Published: September 9, 2020 | Updated: September 9, 2020

‘Turnaround king’ Martin gets to work putting customer service at the centre of motor dealer

Martin White, Head of Business, Marshall Bournemouth (second left) with (left to right) Jack Constant, Mark Francis and Adam Khodabaccus. Picture: Dorset Biz News.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Not for nothing is Martin White regarded as the ‘turnaround king’ in some quarters.

The 56-year-old – one of the best-known figures on the Dorset motor scene – has frequently played the role of troubleshooter during his 34-year career.

His latest challenge is at BMW and MINI dealer Marshall Bournemouth where he has taken up the role of Head of Business.

Choosing his words carefully, Martin, pictured left, says: “It’s a big job.

“The history is that it’s not had a great legacy of customer service.

“We need to win the customer back and put customer service at the centre of everything we do.”

Since taking up the role six weeks ago, the former Dealer Principal of Mercedes-Benz of Poole has hit the ground running.

Mark Francis

First priority was to assemble his top team with some key appointments:

  • Mark Francis, Local Business Development Manager. Formerly with Poole-Audi and, before that, Sandown Group where he worked with Martin, concentrating on the fleet side of Mercedes-Benz.
  • Adam Khodabaccus, General Sales Manager. Formerly General Sales Manager at Mercedes-Benz of Poole.
  • Luke Edwards, Business Transactions Manager. Formerly Sales Manager at Mercedes-Benz of Dorchester.

Next stop was to boost the number of BMW sales advisers from seven to ten.

Meanwhile the five-strong MINI sales team has expanded with the addition of Danni Cotterill, formerly of Mercedes-Benz of Poole.

Cavin Sewell is the MINI Business Manager while Jack Constant is MINI Brand Manager.

There’s been a doubling in the number of service advisers, from three to six, and a separate service receptionist is being recruited.

Marshall Bournemouth is split over two sites, the main showrooms in Wallisdown and the service facility a short distance away at Discovery Court.

Adam Khodabaccus

“With up to 50 cars a day being serviced we need to make the customer experience seamless.

“We know this was one of the areas we needed to address as a matter of urgency – and we are,” said Martin, who started his motor industry career as a sales executive at Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk.

“We need to make the whole business customer-centric.

“This is just the start.”

Marshall Motor Holdings plc, headed by charismatic Chief Executive Daksh Gupta, was founded as Marshall of Cambridge in a lock-up garage in 1909.

The listed company now has 117 dealership businesses representing 23 manufacturer brands across 28 counties of England.

It acquired Ridgeway, which previously held the BMW franchise in Bournemouth, in 2016.

Martin said: “I am exceptionally excited about the future.

“The brand is fantastic, we have an excellent team, and now we have to get our customers back.

Jack Constant

“The signs are all pointing in the right direction.

“We’ve just sold 47 cars – 73 cars if you include MINI – over four days with prices ranging from £15,000 for a MINI to £100,000-plus for a BMW.

“We’re all excited to have joined BMW and MINI at Marshall Bournemouth.

“Can we make a difference?

“Yes, we can and, while I don’t expect the full cultural change to be embedded until 2021, we’re already doing so.”