Mercedes-Benz dealer Intercounty Truck and Van has been operating as a dealer for the German brand for more than 15 years, with outlets across the counties of Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire. This coverage ensures customers operating in these areas are never far from sales and aftersales support.

Reacting to the increasing demand for van service and support, all depots now have dedicated van service advisors and van service managers, previously these roles being shared with the truck facility. A single point of contact with a team member who specialises in van issues provides the highest level of customer support. 

Evidence of providing customers with the care that they demand is demonstrated by the extended opening hours, meaning that service and repairs can be carried out outside of the customer’s normal working hours, keeping downtime to a minimum. A frustration often suffered by a driver is when a vehicle has a minor issue but a dealership requires the vehicle for a day to diagnose it. Intercounty offers triage and drive-by appointments for minor defects in order to keep the vehicle moving and earning its keep.

Intercounty now has a centralised service booking facility. All vehicle services, MOT, repair and defect appointments are taken at one facility for all the branches, allowing procedures to be standardised across the group, along with better supervision that improves the quality of work. A new site has recently been acquired in Dunstable that is currently being refurbished with state-of-the-art equipment being installed with a focus on energy efficiency. The new site will allow Intercounty to accommodate larger volumes of work with the aim of keeping customers on the road and minimising downtime.

Intercounty Truck and Van is committed to supporting its customers in the transition to electric mobility, claiming to be leading the way in electric van awareness while providing outstanding sales and aftersales support. While accepting that not all customer operations are suited to a move to an EV, the team of electric van consultants at Intercounty have undertaken training and are fully conversant with electric vans, the charging infrastructure and the challenges that may be encountered. They are able to fully qualify the customer and for those not ready to make the move, they keep them informed regarding the short and long-term position regarding vehicles and their capabilities. 

The company has introduced a number of electric van demonstrator vehicles, together with courtesy vans that will allow a prospective customer to try an electric van in their own environment. In addition, a fleet of eVito parts delivery vans is in operation, allowing for additional exposure to the customer base and further evidence of InterCounty’s commitment.

In a specific piece of innovation, Intercounty has converted a number of eVito panel vans into chilled units, with the fridge being run from an independent power supply so vehicle range is not impacted. Several customers have been given a free 12-month loan of a van, exposing the benefits to a wider audience and at the same time allowing the dealer to collate valuable real-time data. From a marketing perspective, Intercounty has been very proactive. The company provided a test drive event to which independent industry professionals were invited and also included an informative, unbiased Q and A session. Activity has continued with the business and brand being represented at trade shows and other events. 

Intercounty claims that it strives to innovate and to work with staff and customers to provide the best customer service possible, sharing best practices across all business sectors.

Highly Commended: eStar Truck and Van

Mercedes-Benz dealer group eStar is embracing the move over to electric vehicles – but recognises that customer qualification is vital to ensure that a round peg isn’t forced into a square hole with the frustration and dissatisfaction that this would incur. EVs are discussed initially with every prospect, debunking myths and answering any questions that the customer may have. If an EV works for the prospect, eStar provides support with a package that includes charger access, part-exchange facility and a full explanation of super deduction tax implications and benefits.

eStar demonstrates its commitment to a cleaner environment in many ways including changing its fleet of company cars to electric or hybrid models, giving the sales team credibility when talking to potential customers. It is also upgrading its own chargers to the ‘Smart’ type. In addition, the company sits on the Knowsley Council Emergency Climate Committee and is working hard on its own carbon reduction pledge.