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Toyota, Mitsubishi name top service staff, technicians

Top job: Winners from Mitsubishi’s 15th annual Service Skills Contest that was held recently.

Annual technical and customer service programs highlight dealer staff performance


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5 Dec 2013

TOYOTA and Mitsubishi have highlighted outstanding individual performances from dealership staff around Australia with the announcement of winners of each brand’s annual technical and customer service skills competition.

Toyota’s National Skills Development Program, which is billed as one of the largest of its type in the Australian car industry, presented awards across six categories after a nine-month program that included regional events and a national final in Sydney late last month.

The winners were: Hayden Buckworth of Cranbourne Toyota in Victoria (best service technician) Terrena Ferrow of CMI Toyota in South Australia (best service advisor) Leonardo Santos of Phil McCarroll Toyota in New South Wales (best vehicle sales walk around) Janet Szigeti of Peter Kittle Toyota in SA (best customer experience manager) Derek Stevenson from New Town Toyota in Western Australia (best Toyota parts sales) and John Smales of Prosser Toyota in WA (best diagnosis technician).

As well as encouraging Toyota dealership staff to hone their skills, Toyota says the program aims to identify participants’ strengths and weaknesses to assist with identifying future training needs.

Toyota Australia executive director of sales and marketing Tony Cramb paid tribute to all finalists, who were required to perform practical tasks and role-play scenarios in front of a panel of judges, dealer staff, TAFE representatives and local businesspeople.

“We believe that each finalist demonstrated admirable skill and ability, however the chosen winners from each category all truly deserved the recognition they received,” he said.

“Our customer service philosophy is based on the idea of ‘genuine respect’ and that all of our customers should be ‘rewarded with a smile’.

“The National Skills Development Program is a place where we can ensure that our staff hold these values too.”

The winners were offered the choice of $5000 worth of Panasonic goods or a study tour to Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan. They were also rewarded with induction into the Annual Assembly of International Customer Service Champions.

Meanwhile, Mitsubishi’s 15th annual Service Skills Contest has seen Rod Howes from Motorama Mitsubishi in Queensland take out his third Technician of the Year title at the national final held at the company’s Adelaide head office recently.

Joint winners were announced for the Service Adviser of the Year category, with Jessica Hankinson from Mcilroy Mitsubishi in South Australia and Carla Smith from Len Patti Mitsubishi in Queensland both receiving the coveted award.

The company said the result was “too close to call” and that both winners “showcased their skills and experience in all categories to outperform the other contestants”.

It was the fourth title in a row for Ms Smith, who said the program “really shows appreciation to service advisers”.

“This is the one time that your job as a service adviser is really appreciated and rewarded for the hard work that is put into keeping a service department running smoothly,” she said.

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation senior executive officer Yoshikazu Nakamura, who heads the Japanese car-maker’s global aftersales division, attended the national final, which was fought out by a technician and service adviser from each of the company’s five Australian sales regions.

“All national finalists are great examples of service advisers and technicians, not only for our dealerships, but for the whole Mitsubishi network in Australia,” Mr Nakamura said.

“The skills shown today throughout the contest represents a great future for Mitsubishi Motors.”

Mitsubishi says 1270 participants from more than 200 dealerships competed in this year’s event, which is run throughout the year and includes preliminary testing and regional qualifying.

The awards announcements come as the latest JD Power CSI study, which measures Australian new-vehicle buyer satisfaction with the aftersales service process, shows that Toyota has slipped behind Mazda as the highest-ranking brand in Australia this year, while Mitsubishi has fallen behind the industry average.

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