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National Customer Service Week – The MD’s view

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Pete Bell MD of ManheimLast week was National Customer Service Week. A long running initiative first established in 1984 by the International Customer Service Association (ICSA), it celebrates and recognises the importance of customer service excellence.

In order to mark this important week, our very own Pete Bell hit the road to discover more about Manheim’s relentless endeavour for customer service excellence.

Let’s see how he got on…

Q: Pete, tell us what your week involved?
A: Of course. It was a varied and insightful week. I spent Monday and Tuesday meeting with a number of our partners, exploring how we can be even better aligned to ensure we’re delivering the best customer experience possible today, and developing how we work together to do so in the future. On Wednesday, I joined over 90 colleagues at our Manheim Sales conference; amongst other things, we discussed our sales and customer delivery and performance, the importance of delivering a great customer experience, how this will help us differentiate our business and the need for us to take our message out to the market to new customers.  

Q: I understand you also spent some time back on the shop floor? 

A: Yes, that’s right I did. I spent Thursday and Friday working with the team at our Mansfield auction centre, experiencing first-hand how we deliver for our customers. I followed the auction process from gating in, through inspection, valet/prep, photography and then preparation for Friday’s Marshalls and Pentagon sales; on Friday, I was then in the Hall for the sale itself where I was put to good use driving the cars through the lanes, before finishing up with the post-sale payments process. I’d like to thank the all of the team in Mansfield for their time and patience with me asking so many questions.

Q: What did you learn from your hands-on experience?
A: It’s not so much a lesson but a reminder of how important a role, each and every member of our Manheim team plays in us delivering successfully for our customers and what made me most proud was witnessing first-hand how the team works’ so closely together for the benefit of our customers. Regardless of role or responsibility, the customer is always put first. It’s something I know the Mansfield team pride themselves in. The atmosphere across the two days also reinforced with me that our auction centres are all like communities, with strong relationships evident not just amongst colleagues but also directly with our customers. 

Pete Bell taking part in NCSW

Q: Why did the leadership team choose to get so directly involved in National Customer Service Week?

A: Looking to our own Values, we think customer, and go the extra mile to deliver great service. National Customer Service Week provides the perfect opportunity to give that Value real focus, to celebrate and recognise the great work that already happens, day in day out, across our business but to also dedicate time to challenging ourselves to think about where we can be even better. As leaders, it’s important we experience the reality of all aspects of our service delivery, especially where our customers touch us the most. That way we can better understand the challenges faced by the teams and help support colleagues in meeting those challenges, all to the ultimate benefit of the customer. 

Q: Why is customer service so important to you?
A: We all experience customer service every day. Sometimes it’s good, too often it’s bad, mostly it’s indifferent - but seldom is it great. And that’s not right - because when it is, it’s memorable and it sets the tone for your relationship with that company or individual going forward. It’s what earns and drives loyalty, so it’s good for business but, more importantly, it’s the right thing to do. And that’s why I place such emphasis on it. But our customers’ expectations have changed and continue to change, so we have to keep improving too, and that’s why initiatives like National Customer Service Week are great as it gives us the platform to reinforce and celebrate its importance. But to be clear, we should be focusing on how we are delivering for our customers every day, not just across this week; it’s something we have to all be relentless about, whatever our role, wherever business areas we are in within Manheim.

Q: What was the most important learning to take from last week?
A: That the customer must continue to be at the heart of everything we do as a business. We must never lose sight of the importance of our customers and we must strive to always do our best for them. Last week, we all saw first-hand across our business how we, the Manheim team, are going all-out to implement this ethos into our day to day activities. It was a fantastic week and thanks again to everyone involved; another Proud to be Manheim moment!

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