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Customer Spotlight: Mr and Mrs Smith

Long-time Ron Brooks customers Betty and Lawrence (Lol for short) Smith kindly agreed to an interview for Ron Brooks news, talking about the experiences they’ve had at Ron Brooks.

Between the two of them, Betty and Lol have purchased 9 cars from Ron Brooks over the past 8 years and have recently taken delivery of a brand new ‘16’ plate RAV4 Hybrid, which is much bigger than the previous Yaris Hybrid and AYGOs they’ve had from us.

A bigger car than they’ve had before

“We’ve had various sizes of cars, but this is wider than any of the others that we’ve had” says Betty. This size of the RAV4 hybrid doesn’t make it difficult to handle on the Road, though.

“The RAV is very nice, it’s lovely, it’s nice to drive” Betty continued. “It’s very easy to drive” says Lol.

One problem they’ve found is sticking to speed limits because the RAV4’s power is more than they are used to.

You don’t realise the speed you’re doing because it’s so quiet. It’s very easy to (not deliberately) go over the limit, it’s very powerful. It’s handy going up the hill into Alfreton though!”

The pair are no strangers to hybrid cars, and Betty has had two Yaris Hybrids in recent years.

“I’m fine with hybrid. Once you’ve got used to your gearstick, which it isn’t really a gear stick in a sense, you just flick it into “D” and that’s it, you’re off”. Lol took a bit more convincing but was eventually won round with the RAV4 hybrid:

“I stuck to the old school. I stick it in gear and go”. This is true of lots of customers who’ve never tried hybrid before the RAV4 hybrid came along in January this year.

Betty and Lawrence Smith with RAV4 Hybrid
Betty and Lol with Sales Executive Lee

9 Cars in 8 years, 7 from Lee Hallam

Lee struggles to remember all of the cars they’ve had, with the pair’s Ron Brooks car history going all the way back to 2008. Betty and Lol weren’t though: “the first one was a pale blue Yaris, 1000cc, 3-door” said Betty. That car was for her, as Lol was sticking with a Renault he had at the time. It didn’t take him long to make the move into a Toyota however, and was soon driving a previous generation AYGO, which Lee also sold to them. “We had another blue one, a silver one, a white one and a brown one”.

“1 of them was from Rob and 1 from Mark, I think Lee was on holiday, but the rest are all from Lee”.

This is testament to the service that Lee has provided over the years, branded as “marvellous” by Lol. Betty Jokes: “He’s the worst Salesman you’ve got, that’s why we’ve had 9 cars in 7 years!”

Obviously the pair change their cars more often than most, though Betty did keep one of her Yaris for 2 years. But what was Lol’s favourite along the way?
“The favourite of mine was the new shape AYGO I had. There was a good engine in that. A really good engine, can’t complain about that. I had that one for a year. Good car.”

From 2 Toyotas to 1 Toyota

Betty and Lol have recently gone down to one car, trading in a Yaris and an AYGO for a RAV4. Lee planted the seed that this might be a good idea, having gone through a similar process with his father.

“We talked about it a long while ago, but we decided to leave it – I was quite happy with what I’d got at the time” says Betty.

Service Department at Toyota Mansfield

Buying a car is only part of the ownership process, and servicing is just as important.

“The Service department here is very, very good” says Lol.

“Big tall Mark [Workshop Controller Mark Radcliffe], he’s alright, and the others are alright as well, never had any trouble with them”.

“Put it this way: if there was trouble, they’d be told. We’d go straight to the top!”

Lol continued:

“The general atmosphere is good, friendly, always made welcome each time we come. The coffee is quite good too, and you also get a biscuit”.

Betty and Lawrence Smith

What do you use your Toyota for?

Toyota cars are good a lots of things, but many people have specific needs and requirements from a car. Betty and Lol regularly use their Toyota for going on holiday.

“We’ve been to Northumberland twice and we’re going again in May. We’ve also been to Wales. We’ve never had any trouble with a Toyota while we’ve been away”.

What originally brought you through the door at Ron Brooks Mansfield?

Like many of our customers, Betty and Lol had a bad experience at another local dealership and they were looking to be treated a bit better when buying a car. Ron Brooks certainly fitted the bill when they first visited our dealership in 2008.

“There was another manufacturer that we had been dealing with. We won’t go into the details because that’s not very nice but we weren’t getting the service or the individual attention at the time we were buying a car. Not that that was a deal breaker, but they had a ‘couldn’t care less’ attitude. Lol then decided that we’d go and have a look at Toyotas… and then we met Lee. He attended to the business and us.”

What kept you coming back?

Sales Executive Lee Hallam was clearly a major factor in their repeat business, and Betty and Lol gave a glowing reference to one of our most experienced Sales Team members. Betty says:

“He’s very personable, you can get on with Lee. What you see is what you get, he doesn’t change which is nice.”

Lol continued: “they’re very good here. Very, very good. And I’ve been to plenty of dealerships round here.”

“We’ve been fortunate that we’re able to do it. Had we not been able to our cars will probably have lasted a lot longer. Your circumstances dictate how often you change your car.”

What do you value the most when you’re buying a car?

“Reliability. Comfort. Servicing and value for money. When you get those things usually everything else comes with it.”

This is the reality of buying a car from Ron Brooks. Price is not the main factor in a customer’s decision to come to us in the first place, and it’s certainly not the main factor in their decision to buy again and again. All our cars, both new and used, offer the reliability, quality, comfort and value for money that customers desire, and it’s certainly kept Lol and Betty happy for many years.

Lee certainly agreed with the factors that Lol and Betty chose. He says:

“A lot of people think that everybody buys on price, but the reality is people don’t buy on price, because if everybody did then we’d all be driving around in the same little car that’s as cheap as possible to buy and run. People always want a good deal, but price isn’t normally the main factor. People want the latest technology, the latest cars and the best service”.

Would you recommend us to family and friends?

Betty says “I always recommend you to family and friends. Always.”

“But you can’t force them into it.” Lol continues. “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink!”

The RAV4 Hybrid is the latest in a long line of cars that Betty and Lol have purchased from Ron Brooks over the last 8 years. We are very thankful to them for agreeing to this interview and their repeated custom.

Who knows… Perhaps next time they’ll be tempted by a Toyota C-HR?