People often use the term ‘Walking the extra mile’ when talking about customer care.
For Nico Grobler, Dealer Principal at TWK Isuzu/GWM-Haval in Standerton on the Mpumalanga Highveld, the term has a more literal meaning.
“We do business on farms. We drive the extras miles to farms to sell bakkies. Many farmers do not have the time to visit a dealership and walking around looking at stock. They know what they need. We drive to them and conclude many a deal on a farm rather than in a showroom.
“Our approach does not only apply to farmers, but to anyone who would need for us to rather come to them, including customers experiencing a problem with their vehicles. To survive, you need to be pro-active, take the initiative and give customers what they need right there and then,” Nico tells Dealerfloor.
“It is just as important to make sure anyone entering our dealership is smiling when they leave. You can only achieve this through first class service, listening to clients, their needs and then walking that extra mile we talked about, in any way possible to assist the client.”
Nico, who was appointed DP shortly after lockdown last year, says it is early days yet, but business is good despite all the problems in the motor industry today. The most serious of these is of course the stock shortages. The addition of the Haval brand to their existing GWM franchise and the good reputation of the well-established Isuzu dealership proved to be a winning recipe, according to Nico.
“The dealership was taken over by the TWK Group last year in August, and it is exciting times for the three brands we represent in our region.
“On the Isuzu side, the brand is still a strong choice within the agricultural sector. Except for the stock shortages, which create a bit of chaos all over the show, some customers prefer to wait for the brand-new Isuzu bakkie, but that will only be here in the first quarter of 2022. In the meantime, the current range is more than capable to soldier on and meet the demands of the market.
“The popularity of the Chinese GWM and Haval brands is growing rapidly with exciting and high-quality vehicles being launched at a steady pace locally. The GWM P-series bakkie surprised many people, and I think the demand is bigger than anticipated. On the Haval side, look at the new Jolion Crossover/SUV to see how good and competitive the brand is. Both brands will add new models in the foreseeable future,” says Nico.
Nico says although it is commonplace these days for dealerships to sell vehicles all over South Africa thanks to the Internet and social media marketing, he is strong believer in ‘buying local’.
“Where possible, we must support local businesses because somewhere along the line you will reap the fruits of this approach, whether it be more activity in your workshop or on your showroom floor as someone you supported becomes successful and a customer of our business.”
True empowerment must be visible and sustainable. The transfer of expertise and knowledge is crucial to make it a success, and last but not the least, all parties must invest in the venture.
Namaqualand is an unforgiving region, and during the current prolonged drought, farmers can suffer. It can also be a paradise in the flower season bringing much needed tourists to this remote part of the country.
Kia South Africa rewarded its top-performing dealerships across the country with numerous prizes for outstanding achievements in sales, after sales and service operations.