A "relentless zeal" for customer service has earned Mercedes-Benz truck and van dealer Sparshatts of Kent the manufacturer’s most coveted award for members of its franchised network.
Sparshatts beat off the challenge of 20 other dealers nationwide to take the prestigious 2012 Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicle Dealer of the Year title.
Guest of honour Sean Fitzpatrick, legendary former captain of the New Zealand All Blacks Rugby Union team, presented the trophy at a ceremony held last week in Gaggenau, Germany, home of the famous Mercedes-Benz Unimog all-terrain truck.
Among those leading the applause as Sparshatts co-founder and Chairman David Jones stepped up to collect the award were colleagues Andrew Sparshatt, Paul Rooney and Helen Jones, each of whom made the final three in, respectively, the categories for Dealer Principal Best Practice Practitioner, Used Vehicle Sales Manager and Dealer Marketeer. Sparshatts was additionally nominated for the After Sales Dealer of the Year prize.
It was Sparshatts’ second Dealer of the Year success, the company having won the same title in 1986, two years after it was introduced. A delighted David Jones confirmed: "The fact that 25 years have passed since we last won Dealer of the Year makes this achievement all the sweeter."
With headquarters in Sittingbourne and other dealerships in Ashford, Dartford and Tunbridge Wells, Sparshatts of Kent sells and supports the award-winning range of Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles, as well as popular Fuso Canter light trucks.
Mercedes-Benz UK’s Truck Sales & Marketing Director Sam Whittaker declared: "Sparshatts’ achievement in winning our Commercial Vehicle Dealer of the Year award is a testament to its long-term commitment to the brand, and to the strong passion evident across all parts of the business for delivering the very finest customer experience. It is this relentless zeal for customer satisfaction which ensures the company is always looking at new and innovative ways to improve its service."
One of the longest-serving members of Mercedes-Benz UK’s dealer network, Sparshatts commenced trading with just nine employees in January 1975, shortly after the manufacturer itself opened for business in Britain. Today, 172 people work for a company which last year sold 729 new and used trucks and vans and turned over £60.25 million.
David Jones continued: "We had a great 2011 but in the face of such tough competition it was still a wonderful surprise to win Dealer of the Year. Our success owes everything to the hard work and enthusiasm of every one of our employees, each of whom has played a part in bringing the trophy back to Kent. It’s a fantastic achievement and underlines the unstinting commitment to customer service that runs through this company at every level."
Competing dealers are judged over the year against a host of different criteria including vehicle, labour and parts sales performances and their all-important CSI (Customer Service Index) ratings, which are based on customer feedback. The strongest all-rounder invariably takes the Dealer of the Year title.