DTNA announces improvements to Elite Support program

Lucas Deal

November 17, 2013

The Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) network of Elite Support Certified dealers has agreed on new criteria for ongoing certification, promising a superior customer service experience at certified dealers. The decision was announced Saturday during a press conference in Miami.

According to DTNA, Elite Support is based on successful continuous improvement practices and focuses on enhancing dealership processes that address customer concerns, leading to higher standards of customer satisfaction throughout the DTNA network.

Friedrich Baumann, senior vice president, aftermarket at DTNA, says the Elite Support program is just one of the ways DTNA is working to lead the North American heavy-duty truck market.

“To be the undisputed market leader, we also have to be an aftermarket leader,” he says.

The Elite Support Dealer Network does that by collecting feedback from the current 122 certified dealers on initiative improvements. The ones determined to have the most positive value networkwide were added to the standard. The new standard raises the number of criteria that dealerships must measure themselves against from 135, covering areas of customer service, turnaround times, overall quality of workmanship, rapid diagnosis, consistent communication and robust parts availability.

“We’re very proud of where Elite Support has come in less than four years, but these new standards are not the end,” says Jennifer Stevenson, director, distribution development at Daimler Trucks North America. “This collaborative initiative between DTNA and our dealerships will continue to raise network standards so our end customers benefit from improved customer service across the whole network.”

DTNA says new criteria adopted include enhanced tracking standards for Express Assessment, which is designed to deliver the customer with an accurate service diagnosis, availability of needed parts, estimated cost and estimated repair time all within two hours of the service write-up.

Other additions include improved stocking of mission-critical parts, new web-based training for all staff, formalized change management team processes, and a new set of standards for truck sales and delivery processes, the company says.

Dealer certification takes an average of eight months. DTNA says some of the major steps are:

• Orientation for dealer ownership and general managers

• Completion of a self-assessment by the dealership Change Management Team

• Completion of a two-day Elite Support boot camp

• Completion of a three-day Continuous Improvement Coordinator level 1 course

• Completion of all Elite Support requirements by dealership

• Validation of standards by an independent company to achieve certification

• Post certification, dealers are required to complete quarterly continuous improvement

events and monthly audits along with specific monthly metric tracking

• Annual recertification

“Elite Support is a truly dealer-driven initiative, and it’s great to see our dealer network pushing to be even more competitive,” says Stevenson. “Their participation and high-level engagement is what makes this initiative sustainable for the long-term, with on-going improvements for all of our customers to experience.”

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