on that needn’t cost them anything.’
Good customer service doesn’t cost, he says. Neither does tidying the dealership up and presenting a professional face. These are the areas Humberstone likes to see done well.
He sometimes turns up unannounced, sometimes calls beforehand: one time, he fitted in a dealership when he was on holiday – turning up wearing a baseball cap, kids in tow. But what does he do when he’s there? ‘He has a look around, sits down with the management, has a cup of tea and a chat.’ Simple.
The visits are not there to catch dealers out – rather, for them to work with the brand on improving things. Know what they’re saying is being taken on board. Humberstone is all ears for any advice and observations they can offer.
‘He’s also a great motivator. You can compare him with a top football manager in this regard!’ The positive effect he leaves has apparently made its mark on many dealers.
Particularly as it seems to be paying off. Fiat’s well on the way towards exceeding 18,000 sales this year in the UK, despite the state of the market. Just goes to show what a handshake and a cup of tea can achieve…