Major investment enhances service at Ford dealership

Major investment in equipment and training has brought significant advances in facilities and customer satisfaction at Edwards Ford in Salisbury.

It also means that commercial vehicle servicing, for a long time carried out in separate premises, is now integrated into the dealership's main workshops in Telford Road, where a £75,000 investment in alterations and equipment has brought enhanced commercial servicing facilities.

Dealer principal Chris Yoxon said the £75,000 upgrade of the Telford Road service centre had been possible after massive investment in a new parts centre at High Post had freed up space in Salisbury.

"Customer satisfaction levels at Telford Road were already high, exceeding our Ford target for ‘completely satisfied' responses to customer surveys by a fair margin," added Mr Yoxon.

Everyone who brings a Ford car or commercial to the dealership for a scheduled service leaves with a new companion, SARA, in the glovebox.

SARA is service activated roadside assistance now giving Europe-wide cover for home start, roadside assistance, and recovery 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in a package estimated to be worth up to £200 if bought from a major recovery organisation.

Ford customers receive it free, along with a dedicated accident management scheme that provides a courtesy car at no cost even where the driver is to blame and even if they only have a service worth £99 on their car.

"These initiatives are a great consumer benefit but the real reason for the success of Edwards Ford in the last year has been the willingness of the staff to fully support modern practices and training," explains service manager Mark Gulliver, who joined Edwards Ford as an apprentice technician when he left school 16 years ago.

"These are people who are highly regarded by our growing customer base, some of whom have enjoyed close contact for years. All staff must undertake yearly practical skills updates in Ford's training centres at Loughborough and Daventry.

"But the investment has also brought improved van servicing with dedicated staff. We have installed a new door that's 4.2 metres high so big Transit vans, or virtually any commercial up to 7.5 tonnes, can access our new lifts capable of accommodating high roof vans with roof-mounted equipment.

"New diagnostic equipment pinpoints faults and any that elude us can be tracked by, and discussed with, Ford's own technical staff, using data from dealerships all over Europe. It's a tremendous resource.

"The final flourish is that every customer receives a 30 point report when they pick up their vehicle advising them on its general state of health, how soon it may need attention, and what it would cost to repair. I believe it's this attention to detail that's growing the business."

Caption: Service manager Mark Gulliver, centre, with senior technician Rob Waters (left) and master technician Mark Auger in front of the Edwards Ford service department in Telford Road, Salisbury, and the new raised doorways to allow access for high roof vehicles.