TODAY Nissan Insider chats to director Dave Murfitt who, it was announced yesterday, will be moving from his current role as the company’s After Sales Director to become Network Development & Quality Director from February 1.
Dave has worked in the motor industry for 32 years – 12 of which were spent with Ford (after sales and fleet sales mainly) and the last 20 with Nissan GB. He’s held positions in most operational areas of the business in that time and has also spent time with Nissan Europe based in Paris.
In the UK he has held the roles of Sales Performance Manager covering both rural and urban territories, Used Car Manager, Fleet Sales Director, and, of course, After Sales Director.
He held two positions during his time in Paris: firstly, Market Manager for Russia, Germany and Nordics, and then Manager of Independent Markets (distributors), covering Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Israel, Ireland and Romania.
Dave told us: ‘These jobs have equipped me with a very broad experience of the business and have also provided me with an insight into truly understanding customer needs and what the Nissan dealer network needs to do now and in the future to meet those needs.’
Dave spared a few moments from his busy schedule to answer a few questions for us.
Congratulations on your appointment. What will your new role involve?
It will involve ensuring we maintain and develop a strong, profitable dealer network with reliable and consistent business partners who share our vision for Nissan’s growth by providing great facilities with well-trained staff who are equipped to not only meet but exceed customer expectations in a dynamic and competitive market environment.
The company had a pretty good 2011. Do you think the momentum can be maintained during 2012?
No doubt about it, Nissan are on a roll in the UK. We have a great range of products and a profitable dealer network, and our customer satisfaction scores are improving. There are many positives, but we cannot afford to get complacent, we have to remain focused and build on the considerable momentum that we have built jointly with our dealer network partners.
Are there any specific targets you have in mind as you start your new role?
We have to continue with our relentless drive to continually improve the quality of our customer service whilst anticipating and responding to future needs of an ever-changing market. Gearing up to sell and maintain increased volumes of the Nissan LEAF is a vital element of our strategy prior to localised production.
Do you think the network has any particular strengths at the moment? Any areas perhaps of relative weakness?
The Nissan network has enjoyed good success for the last two to three years and is much more confident about its place in the market than previously. However, we have to guard against any complacency by striving for continual improvement to meet our customers’ needs and expectations. This means continued investment in training our people and ensuring that our network facilities – both sales and after sales – are of the size and standard to properly market and maintain our products. Nissan have ambitious growth plans in the UK and we will not achieve them unless we focus on all these areas in unison.
In view of the success of the Sunderland plant, do you think Nissan emphasises its ‘made in Britain’ credentials sufficiently?
We should all be very proud of the fact that our Sunderland factory is the biggest volume car producer in the UK. It would be great if we could increase leverage of this fact to increase customer awareness.
If you had a message for people working in the network, what would it be?
Continue with your focus on meeting customer needs in every way. Customer loyalty is our lifeblood and we need to be mindful of this at every touch point we have with both existing and prospective customers.