Motability Specialists aren't salespeople.....they're the people in the dealership who are trained to provide specialist support and advice to customers with a disability and their families. Roger Brocklesby has been a Motability Scheme specialist for over 20 years. In this article, Roger shares his 'real world' experience as a Motability specialist, explaining what a typical day is like for him in the showroom at JCT600 Volkswagen in Hull.
It’s 07:30, and I am woken by the birds tweeting outside…don’t be silly, we have a four-year-old boy in the house. It’s “DADDY!” at 06:20 every morning!
It’s always Daddy in a morning. We proceed to the toilet together to relieve our bladders. Whilst doing so I listen to his dreams from the night. Last night was a flying giraffe that flew through his window landing on his bed. “Shake it” I say, and it’s downstairs for our morning routine.
My doting wife is straight in the shower leaving me and the giraffe dreamer to have breakfast together. We run a tight ship Monday to Friday. In fact, it’s almost regimental. Two bowls, one with one Weetabix, the other bowl with two Weetabix. Glass of water for the non-shaker and a hot brew for the shaker. Whilst discussing whether or not giraffes eat Weetabix, I check the weather on my phone.
I’m a cyclist (don’t hate me) and I like to see how windy it will be. Lovely back wind, so it’s a high five to the boy and I give him the bad news that giraffes don’t eat Weetabix.
Fast forward 10 minutes of Paw Patrol and random four-year-old chat, and my wife’s downstairs and also smashing into her two Weetabix.
All showered, dressed and they both leave for school and nursery. My wife works as a teaching assistant and the nursery is next door. It's a 15-minute walk, or 25 if there's any twigs to collect en route.
My wind assisted ride is helped this morning by some 90’s indie tunes via my Air Pods. Not too loud though, as I like to listen out for traffic. 5.3 miles and 24 minutes later and I’m pulling into work. Straight forward commute today thankfully. The head wind on the journey home is at the back of my mind.
Lock my bike up, quick "hello" to the technicians near the bike shed and it’s into work. Straight back out as forgot my mask. 9 out of 10 times I forget it as it’s always in my frame bag. Mask on and in.
Pack up in the fridge, a quick "good morning" to everyone and then I head to my desk.
Turn the computer on, change my trainers for some shoes, a big drink of water and we are off. Showing my age here, but less than five minutes later I’m at the urinal!
Roger Brocklesby, Motability Specialist At JCT600 Hull
Motability is a great scheme that has helped millions of people. It was established in the 1970’s and today it supports over 600,000 people with disabilities stay mobile by leasing affordable cars, scooters and powered wheelchairs to those in receipt of the higher rate Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment.
Interesting morning ahead. One Motability customer is collecting his new electric Volkswagen ID.3 so I go to the valet shed and drive it round the front of the showroom. Whilst doing so I try and guess what music they like by tuning the radio. I’m quite good at that!
The cars all polished, fully charged and taxed. He is new to the Motability Scheme so there’s lots to discuss. Owing to COVID-19 we are unable to sit in the car with customers to show them all the controls, so a video was emailed over 24 hours ago detailing the essentials.
He drives away very happy, so I go to collect my second handover of the day. A rare Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace seven-seater. I sent this customer an introduction video 36 hours ago showing them all the controls, which they tell me was very useful and easy to follow.
My second customer of the day drives away and so I move their previous Motability car to our rear compound. It has a very low mileage so I anticipate it’s already been sold by Motability to another garage and will be collected quickly. We put all the keys for the returned ‘ex-Motability’ cars in the same area of the key cupboard so they are easy to find and I keep a note on my desk of cars and key numbers for when I’m not around.
There are a few emails to reply to and phone calls to return. One customer wants to know how long it will take to get hold of a new Volkswagen Golf GTD. I advise that if I ordered it today, and then I didn’t shave until it arrived, I would look like Forest Gump! He was from London and ringing round all dealers. We had a little chat about football, and I wished him luck. We have 7 Volkswagen franchises in the JCT600 group and I can see all their stock on our systems, but as the Mk 8 Golf GTD is relatively new and was only added to the Motability Scheme on 1st April they’re currently rarer than hens teeth!
The next call is a sad one. I’m told that a customer has had their Personal independence Payment (PIP) reduced by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), meaning they’ll have to hand their Motability car back. It’s horrible to hear them getting upset, but we agree a day for them to return their car back to us. I would normally offer them a lift home, but we can’t at the moment because of COVID-19 guidelines.
Right then, next it’s lunch. The days of 8 members of staff all sat together in the canteen are out the window currently so it’s two in there only sat diagonally. A technician is already in there eating something fishy so it’s an about turn and lunch at my desk!
I take a pack up every day and always eat the same thing I did when I started over 20 years ago!* I catch up with Sky Sports News on my phone whilst eating and emailing. Another large water and another urinal trip quickly follows.
I have agreed to pop next door to one of our commercial vehicle showrooms to help them with the new paperless system we have just put in place. It’s a big change but it’s a great system that the IT team have installed. Until the Wi-Fi fails that is, but thankfully that’s very rare.
A car transporter has dropped off 8 brand new cars while I was there. 3 are for my Motability customers...WOOHOO! I send videos to each customer to show them that their new car has arrived. I try and make the videos unique to each customer, adding a bit of fun and excitement during these strange times.
I had an appointment with a customer at 14.30 but they ring to say that they are not feeling well and we agree postpone until next week. I wish them well and carry on with emails.
I find it really rewarding to be in a position where I can genuinely improve peoples’ lives. To be a Motability Specialist I think you need to be natural listener and a great communicator. Every Motability customer has different requirements, so you have to be the kind of person who can empathise and understand what the customer and their family needs to be able to work out what kind of vehicle will suit them best for the next 3 years.
My mobile phone vibrates so it must be 15.40-ish. This is master giraffe on his way home with a daily FaceTime to inform me of something that is usually random and funny. He handled three baby chicks at nursery today so he was very excited, and he tells me he wants us to have one at home!
My next job is a love/hate one. I regularly get in touch with customers to update them with the latest estimated delivery dates for their vehicle from the Volkswagen factory. The pandemic has caused so many delays and loads of havoc, and as the bearers of bad news Motability Specialists up and down the county have been getting plenty of stick, so keeping customers updated is important. It's tough though informing someone that the Motability car they ordered five months ago still has no provisional build date. Arrrgghhh!
More emails, a Facebook post and it’s home time. No Motability orders today but it’s still been productive as two enquiries from earlier have booked appointments for the coming days. I change shoes whilst my computer shuts down and a chap with trade plates is at my desk to collect the ex-Motability car that was returned earlier. Wow that was quick! He has a Liverpool accent, so we have a little bit of Football chat and he’s on his way. My mouth sags as the realisation hits that I have that head wind to contend with on my way home.
I text my wife to say I’m leaving, pop my headphones in and it’s some more 90’s bangers to help me pedal home.
We go again tomorrow.
* For anyone interested, for over 20 years my daily pack up has been a ham sandwich, chocolate biscuit, a bag of crisps, an apple and a bag of raw carrots.