Upon leaving school in 1989, Neil Rafferty joined the Honda team and has been working for the manufacturer for over 23 years. Neil has been with Donnelly Honda in Belfast since the showroom opened in 2008.
DAY IN THE LIFE
I wake up at 7.30am and leave the house at 8.00am so I get ready fairly quickly. I try to have breakfast but it can be difficult if I'm running late. I live in Dunmurray so I normally arrive into work just before 8.30am.
Once I get into work I look at the daily bookings to see what vehicles we have booked in and to make sure everything we need is ready to go. I ensure that all loan vehicles are prepared for the day ahead and liaise with the two service advisors. Customers begin to come into the showroom from 8.30am onwards.
Once all my preparation is complete, I allocate the work out to each technician. I then sort out all warranties, ensuring that the work is carried out both on time and to Donnelly's and Honda's specification. We perform around 25-30 services a day, including general services and vehicle health checks.
During the mid-morning I run reports, carry out service reminders and check the workshop efficiency. Honda UK contact customers after each service to ensure they are happy with the work and we are currently one of the leading dealerships for customer satisfaction in the UK - a great achievement for our team. The Donnelly Group recently celebrated its 65th anniversary so there has been a great buzz around the site.
1pm I try and take my lunch around 1pm. It is more a case of eating when you can, as the customer is our Number One priority. I make my own lunch and bring it in to work with me, so I generally eat in the office.
After around half an hour I go back to work and begin to check the progress of our bookings for the next day. Most of our services are carried out in the morning and early afternoon. I contact the customers, usually by phone, to arrange delivery of the car if they cannot come in the following day. We have many customers in Greater Belfast, for example in Bangor and Newtownards, so this service is availed of regularly.
We have many seasonal offers and so in the afternoon, I write the special offers and monitor their response to see how the customers are reacting. At the moment, we have a free winter health check. This includes a check of tyres, breaks, suspension, steering, batteries, lights, glass etc, which has had a great uptake! I also then look at the new cars coming into the showroom. For each new car we carry out a Pre-Delivery Inspection to ensure that if it needs accessories, that they are here on time. We carry out PDIs every single day.
I generally finish up at 6pm but it depends on how busy the day has been. I have to prepare reports for Honda UK on progress so I can be in work until 7pm some nights. The Donnelly Group, as a whole, would also host many events in the evenings, including our recent exclusive launch of the Honda CR-V at each of our Honda showrooms.
My evenings are for putting my feet up! During the week I like to relax in the house with my wife. We enjoy going out for dinner and socialising with friends but this generally kept until the weekend.
I try to be in bed for no later than 10pm! I generally read the paper or browse on my IPad in the evenings ready to do it all over again tomorrow!
Donnelly Honda is part of the Donnelly Group and is situated at Boucher Road, Belfast. Donnellys has seven sites across Northern Ireland. For more information contact Donnelly Honda on 028 9044 5900 or visit www.donnellygroup.co.uk