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Confessions of a Golden Butler

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Xiao E Zhang – Service Advisor, Porsche Centre Shanghai Minhang

Who do you call when it is late at night, and you run into an emergency?

For one of my clients, the person that came to mind – the person she trusted to comfort and support her during a tricky situation – was me.

I woke up one morning to find two missed calls on my phone. I called back to hear the familiar voice of my client, sobbing as she recounted the terrifying car accident that she had been in at 2am. As I comforted her, I felt like I was talking not to a client, but a good friend.

This client is one of the many client-turned-friends I made over the four years in my position as Service Advisor at the Porsche Centre Shanghai Minhang. Serving as the foremost point of contact to customers coming to the centre for their vehicle maintenance needs, I view cultivating trust as the top maneuver in my playbook. Whether it is with clients or internally, trust is truly worth its weight in gold, as it brings greater efficiencies, customer loyalty, and ultimately improvements to the bottom line.

Trust, incidentally, is also one of the core values at Jebsen. Because Jebsen Group understands the significance of trust to the business, it has designated “Golden Butlers” at each Porsche Centre who have the more specialised responsibility of forging relationships with customers, building and sustaining the deep emotional bonds that keep customers coming back – on top of performing regular Service Advisor duties.

What does this look like in action? Firstly, it means taking an authentic interest in each customer, learning and remembering their habits, expectations, even birthdays and anniversaries. I make time for clients when they come to the centre and talk about things that matter to them, whether it is their cars, kids or latest vacation. My value lies not only in my knowledge of our products and service capabilities but also my ability to offer both personalised service and genuine friendship.

Sometimes being a Golden Butler requires a bit of mindreading. A customer once came in, already wary of us due to bad experiences with other centres in the past. I listened beyond his harsh words and really tried to hear all the anxiety he could not articulate. After a lot of reassurance from me, he eventually decided to trust us and purchased a two-year extended warranty. This was in itself reason to celebrate. But the true win came for me later when, after a service hiccup in which we took longer than expected to fix his car, this hard-earned trust was left undented. If anything, the customer appreciated the sincere attention, care, and sense of urgency we showed towards addressing his needs.

Within the team, trust is also the oil that allows our operation to run smoothly. While I facilitate appointments, work orders, quality inspections and follow-up visits, I also make sure I have allies among the miracle workers behind the scenes – supervisors and mechanics in the workshop. Mutual trust between the frontline and technical team is key to successful service delivery, and I foster this by showing my colleagues the same empathy and friendship I do to clients. I am thankful to have found myself a home away from home at Jebsen, where relationships are built and colleagues become family.

After her car accident, my client decided to buy another Porsche vehicle.

“Why?” I asked, pleased she chose us again though curious what drove her decision. I had been spending a lot of time helping her slowly recover from the traumatic experience.

She hugged me and said, “Because you are here.”

It is small gestures like these that give meaning to my life and work, and I would not trade these moments for all the gold in the world.

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