Being great is non-negotiable at Algoa Nissan

The upskilling of staff members, professionally and personally, lies at the heart of creating a workforce that can deliver a first-rate experience for customers, who are at the centre of every business.

22 Algoa Nissan Humansdorp1

Although many dealerships have tried to achieve this with various degrees of success, at Algoa Nissan Humansdorp in the Eastern Cape, the award list for the last decade is testimony to the successful implementation of this work ethic.

“Customer satisfaction is not negotiable for us. We are trained and we work towards delivering a unique and above benchmark level of service that has always satisfied customers at its core,” says Pierre du Plessis, Dealer Principal and one of the directors at Algoa Nissan.

Pierre and his wife, Simóne du Plessis.

To prove the point, Algoa Nissan added the coveted Nissan Dealer of the Year award in the category for small Nissan dealerships to their long and distinguished awards list, which includes winning the top award as overall Nissan Dealer of the Year twice and Dealer of the Year in the category for small dealerships five times since 2015. However, weaved like a golden thread through all the awards since 2015, is winning the Customer Satisfaction awards for sales and service, which tells the story of Algoa Nissan’s success.

“It is easy to say you train your team, but we firmly believe in showing team members what to do and then giving them the tools to do it. We believe that each team member must be fully equipped to handle all that might successfully come his/her way. We all take responsibility in handling and solving problems together because we have the knowledge, the experience and means to do so,” Pierre tells Dealerfloor.

The latest trophy Algoa Nissan scooped up and all their other achievements.

“One of the reasons for our success is crucially linked to this principle. Customers are always happy when they leave because of the professional way they are treated at Algoa Nissan.”

Pierre says their customer base covers a broad spectrum with a large agricultural sector in the region. The important citrus and dairy producers and the spin-off industries related to these sectors form a big part of their customer base. Also important is the tourism sector and people relocating from up-country to this region, working remotely.

Their main area of responsibility for Algoa Nissan includes Humansdorp and surrounding towns. The area stretches northward to Patensie and Thornhill and to Cape St Francis in the south. In an easternly direction is stretches towards Gqeberha up to Jeffreys Bay and westward in the direction of the Tsitsikamma up to Kareedouw, Joubertina and close to Plettenberg Bay.

The winning team at Algoa Nissan in Humansdorp: Armand Diedericks (Master Technician), Patrick Skinner (Technician), Willie Steyn (Parts Sales Executive), Chantelle Skinner (Service Advisor), Janine van Mollendorf (Service Manager), Saarkie Venter (New and Used Sales Executive), Ané Labuschagne (Junior Sales Executive), Reinard Lombard (F&I), Simóne du Plessis (After-sales Manager) and Pierre edu Plessis (Dealer Principal).

This geographical area, like many in South Africa, comes with its challenges. “The ongoing drought and water shortages, coupled with constant load-shedding, forced us to provide for ourselves. We invested in infrastructure that allows us to produce our own solar power and run our facility completely independent of the municipal electricity supply and collect and use rainwater for cleaning our facility and customers’ vehicles,” Pierre tells us.

Algoa Nissan is a family business started 30 years ago by Christo Bakkes, a well-known personality in the motor trade in the region. Pierre joined the dealership in 2012 with Christo, his father-in-law, retiring in 2015. Pierre’s wife, Simóne du Plessis is the After-Sales Manager and is also one of the directors of the business. Together Pierre and Simóne have been continuing their family legacy in growing Algoa Nissan into a nationally acclaimed Nissan dealership.

Pierre’s career into the retail motor industry followed an interesting and unusual path by swopping the academic world for the motor industry.

“I obtained a Bachelor of Arts at Stellenbosch University, majoring in Psychology and Sociology, and I went on to do a postgraduate course in Sociology at Stellenbosch University. When Christo introduced me to the motor industry, I had to ‘get with the programme so to speak’.

“I completed numerous sales courses, courses in finance and insurance, and in 2019 I completed the Sewells MSXI Advanced Dealer Management diploma with distinction, receiving top honours in my class.”

Do his studies play any role whatsoever in his approach to business? “Yes, I definitely think so. It helps to shape your approach to people and to communicate in a professional manner with different kinds of people from all walks of life in different circumstances and on different platforms.

“Exposure to research and writing during my postgraduate studies prepared me to deal with the multi-faceted world that is the motor industry, and my training with Sewells allowed me to visualise the practicalities of business by understanding the drivers that make the numbers work,” Pierre says.

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