Improving customer service with our used car warranty scheme.

Beacon Hill Used Car Centre is a large independent dealership based in Wickham Bishops, Essex, offering in excess of eighty quality vehicles at any one time. They provide the full Safe and Sound programme with all models under 10 years / 100,000 miles or a three month WMS Group car warranty on vehicles outside these parameters.

The dealership operates seven days a week and is run by dedicated local people who offer exceptional car sales and repair services to customers nationwide. Since joining the Safe and Sound network they have been able to extend a buying experience normally associated with franchised dealers, which has allowed them to attract both new customers and repeat business.

What were your objectives?

To enjoy a great reputation and enhance the relationship with our customers – it is a prerequisite that stems back to my previous career in selling properties. I wanted to ensure that all of our customers received the same high level of service at every stage, regardless of where they live. If someone buys a previously owned vehicle from us, we very much appreciate that it is new to them. Customers rightly expect and deserve real value for money and professionalism, which we always aim to deliver. We will only offer products that we believe in and would be happy to buy ourselves.

Why did you choose the WMS Group?

We had previously worked with two other providers, both of which were household names. However whilst their brands made for a good selling tool, the aftersales support was unsatisfactory and they failed our customers on many occasions. After experiencing such terrible service, we came to the conclusion that we would be better off not using a car warranty company at all than a poor one.

Having known your account manager for a number of years, we later decided to adopt Safe and Sound as the coverage was far greater than we had before, and felt confident that it would deliver. The 24 hour helpline was also going to be a major benefit to customers. It ticks all of the boxes for both us and our buyers alike, and your company often takes over our customer care obligations if assistance is needed outside the area.

What was your strategy?

Every eligible vehicle comes with the standard six month warranty and recovery package, and buyers are offered the option to upgrade to 18 or 24 months. Customer expectations are rightly very high and we find that peace of mind and confidence in both the dealer and vehicle is increasingly taking precedence over a discounted screen price. Safe and Sound is also promoted on our website and other advertising plus our Auto Trader feed, and the combination has generated many new customers nationwide. The quality of your operation has provided extensive mutual benefits to us and our customers.

What improvements could the WMS Group make?

I’d like to see the Safe and Sound network grow further and become a household name across the country. The scheme is such a fantastic all-rounder offering far more than just a warranty, and other dealers should consider it. We’ve only had a couple of minor issues in two years which were quickly dealt with, and are yet to receive any complaints from our customers. The claims payout is fuss-free and exceptionally fast too.

What are your objectives for 2015?

beacon_hill_headshotTo continue to grow and generate further new and repeat business nationwide. We also intend to increase our finance penetration by introducing a wider range of options.

Any advice for other dealers when choosing a warranty provider?

Don’t choose just a warranty provider – choose a partner who will bring more to the table and handle your customers the right way when you are unable to. We have always received exceptional marketing support, training and general service levels from your company.

Paul Gaines is the Dealer Principal of Beacon Hill Used Car Centre, responsible for overseeing the entire operation of the dealership. Find out more at www.beaconhillusedcarcentre.co.uk.

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