Fri, 23/02/2018 - 06:50
Current Issue 77
Customers for Life
Action Auto is on a mission to achieve lasting relationships with its customers, utilising its history of success and innovation to develop a unique team
Writer: Phoebe Calver
Project Manager: Vivek Valmiki
Since it was established in 1997 Action Auto has been focused on working with customers for life, achieving this through inspiring loyalty via its brands, service delivery and passion.
The Company is the sole authorised franchise dealership located within Zambia for Isuzu Motors South Africa (IMSAF), recognised for its outstanding skill and expertise in selling all new Isuzu Pickups and Isuzu Trucks.
After one short year of operations within the industry, Action Auto was awarded Outstanding Dealer of the Year by DELTA and following on from that opened a second branch in Kitwe to cater to the expanding mining business in that region.
“In order to retain our high standards from the offset, we have repeatedly ensured that all of our staff are continuously trained in the various technical programmes required for top-class service,” Michael Bentley, Managing Director at Action Auto. “Over the years we have adapted our processes and philosophies in order to align with the General Motors Difference (GMD), all of which fell perfectly in line with the customer-centric goals of our Company.”
Every member of staff at Action Auto has to learn these processes as a major part of their induction, and they are constantly improved upon as technology and customer needs evolve.
Bentley continues: “Continuous development of our staff and refresher courses for our process guidelines are pivotal components to the success of our business. Without commitment and passion from our dedicated team we undoubtedly would not have reached the point we are at today.”
At present the core operations of the business involve distributing and selling the new line vehicles in Zambia, as well as providing service, maintenance, warranty, parts & fitment and full after-sales support to customers. This fits perfectly into the Company’s mission to ‘create customers for life’, achieved through always putting the customers vehicle needs and vehicle ownership satisfaction at the forefront of every action.
Reputation for innovation
Isuzu has always been a perfect fit for Action Auto to work with, with the brand continuously developing and updating its vehicles in order to better the technology, safety, comfort, styling and off-road capabilities to provide a better experience for the customer.
“Over the years Isuzu has established a reputation for innovation, toughness, reliability, functionality and appeal, and with its recent addition of three new models it now offers an even wider selection to suit customers’ requirements,” adds Bentley. “We know that safety is a key feature for Isuzu and the vast majority of its ranges feature electronic stability control with elements such as brake assist, traction control, SRS, electronic brake-force distribution and anti-lock braking systems.”
Action Auto has established a name for itself as one of the best and most trusted dealerships in the business, and its longstanding relationship with Isuzu is continuing to strengthen this.
“We have a reputation for repeat custom due to both the excellent after-sales service and class-leading products available with thanks to Isuzu,” Bentley affirms. “Isuzu vehicles continue to boast class-leading features, such as best-in-class payload on double cabs and towing capacity, as well as an array of digital solutions to improve the ease of driving for the customer.”
Performance and durability
It is important to recognise that Zambia is a commodity-based economy and in recent years has felt the pressure of sustained low copper pricing and high inflation. Price is a big factor in this industry and with the current tax treatment of imported vehicles, the purchase of older vehicles is becoming increasingly incentivised.
“Price is an important factor to take into consideration when customers are looking to make a purchase,” Bentley describes. “Like many African countries, the ownership of a vehicle is seen as an aspiration and especially when that purchase comes straight from the showroom floor.”
When considering these factors in Zambia, Isuzu has established a place for itself in the market that is synonymous with class, performance and durability and is therefore the first choice when it comes to purchasing a new vehicle.
“We want to sell the best possible product to our customers at Action Auto and have found ways to achieve this without breaking the bank,” continues Bentley. “Investments from companies such as GMSA and IMSAF - specifically in South Africa - have enabled us to take advantage of existing trade protocols and subsequently we were able to reduce the importation costs of vehicles from South Africa to Zambia, passing the savings onto our customers.
“We continue to listen to our customers’ needs and suggestions at all times, and always proceed to send the relevant information back to the Isuzu development team to ensure customer satisfaction.”
Sourcing talent and CSI
Action Auto has set incredibly high standards since its services began and its approach to hiring is exactly the same; always on the lookout for young raw talent.
“The majority of our talent is sourced from graduates or high school leavers and we go on to develop and train them through continuous on-the-job training,” explains Bentley. “For each year we set aside a significant training budget for our team, enabling us to use both local and international training programmes that are relevant to each field of work that we undertake.
“We have found that this keeps our staff motivated and loyal to the Company as we are repeatedly providing them with new opportunities to grow and advance their career at Action Auto.”
The majority of Action Auto’s employees have been with the Company for many years, and as a proudly Zambian Citizen Empowered entity, sourcing local talent is increasingly important and helps contribute to the “Zambia Plus” Government Initiative Programme introduced in 2016.
Bentley adds: “We strongly feel that we are making a positive contribution to our country through developing skilful and talented Zambians.
“Our team is incredibly passionate about vehicles and we like to encourage that outside of the workplace too. This has manifested itself in the form of an internal programme where we encourage our employees that are interested in rallying to take up the sport with sponsorship.”
The Company has been a major sponsor of the Zambia Motor Sport Association for many years, the Zambia 7’s Rugby team and also supports charities such as Chawama Cheshire Homes for the aged and homeless and Human Service Trust. Protecting and sustaining Zambia’s diverse wildlife is also a passion that Action Auto helps fund through its support of Honorary Wildlife Officers and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife.
It all comes down to people and Action Auto’s desire to be customer and people focused at all times, eventually building a culture in which the consumer becomes part of a family.
“We pride ourselves on the outstanding service that we deliver, attention to detail and years of experience that enables peace-of-mind for our customers,” concludes Bentley. “This is how we create and keep customers for life and we are looking forward to spreading this ability further afield in the future, with the opportunity to expand our efforts into countries such as the DRC, Mauritius and Reunion Islands.”