FGA's Unetversity and Chrysler Academy have developed a series of programs focused on selling methods and processes. In Europe, the Customer First Program and the Business Support Program enhance the approach and behavior of sales personnel during the sales process.
It also reflects the commitment to promoting responsible selling techniques encouraging the greatest transparency in the management of customer relationships. In 2013, Chrysler Academy further supported the Customer Experience Initiative by redesigning the selling skills curriculum and course development, aligning course objectives to be consistent with customer survey results. The initiative is designed to improve the overall customer experience as well as promote the long term success of both the company and the dealer network.
Customer relationship improvements were also achieved through programs such as the Step It Up , piloted within the US dealer network in the Southwest Business Center. This initiative, supported by in-dealership consultants who coached and mentored retail professionals, aided the Customer Experience Initiative by correlating customer survey results with dealership behaviors and processes linked to customer satisfaction. This effort resulted in a significant positive impact within the pilot dealers. The after-sales curriculum was also redesigned to reflect the Customer Experience Initiative.
In the EMEA region, Unetversity continued to place particular emphasis on training for the after-sales staff in dealerships, such as service center managers, service consultants and front-office employees, who manage the after-sales relationship with customers.
Training activities to support dealership owners and managers also continued during 2013 through the EMEA Effect program, in partnership with leading business schools and modeled after university-level business management curriculums. A combination of hands-on experience and theory provided managerial skills and tools to help address changing conditions at the global and local level, placing particular emphasis on succession management within the dealers. In 2013, the program, in its sixth year, was redesigned and updated to reflect the competitive scenario: 3 modules were delivered: two in Germany and one in Spain.
In addition, tools and technology are continuously refined to better support the network. The iExam business analysis tool is being upgraded by Chrysler Group to enhance usability and functionality. Ram Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) resource information was provided online to support the launch of the Ram CNG vehicle. These tools, along with the Market Master Online Business Analysis tool, continue to empower dealers to maximize their operational performance and capitalize on business opportunities. New Dealer Installation training materials were also developed to provide a more comprehensive orientation for new dealer principals when joining Chrysler Group. The training includes position-specific content for all roles within a typical dealership management team to promote greater shared understanding and appreciation for Chrysler Group operational systems, procedures, and corporate values.
Dealer Candidate Development Program
Chrysler Group is committed to diversity within its dealer network. During 2013, Chrysler Group increased its minority dealer count by 16%, expanding from 163 to 189 dealerships. This improvement includes a 6% increase in minority-owned Fiat dealerships, which increased from 34 to 36 dealers. This corresponds to a minority representation in the Fiat dealer network of 17%, which remains the highest diversity percentage for any automotive brand. To support the growth of its minority dealer network, Chrysler Group continues to utilize the Dealer Candidate Development Program (DCD). This program is designed to identify candidates who are currently employed with a Chrysler Group or Fiat dealership and have the potential to become a dealer principal in the near future. Through educational webinars, live training and on-site dealership assessments, these candidates are provided dedicated training to enhance their knowledge of dealership operations. In 2013, a graduate from the first class of candidates successfully partnered with Chrysler Group and was placed into a dealership as an operating partner/general manager. Additionally, the second class of candidates in the program completed all of their classroom training modules during the year.
A focus on after-sales training
In 2013, the Unetversity enhanced training for after-sales customer relations processes to improve the service and parts customer experience.
Over 370,000 hours of training were delivered to the Fiat Group Automobiles, Maserati and Ferrari after-sales force worldwide, of which approximately 181,000 hours were through distance learning.
The virtual classroom was introduced in various markets in the EMEA and LATAM regions, involving up to 1,500 users and covering various after-sales topics, which included repair and quality check, scheduling, reception and follow-up, and the new WiADVISOR.
Delivery methods combined instructor-led training and online training with virtual classroom experiences. Comparing 2012 with 2013, the after-sales training attendance increased significantly, mainly due to the contribution of online and virtual classroom training. Approximately 175,000 hours of distance learning were dedicated exclusively to FGA's after-sales personnel (+26% vs 2012).