Benjamin recently joined BARE as an Automotive Evaluator. He has a true dedication to learn and share everything he knows about the automotive industry, partly inspired by a father who works for an iconic car brand. We couldn’t resist catching up with him for an interview to learn more.
Hi Benjamin, tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Benjamin Brodbeck, I’m 24 years old and I have a degree in the field of automotive industry. Music has a great significance in my life – especially Jazz music. I play the piano and perform with the Jazz trio BBQJazz from Stuttgart. I enjoy leaving my well-structured day behind me and finish it with improvised and self-written songs.
Besides my studies and music, I express my passion for cars by writing as a freelancer and in photography. Right now I am committed to building the online-magazine AUTOmativ.de.
For the past 40 years my father has worked at Porsche. During my childhood he led the department which created exclusive equipment and design options and limited edition cars. I was raised in an environment of well-designed sports cars and – thanks to my father – have always been in touch with different people who were working in very varied positions in the car industry.
How do you see the evolution of the Automotive industry?
At the university, questions like that filled up whole papers. But in short – I think we have a significant trend towards an immense diversity and individualization of cars. This trend will intensify together with the trend of delivering unique customer experiences at car dealerships and at different events to create a strong customer loyalty.
Customers subconsciously connect a car brand with the testimonies, statements and behaviour of the employees. If the advice and the service they get is not satisfying, this will have an impact on the image – even though it may has just been one person.
So the quality of service at dealerships impact the brand?
Every single car dealership has a great impact on the company’s image – they are the front line. First there are certain standards that a car dealership has to comply with; second, there are individual philosophies that should match with the company’s identity.
Car brands that do not ensure their car dealerships comply with their standards (in comparison to competitors) by inspecting them, preferably using a third party, are in danger of losing contact with the foundation of their company – the customers.
After getting my degree I spent a lot of time looking at customer satisfaction and the behaviour of car salespeople at car dealerships – but was never able to do such an evaluation myself. I was very curious about the questions and the focus of the first evaluation that BARE International sent me.
The evaluations went well and were very interesting: You always have your checklist in mind and compare the salesman’s behaviour and the characteristics of the dealership with your checklist and tick them off.
Was the experience as an Evaluator a benefit for you personally?
Besides getting to know very different cars on various test drives, you also have the possibility to identify different strategies of the salespeople and – at least partly – use them yourself later on. On top of all the required formalities, every salesperson has room for manoeuvre in which they have to persuade with affability and courtesy. Every good salesperson is an artist, who relies on their strategy and improves with every new customer that they serve. To observe this behaviour is fun and can help in your own everyday life.
What recommendation would you give to the car industry?
As I said, using the tool of mystery shopping and evaluation, companies can gain knowledge about problems. This can lead to relevant actions to ensure compliance with guidelines, detect weaknesses and reveal further potential improvements.
The results shape the foundation of benchmarking between competitors and thereby constitutes an important part of the requirements for a successful customer relations.
One thing is for sure: far too few customers complain when the service isn’t pleasing. Most of them just stop coming. Therefore it is even more important – and in the company’s own interest – to conduct mystery shopping.
Stay tuned for more to come from Benjamin Brodbeck, guest blogger for We Are Cars.
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