Hi Jono and congratulations on your promotion. What does that mean for you?
The promotion means a lot to me. It also means my team has tripled from three, to nine members of staff, which is a good thing as far as I’m concerned. I love working with people, and I have great support from Chris Allsopp and Peter Hitchman, which allows me to focus on the big picture and grow the whole department.
So, what made you continue your career path with Ridgeway?
It’s simply a great company to do business with. They have a great ethos here at Ridgeway, a huge focus on customer satisfaction and I think I can help the team deliver that.
What are your ambitions at Ridgeway?
Our big target is to be seen as one of the top 50 retailers in the country. And to do this we need to continue our focus on customer satisfaction, which we’ve really been concentrating on. If we continue to follow the correct processes to help the customer through their journey then that can only be a good thing.
And do you have any personal ambitions?
I’m really excited to make a success of this brand new dealership here at South Oxford. It’s only a year old and it’s been an exciting challenge to draw people to the site, and ensure that they receive the best experience possible when they walk through that door.
Hi Richard. Can you please explain your career history to date?
I’ve been in the industry for over 30 years and spent eight years working as a sales manager for Jaguar Land Rover. And, prior to joining Ridgeway, I was with Honda as dealer principal. I started out with Ford and also spent three years working for Maranello. The majority of my time has been spent working with prestige brands, so I came to Volkswagen because they’re a prestige brand that’s moving places.
And why did Ridgeway appeal?
There is an awful lot of good news in the press focusing on the Ridgeway Group, particularly winning the Employer of the Year prize at the Motor Trader awards, which was a big draw. I also know a few people who have worked for Ridgeway and I’ve only heard good things.
What can you bring to the role?
I can bring plenty of experience working in the prestige world and delivering high levels of customer satisfaction, which is very important to my approach. It’s also a huge focus for Volkswagen, so hopefully my bank of experience will help the team provide this.
And, what’s your favourite model from the Volkswagen range?
I like the Volkswagen Tiguan. I think it’s a great car, and one that’s much undervalued. It has powerful and refined engines, offers a comfortable ride, and has a classy interior.
Hi Colin, I understand you moved to Volkswagen from Audi. What prompted the switch?
I moved to join the Ridgeway Group. I’d known [Chairman] David Newman for a number of years, and for me they strike the right balance in terms of being customer centric, and that was what really appealed to me, joining a customer focused company. I started very early in September, and I’m loving it.
So, what does the future hold?
I think it’s very positive. There is an exceptionally good team at Newbury, with a lot of experience and ambition, and everyone is committed to the cause. My role is to engage the team and enable them to progress by coaching and developing their skills. Our goal is to be within the top quartile in every measure that the brand put in place.
How are you hoping to impose your own customer service style on the retailer?
Through open and regular conversation and communication. I’m a manager who doesn’t like to be office bound, so I attend business meetings, sales meeting, and I’m always around aftersales. I like to lead by example, so good customer service is vital for me here at Newbury.
And, how do you think customers will benefit from this?
Newbury already has a fantastic loyal customer base, so what we need to do is make sure our new customers receive the same level of customer service. I want customers to be as happy coming in to buy a new car or get their car serviced as if they were dropping in for coffee, which of course I’d encourage all of our customers to do.
David Rivers - Brand Manager
Ridgeway Volkswagen Kidlington
|Hi David. Could you please explain how you came to join Ridgeway Volkswagen?|
I started here at the beginning of October. Prior to that I was with a different Volkswagen retailer, where I’d worked as Brand Manager for about five years. However, I wanted to get back into a family run business, and with Ridgeway being so local to where I live it was the perfect fit, so I jumped at the opportunity.
What does the future hold at the dealership?
It’s all about restoring not only consumer confidence in the brand, but also in the retailer network. For us it’s a case of focusing on maintaining and improving our customer relationship. We want to make it as easy as possible for our staff and our customers, and so we are continuing to operate with absolute integrity and honesty.
What do you think is the most important aspect of customer service?
I’m a big believer in driving staff satisfaction and creating a truly customer centric culture within the business. I also believe in treating every customer as I would want to be treated, which is very much the mind-set of the staff at Ridgeway Volkswagen have in how we look after our customers.
And, how are you hoping to impose that style on the retailer?
It’s very much about getting involved, rather than sitting in an office. It’s important to talk to customers about their experience, and gain feedback from them directly. I have regular staff updates, including a weekly meeting where I will give some feedback on what our customers are saying, and how we can improve.
James Feehan - Brand Manager
Ridgeway Volkswagen South Oxford
|Hi James. We understand you are new to the role?|
Yes, I started on 1 September. I’m not new to the Ridgeway Volkswagen group however, having previously been Divisional Used Car Manager for two years, before I was asked to become Brand Manager. It’s a big challenge but I’m enjoying it.
What does the future hold for Ridgeway Volkswagen South Oxford?
There is a big opportunity here at South Oxford. Obviously it’s a relatively new dealership having only existed for about 12 months, but there are the best part of 10,000 new houses being built in the area. We want to make sure that all the existing local people and those who will be moving to the area make us their number one place to buy a Volkswagen.
Do you have a strategy for attracting new customers to Ridgeway Volkswagen?
We’ve already done some good work in the local area, for example with Oxford Food Bank, as we provided a really favourable deal to them on a new van. We are hoping to get involved with various other local businesses, and we’re also looking at sponsoring some local football clubs, alongside numerous other campaigns.
How important do you think good customer service is?
It’s vital. I want Ridgeway Volkswagen South Oxford to be a fun place to for our staff to work, and a fun and personal place for our customers too. Volkswagen hasn’t lost any of its appeal, as it still produces good looking, strong, safe, reliable vehicles, so our aim in the next six months is to go that extra mile for every single person that comes through the door.