Guest Blog: Apprenticeship Week Reflection

By Hayley Pells MSc CAE FIMI

The start of March is always a particularly busy time for me, prior to the pandemic, I was active through Business Wales speaking at schools and colleges, championing careers within the automotive industry. Unsure what to expect for this year I was surprised when the first couple of enquiries came through, which swiftly developed into an avalanche of online opportunities to speak to young people with around 500 schools and further education organisations signed up to the online events.

Previously I was restricted to the number of places I could physically visit, access to a wider audience about the many opportunities within the automotive aftermarket was certainly advantageous, but I did wonder if the message would perhaps lose meaning deployed in this way?

Digitally native, the audience expectation for an authentic experience was displayed in the quality of the questions that immediately came through. Through multi-screening, numerous tabs and chat functionality, within minutes of taking the “stage” my audience had my measure. Enquiries about my military history, my workshop, my qualifications were peppered with queries about details on what tools I use, background items from social media posts and places that I had visited.

Story telling style has long provided my mainstay of marketing strategy, this turbo charged experience gave me insight on how my organisation will operate with my future motorists, suppliers, and team members. The digitally native generation that will enter adulthood in the immediate post pandemic era has been thrown through digital dependency and remote learning to complete their education, something that will follow into the modern way of working. Highly efficient at sifting through content, with an extreme capability to detect sincere messages through complex selling strategies operating within platforms outside of current advertising legislation, my audiences quickly found the questions that they wanted answered and ask they did. The shyness I would normally encounter in a live environment with those on the cusp of adulthood melted away, chat features enabled private communications or a question that was designed to be seen by all participants. These could be ruthlessly deployed to prove a wider point or question the validity of an argument, a particular favourite of mine centred on the responsibility of the automotive industry to commit to a circular economy, showcasing the intelligence of my enquirer and the rapid nature information could be found, sifted and an opinion could be raised.

The forecast from the DVSA showing how our industry is going to change following the lock downs, especially the MOT extension. There is an important lesson from apprenticeship week, digital communication will not reduce in line with the lifting of restrictions. Increasing communication advantage post pandemic will depend on the digital agility of organisations to keep up with the expectations from those that keep it moving.

In recognition of the requirement for digital overcommunication, the DVSA has launched the SAFE Check programme to prove that great customer service works, in this way of working – an authentically communicated sincere message, with a background available of the company delivering it, will create the best environment for a growth in relationships.

Matters of Testing: Promoting vehicle safety checks to your customers who need to drive

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