Nexa not only acquired talent from diverse sectors but also made sure that new joinees experienced the luxury before trying to sell one.
The job profile of a salesman in an automobile showroom isn’t much sought after, unless one is selling a German brand. However, Maruti NEXA, the premium automobile showroom from Maruti Suzuki, has delineated this role with a new outlook.
For its 35-odd showrooms that have come up in the country, Maruti Nexa has hired its workforce – Nexa calls them relationship managers – from across industries, such as hospitality, retail and even aviation!
“For the Nexa channel, we have invested in two broad areas — customer experience and human capital,” says, Partho Banerjee, senior vice-president, marketing and sales, new channels, Maruti Suzuki, in an exclusive conversation with HRKatha.
He adds, “We did not look for talent from competitors or from our own existing channels, not because they aren’t good enough, but because we wanted people from varied and diverse backgrounds.”
“In fact, in some of the retail outlets, more than 50 per cent of the relationship managers come from a non-automobile background,” claims Banerjee.
The objective was to hire people who score high on relationship than on subject knowledge, which is also the reason why the talent was acquired from sectors where customer experience and relationship were the priority.
The rationale was that technical knowledge is a must for first-time car buyers, and not for repeated buyers.
The brand stands for pampering, innovation, global standards and reliability. The prospective buyers here demand professionalism by way of presentation, behaviour, speech and interaction. Since they are successful and have arrived in life, they expect the best of servicing experience from a dedicated and single point of contact that makes the buying decision and process a smooth experience.
“This is why, we looked for people who had the zeal and the experience to provide such high-quality experience to our customers,” Banerjee states.
Maruti Nexa, which promises to be a premium experience for car buyers has not only acquired talent from diverse yet related sectors, it has also made sure that the new joinees experience the luxury before trying to sell one.
Normally, automobile companies do not give much thought to the training and development of relationship managers working at their dealers’. Here, this was the top priority.
It not only got Dale Carnegie and IIT Global to impart soft skill training and sharpen the employees’ interpersonal, customer communication and satisfaction skills, but also ensured that the training was done in a luxurious environment.
This thought came from the belief that to create an experience one also has to live an experience.
It created an environment of the best of hospitality for its first lot of front-office employees. Around 1,200 relationship managers from across India were flown to New Delhi for the training activity. The new joinees were put up at JW Marriot for a week where the training sessions were organised.
Each team member was trained with a module according to his/her role and was made to ‘experience the experience’, which he/she will have to deliver.
All these trainings were conducted in the best possible classrooms — luxurious conference rooms at premium hotels, such as JW Marriot, where even minute details of providing unmatched hospitality and creating a fine dining experience, were addressed by the training.
This may be a usual exercise in the corporate sector, but for relationship managers in automobile showrooms, this was a rare practice.