The inaugural winner of the Branch of the Year Award at The Parts Alliance explains the secret to their success and how their processes are helping staff serve customers better
It’s official: GSF Banbury is The Parts Alliance Branch of the Year; but, with national recognition from the trading group, how do you create a successful branch and deliver those high levels of service? As branch manager Max Stubbs explains, sometimes simplicity can be key.
Being an award winner, you might think there is a recipe for success that is needed to be named as the number one branch within The Parts Alliance, but consistency has been one of the key methods of generating success.
Branch manager Max explains: “We just stuck to our standard internal processes laid out by GSF and The Parts Alliance.
“As long as we’re doing everything we should, everything else falls into place.
“Things can go wrong very quickly if you deviate from what you should be doing, and this has a knock-on effect on other areas of the branch.”
Moving away from the tried and tested could be costly then, but what does the Banbury-based branch think it has been doing particularly well?
He continued: “Being proactive and not waiting for business to come to you – it won’t.
“Also building customer relationships, most of our top customers would consider us more than just a supplier, we are someone on the end of the phone that will go the extra mile for them.”
How does Max know when GSF Banbury is delivering well or not for customers? Is positive feedback key to this process?
“Absolutely, but we also get negative feedback and that is what we need most from customers.
“If we don’t know what issues a customer has we cannot solve them.”
Constantly developing from any criticism has evidently helped the award winners during the last 12 months, but what about The Parts Alliance itself?
“We’ve just finished two mid-sized promotions and are currently half way through our yearly major promo.
“What we have on offer at the moment is bigger and better than we’ve had before.
“In fact, I just dropped off a TV to one of our my customers as part of the weekly draws we are having.”
To deliver such a comprehensive customer service offering, Max utilises a pool of five vans and ten members of staff, yet it’s apparent the development of them rather than the sheer volume has ensured that the branch is equipped to succeed.
Making time for staff to better themselves is at the core of his work in the branch, and no shortage of careful employee management has been key to the recent award win.
He says: “I will always spare some time with my staff to help better themselves, if I can.
“If I feel they are weak in certain areas, I push them in that area to increase their knowledge or ability.
“We also have an online-based learning platform where all members of staff can log in and progress through all manner of different courses, which is ideal for career progression.”
Carrying on the theme of doing the simple things well, it seems there are no real surprises in the product mix for Banbury either.
“The basic bread and butter items of braking, filtration, steering are still core to our business,” he reveals.
This has all helped GSF Banbury win the first ever Branch of the Year Award from The Parts Alliance, but it could not have come as more of a surprise to Max.
“I had no idea there were even going to be awards, and even then, that we’d be up for it,” he remarks.
“It’s nice to have the recognition that what you’re doing is going so well and that it’s recognised by the leaders of the business.
“Knowing that what we’re doing is valued goes a long way.
“The team we’ve got here are just that bit different.
“Everyone gets on and works for each other and goes the extra mile.
“It’s more than just a job for us because we strive to be the best.
“I sent the team a photo on the night and everyone was shocked and over the moon.
“I always praise the team when they do well but it’s great to get that from above me as well.
If GSF Banbury’s phenomenal year could be summarised by one key element, Max is clear in his answer.
“Communicating with customers,” he maintains.
“Whether it be good or bad news, or just a catch-up chat, keeping in contact is key to building and maintaining a good relationship.”
Having those relationships is taking GSF Banbury to new heights, but technology is becoming increasingly important to a successful branch, and Max does not underestimate this.
“We use Allicat as our main lookup and invoice platform,” he notes.
Speeding up sales
“Since this was introduced to GSF, it has helped no end in speeding up the sales team in booking parts out.”
“The support and resources you have within The Parts Alliance is huge, and to have the ability to go down avenues we haven’t been able to before is fantastic.
“It just means we can offer so much more to our customers,” Max concludes.