I have been a vintage British car fan since the days before they were considered vintage. Fate and career choices of adulthood delayed my craving for a Little British Car until 1997, when I moved to Santa Barbara. There, I chased down a car wonderfully suited to the local narrow roads and my short commute. Acquiring a 1969 MGB and a need for LBC parts and advice, I soon frequented the parts showroom at Moss Motors, located in the neighboring town of Goleta since the early 60s. Both the parts and also the technical knowledge of the Moss staff kept my love of British cars alive and my MG on the road.
Fast-forward to 2012. My 30-year computer-programming career ended ahead of schedule, and I was free to pursue new and more socially fulfilling ways of making a living. I’m also the proud owner of a Spitfire and a TR6 now as well.
Too old for the Peace Corps, I decided to send Moss my resume. Shortly after an interview with the Sales Manager I was hired as a part-time Sales Consultant. In addition to being paid to talk with others about British Cars, I would learn, directly, the inner workings of Moss Motors, in particular, the sales force.
Moss has been training rookie Sales Consultants for a long, long time, and the educational process is well established and effective. The Road to Moss Phone Sales begins with two days working in the warehouse. During this time, the rookie learns the layout—the most frequently ordered parts take the shortest time to retrieve—and, more importantly, gets a close-up look at how their Shipping/Receiving and Order Quality Assurance teammates (whose on-the-job efficiency and accuracy reflects that of the Sales Force) perform their jobs.
Next, the rookie proceeds to Telephone Sales Training. The Sales Team Leader teaches the basics of taking telephone orders in a friendly, accurate, and efficient manner. Given the depth of the Moss Motors product line of more than 30,000 part numbers, this is easier to describe than it is to do. So I will give you an overview.
Every new Moss Sales Consultant must master the five-step Order Taking task before flying solo in Moss Sales:
1) Identify the customer’s data record and car type for which parts are needed.
2) Assist the customer in ordering the exactly correct parts.
3) Enter the order and correct payment information accurately into the Moss Order Processing software.
4) Proceed in the friendliest possible manner.
5) Do this as quickly as possible so that the wait time for other Moss customers on hold is minimized.
Time and experience at Moss Motors is the best training. After initial training, new Sales Consultants are partnered with a veteran until they are judged capable of successfully executing sales orders on their own. It’s really remarkable how long some of these men and women have been working at Moss. I guess this helps explain why some of our customers are proud to tell us they’ve been calling us for parts for 10, 20, even 40 years or more.
In between sales calls, Sales Team members work on special projects: tracking an overdue shipment, helping a garage mechanic identify from emailed photos an unknown car part so that a replacement can be ordered, or working with Moss Technical Services to determine why a shipped part does not fit the customer’s car. Suffice to say, Sales Team members’ workdays pass by quickly.
Since I started I’ve learned much about British Cars, Moss Motors, and my relationship to both:
1) The founders and owners of Moss Motors created and continue to execute an amazing company dedicated to keeping vintage British cars up and running and their owners pleased with our quality and service.
2) British Car owners and mechanics are great and appreciative people to serve.
3) I really do like helping people enjoy their LBCs.
4) The Moss Sales Consultant job is similar to installing your first pair of Weber carburetors: First, sort out the big issues; next, you master the big adjustments; finally, you ‘dial in’ all of the (many) small adjustments, one at a time. With enough practice, both the engine and the phone call run smoothly.
I hope that the story of my journey from in front of to behind the counter shines a little light into the Moss Motors Sales operation—at least enough to help you to realize how much we appreciate, and how hard we work for, all of our customers.
By Rick Reeves