Yesterday we gave you part one of our interview with Tim Dibbs of Crown Honda on his company’s commitment to achieving excellence in customer service.

GT: What is the one thing that drives you Tim in terms of customer service?

TD: Consistency, consistency and consistency.  Not only does the experience have to be consistent no matter what day or indeed time of day it also has to be getting consistently better at all times to keep me happy.

GT: I agree totally and one of our clients recently went so far as to say that they would rather be consistently above average than sporadically excellent and poor in equal measure.  One factor that contributes hugely in my opinion to a consistent level of service is a low staff turnover.  In my experience of dealing with Crown over a couple of years I see the same faces as I did when I walked in for the first time back in early 2007.  Is this a conscious thing?

TD: Our staff are extremely important to our ability to drive customer satisfaction.  We have a below industry average rate of staff turnover and I am pleased to say that the vast majority of our staff are long termers.  This helps to ensure consistency of both approach and also the actual physical person you are used to dealing with.

GT: How involved does your staff get in the drive for customer satisfaction?

TD: Very involved.  We reward customer satisfaction at all levels from reception through to the Director level.  Many of our best innovations have actually come from the staff at the coal face as it were.  I mentioned consistency as a driving factor but I think running it a close second is innovation.

GT: Can you give me some examples of customer service innovations within Crown?

TD: Two fairly recent examples spring to mind.  The first was suggested by one of my staff and this was during the Christmas period when we offered a shuttle service in and out of the local shopping centre in Watford (about 3 miles away) for people to go and do their Christmas shopping whilst work was completed on their car.  This proved very popular and had a minimal set up cost to us but huge esoteric rewards longer term.

The second example was during the recent bad weather and snow we offered a driver and one of our 4x4s to help our customers make vital journeys.  One such journey saw us driving a pregnant customer to a vital appointment amongst other examples.  Once again this was suggested by one of my staff and proved very popular.  I always reward staff for innovation as it is so important to how we handle our customers.

GT: A subject very close to my heart is that of training, as you would expect. What sort of training do you and Honda provide for your staff.

TD: Honda has very robust customer service training practices in place and all of our staff are developed in this way.  We also then dovetail our own independent training into this to give a rounded perspective.
The results of mystery shopping can be a very useful training aide as I am sure you are aware.

GT: So what is next for Crown?

TD: We are very pleased to have opened our new dealership in Colindale recently and we are going to continue to ensure that we have the right people on board to deliver outstanding customer satisfaction and hopefully win a whole new stack of awards.

GT: When you say getting the right people on board, can you elaborate?

TD: It is all about attitude as you know.  If I could recruit one thing only it would be attitude, skills can be trained but attitude is a much more difficult thing to change.

GT: Too true.  Thank you Tim for taking the time to meet with me today it has been very enlightening.

TD: It was my pleasure and I will see what I can do to get you involved in the next customer clinic!