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Winchester Caravans and Motorhomes: a great place to work
blog / company news
What makes somewhere a great place to work? Being treated well, valued, supported and rewarded appropriately are things we all hope for from our employer. Winchester Caravans and Motorhomes deliver all of these and more and as a result their staff retention rate is excellent!
If staff are happy in their roles and content with who they’re working for, this will result in higher levels of productivity, which is a positive for any business! Many of our staff have told us that they love their jobs and this is apparent in their work and in their customer relations.
Why is Winchester Caravans and Motorhomes a great employer?
Our core values are to provide customers with the highest quality products and to deliver exceptional customer service each and every time. This is why we only partner with the leading manufacturers to enable us to supply the best caravans and motorhomes on the market. It’s also why we go the extra mile to create a friendly, welcoming atmosphere in the showroom to ensure anyone visiting us will feel at ease.
Our sales team don’t work on commission and this translates into their serving style; they are keen to assist, provide information and answer any questions, but they’re not pushy. They prefer to provide all the information you need and leave the final decision up to you. It makes for a much nicer showroom experience - an abundance of information yet none of the pressure!
We’re a family-run business and we definitely have that close knit feel! The company was purchased by James Southwood in 2015 and he runs the business from his position as Managing Director with assistance from his wife Jeanette. Their son Pete also works as a sales executive. Every employee feels like a member of the family and this helps the company do well as the staff all want to contribute to its success. But don’t just take our word for it...
“There is such a family feel to the company. The owner and his wife and son all work here and it's great to work alongside them and know that you are part of the team rather than just a number. They trust me to run my own department and have invested in me to progress my career which makes me feel valued. The company and the entire workforce are all lovely people to work with!” Trevor Egerton, Aftersales Manager
“It’s a great place to work; everyone is so friendly and welcoming. As a family-run company, everyone is made to feel valued individually - it’s always nice to come into work and be part of this fantastic team!” Linda Peckham, Sales Administrator
“It’s a family business - not just my own family, but the entire staff body is an extension of the Southwood family! Many of the staff are long service members which says a lot in itself and it’s a fun, relaxing atmosphere in which to work.” Pete Southwood, Sales Executive
Happy, healthy staff are the key to any successful business. Winchester Caravans and Motorhomes has always maintained a team-oriented environment that enables employees to pull together at busy times and support each other when needed.
Throughout the lockdown periods when the business had to close its doors, the managers kept in touch with their staff to ensure they were keeping well and coping with the uncertainty of being off work. They kept staff informed and as soon as any updates were available, these were communicated to keep everyone in the loop. When the showroom was able to reopen in April everyone was keen to return!
Recipe for success
We were crowned the Best Supplying Dealer of New Caravans in the 2020 Owner Satisfaction Awards. This is one of the most coveted awards and is proof of the high levels of customer service that we provide our customers with. We also achieved Gold Award status for the second year running with a show-stopping score of 91.4%. Across all categories, Gold and Silver Awards are also awarded to high achieving companies that show quality and consistency.
The results are based completely on customer experience, coming from thousands of Club members and readers of Practical Motorhome and Practical Caravan magazines who completed the 2020 Owner Satisfaction Survey which gives customers the opportunity to have their say on their leisure vehicles, related products and buying/after sales experience.
2018 saw Winchester Caravans win Best Supplying Dealer of Pre-owned Caravans with a whopping score of 99.4%, an almost perfect score.
Our workshop is NCC-approved and run by fully-qualified caravan servicing professionals, giving our customers complete peace of mind. The scheme is so sure of its standards, that they guarantee all repairs for a minimum of six months. As an NCC-approved workshop, we also meet high standards of competency and comply with an industry Code of Practice.
Partnering with the best
We work in partnership with two of the biggest manufacturers in the industry - Bailey and Swift - which allows us to bring our customers the very best leisure vehicles year in, year out. In addition to new caravans, last year we also became an official dealership for new Bailey motorhomes too, adding yet another string to our bow and an even greater choice for our customers.
We like to reward our staff for their hard work and to ensure they feel valued. As well as competitive salaries, we also offer a bonus scheme, a contributory pension and staff discount in our accessory shop. We provide free car parking, free tea and coffee and a spacious kitchen / rest area for staff to use during their breaks.
In addition to this, we also encourage our staff to borrow pre-owned caravans from our stock - not only does this provide them with the chance to enjoy an affordable trip away with the accommodation sorted, but it also allows them to to gain first-hand experience of caravanning, building up their knowledge of what we sell.
Investing in our staff
We’re always keen to invest in staff that show willingness to learn and the desire to progress. We’ve put many members of staff through different types of training and are open to suggestions from staff during their personal development reviews. Many members of our management team initially joined the company in more junior roles and have worked their way up, which is something that we encourage.
We’ve recently taken on a new Caravan and Customer Service Technician as part of the national apprenticeship programme. Harry joined us in April and is busy learning the ropes in our workshop. Harry will receive a full programme of training in caravan and motorhome maintenance and customer care over the next few years.
A few words from our staff...
“The team is absolutely fantastic. Everyone gets on so well and the atmosphere is very relaxed. We all pull together and help each other during busy or difficult times and provide support whenever it’s needed. It’s great!”
Zoe Hall, Sales Executive
“When I joined the team, I was welcomed immediately into the family and everyone was so friendly. It really is like no other workplace; I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to work with!”
Lewis Bridge, Shop Manager
“The workshop team is great; they’re such a nice bunch of people. We’re like a big family and everyone is always keen to help each other, which is not always the norm and should be appreciated!”
Richard Parfitt, Caravan Engineer
“The atmosphere and rapport between the staff and the customers - they’ve got it just right. Everyone knows everyone and they’re extremely welcoming to new customers too, putting them at ease with their laid back approach. There’s a lot of friendly camaraderie, which makes it a really fun place to be!”
Russell Farrington, Sales/Technical Executive
What do our customers say?
“We’ve ventured into other dealerships for a nose in the past, but a trip to one of the local competitors reinforced to us that no one can beat the service offered by Winchester Caravans & Motorhomes - they really cannot do enough for you!”
“I can't rate this place highly enough. All the staff are really amazing, really personable customer service. On handover, they took their time and explained everything to us and the caravan itself is spot on. Definitely worth a visit.”
“Right from the start we felt at ease. We’ve always dealt with James Mainwaring, the sales manager; he’s friendly and approachable every time we visit or if we get in touch with a query. He’s helpful in every situation and has a lot of knowledge, built up from years in the industry.”
“Excellent knowledgeable and really helpful staff. Nothing but praise for the helpful service we received. Competitive prices and comprehensive stock held too. Highly recommended!”
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