With over 100 dealer sites and 3000 people across the UK, the Mercedes-Benz Vans head office always faced the challenge of communicating effectively with its distributed network of dealers.
When they became a River Software customer back in 2005, Mercedes-Benz Vans had a mission to introduce a platform to bring together its network of people into one community.
While each dealer group is responsible for their own core HR and communications, there is still a whole host of information that needs to be shared by Mercedes-Benz Vans. This includes new product details, marketing campaigns, the latest incentives, training, showroom guidelines, company updates, customer feedback – the list goes on.
Most organisations with similar communication needs tend to opt for email, distributing information in the form of company newsletters or posters to display in common areas. However, the disadvantage of email is the limited visibility around content engagement and the lack of email access for a large part of the workforce. The answer to improving communications and engagement across Mercedes-Benz Vans’ dealer network was their Rippl platform, ‘Van Stars’.
Building genuine connections
Commenting on the importance of Van Stars during the pandemic, Mercedes-Benz Vans’ PR & Internal Communications Manager said: “For me, it was the only real positive social media channel that I went on through the pandemic because everything else was doom and gloom”.
This quote refers to Rippl's social timeline, which enables dealers to communicate and build genuine connections with colleagues, who they would have not otherwise had the opportunity to engage with.
Whilst the pandemic created a turbulent experience for dealer staff, their Rippl platform became an outlet to share what was going on. This included inspiring stories about how the retailers supported their local communities, such as teams pulling together to make vital vehicles available for the NHS.
In circumstances where employees were furloughed, individuals were recognised and appreciated for stepping up to manage the increased workload without complaint. When times were tough, or lockdowns were announced, there was an abundance of content posted to lift spirits, motivate people and put smiles on their faces.
As strong advocates for the platform, senior stakeholders at head office relied on the tool as a channel to communicate their appreciation for their people during challenging times.
Facilitating recognition and reward
Mercedes-Benz Vans is passionate about recognition and showcasing their hard-working individuals. For many years, they have organised a celebratory awards’ dinner that brings together all the dealers to announce the winners of that year’s nomination campaign.
Due to the restrictions of 2020, the event went virtual with support from the Rippl platform. Using the “Nominations” feature, users of the platform voted for deserving colleagues in various categories, including 'Customer Dedication' and 'Unsung Hero'. The chosen winners were shared on the social timeline, allowing peers to celebrate the positive and inspiring stories.
The network uses Rippl's recognition and reward features daily. Whether it’s welcoming new starters, rewarding long service, or celebrating fantastic customer feedback, there are ample opportunities and reasons to showcase appreciation up and down the dealer network.
Sharing best practice
One of Rippl's most powerful benefits is that it creates a platform for information and knowledge sharing to provide value for other dealers.
If specific dealers or salespeople have been incredibly successful in hitting sales targets, River Software's communications team will often interview them to uncover their tips and tricks. We then share the knowledge in articles or videos with the rest of the network, creating transparency and positively impacting sales if other teams can benefit from the tips.
On the other hand, the platform is often used as a communication tool when there are issues, and dealers need help or advice. For example, if a service team is urgently looking for a part that they cannot source locally, posting on the Rippl social timeline often leads to dealers pulling together to find a solution.
As a business that naturally relies on sales performance, Mercedes-Benz Vans is always looking for ways to increase motivation to achieve targets. This aim is why the incentives module in Rippl is so essential.
Using the self-service features, administrators of the Rippl platform can build incentives that track performance against targets, putting the teams involved in the relevant league table position. Offering this visibility to the dealer network creates transparency and can motivate salespeople through friendly competition.
The incentives module is used to respond to market changes or business demands to ensure all dealers align with core objectives. For example, Mercedes-Benz Vans launched an incentive to encourage dealers to push a new electric vans product line. Monitoring performance in league tables creates healthy competition between retailers, and salespeople become more driven to achieve.
At the heart of the business
Since its implementation, Van Stars has always been an important part of Mercedes-Benz Vans’ culture. It's always the first port of call for sharing exciting news stories and product information. More importantly, it’s a place of recognition and appreciation for their people. Sharing positivity in this way has developed a close community of dealers despite often being hundreds of miles apart.