As vehicle sales showrooms reopen this month, we ask what companies should be doing to make the customer environment as safe and comfortable as possible and how customers are finding interacting with sales staff in the current health climate.
Alan Weyman, assistant van sales manager (Heathrow) at Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicle Dealer group, Rygor Commercials, said: “Throughout lockdown, our sales team has still been in the business, but working remotely to help support our customers. For me it’s important to remind customers, that if they feel more comfortable to do so, they can still utilise our digital communication channels to engage with us and we can still help them find the vehicle which is right for them. However, we have been putting in place many different health and safety processes to make our showrooms as safe as possible now that we have reopened them.
“First and foremost, we always enforce safe social distancing and we have signage at our sites to remind everyone of this. Additionally, we have Perspex screens on sales desks (and aftersales counters) so customers can still see our team clearly which is key for relationship building, but is also an all-important protective barrier. We also have extra digital screens, so our customers can view the necessary information about their sales enquiry, on their side of the (double width) desk. If a customer prefers, our team can also wear a mask when speaking with them through the screen, and there is hand sanitiser at all our sites and sales desks for staff and customers. We also offer contactless test drives, where the vans are cleaned, fitted out with PPE and the driver is alone in the vehicle, as we appreciate that a van is a significant investment, and many customers will wish to try before they buy,” Alan added.
Stanley Ayers, Rygor customer said: “I took a contactless test drive of the 250 X-Class. I was a bit surprised at how nice a drive it was, as of course, I was comparing it with other pick-ups, but it really drives just like a car, and is completely different to other pick-ups. This just shows why a test drive is so important – I got to go out on my own and got a good feel for the vehicle. I wasn’t one bit concerned at all when I was in the showroom, or doing the test drive. There were screens in place, PPE installed, social distancing was observed, and the team made me feel comfortable – everyone conducted themselves really well. It was very good.”
Piotr Capaja, Rygor customer, said: “It was very good at Rygor Heathrow. It was very useful to be able to be in the showroom and to be able to see the monitor was great. I could see everything to do with my purchase of the Sprinter van, but didn’t have to get too close! I am a loyal customer of Rygor’s so it was good to be back. In my opinion I think the Sprinter is the best van on the market. I’ve driven other vans before, but if you drive a lot, the Sprinter is the most comfortable. From my own experience, owning a Sprinter already, it is so reliable, and it lasts a long time.”
Diane Edwards, Rygor customer, said: “A fantastic experience. I bought with confidence – Alan was not your typical salesman! I have been searching for a van for a little while as I am a caterer at Portobello Road Market, but I was conscious that I wanted to buy from a reputable business. I thought the Mercedes-Benz Citan extra-long van would suit me, so I popped into the Heathrow branch of Rygor as a spur of the moment thing and Alan at the site helped me and found me the vehicle I needed. The Citan was prepped and thoroughly cleaned down, ready for me to do a contactless test drive. I have never been out on a test drive on my own, but I found it great. It’s a lovely little van, I really loved it – bought it there and then! Mercedes-Benz vans have such a good reputation and they are real workhorses. This is the first time I have bought from a Mercedes-Benz Dealer, but I can understand why people do and would never choose to go elsewhere now. The team were so friendly at Rygor and I could see the site being cleaned regularly (and between each customer visit) whilst I was there, which gave me real confidence that they were taking the safety of their customers and their team seriously.”
Sarah Palfreyman, Head of Network and Dealer Sales at Mercedes-Benz Vans UK, added: “We know that the van community is working tirelessly to evolve and adapt to new ways of working while still continuing to deliver goods and services to their customers, so by implementing high levels of preventative safety measures such as these at Rygor Commercials, visiting a Mercedes-Benz Vans workshop or showroom is hopefully one less thing for them to worry about.”
Alan added: “The safety of our team and our customers is paramount, and knowing our customers have had such positive experiences in our showrooms is great to hear. What’s most important though is that we, and businesses like ours, continually review our processes to ensure they are working well and of course, make changes as needed. These are challenging and new times for everyone and working together for the benefit of everybody has never been so important.”