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MITSUBISHI dealer staff from Queensland and Western Australia were the standout performers in the Japanese brand’s annual service skills program held late last year.

John Blaine from Ross Gray Mitsubishi in Bundaberg was crowned National Sales Skills Champion and Grant Cavanagh from Keystar Mitsubishi in Morayfield (North Brisbane) won the coveted Technician of the Year award, while Daniel Kenevin from Paceway Mitsubishi in Osborne Park (Perth) secured the Service Adviser of the Year award.

The awards were presented by Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited (MMAL) chief executive John Signoriello at the conclusion of the 2017 National Skill Competition Final in Adelaide last month.

The winners were among the top five dealer staff in each category brought together for the final, following regional testing in a program that involved around 640 service advisers, 1120 technicians and more than 245 sales staff.

As with similar programs run by other car companies in Australia, MMAL’s skills program is a national training event that fosters and reward excellence in customer service and technical expertise across the brand’s dealer network.

The final required participants to draw on practical skills, product expertise and their ability to solve genuine customer scenarios.

Skill set: National skills champions (from left) Daniel Kenevin (Service Adviser of the Year), Grant Cavanagh (Technician of the Year) and John Blaine (National Sales Skills Champion) with MMAL CEO John Signoriello.

Mr Blaine won the sales consultancy final from Alan Arroyo (Tynan Mitsubishi, NSW), Haiden Gibson (Bendigo Mitsubishi, Vic), Tom Nicolias (North East Mitsubishi, SA) and Dylan Timms (Paceway Mitsubishi, WA).

Mr Cavanagh withstood strong competition from fellow technicians Ben Penetta (Gateway Mitsubishi, NSW), David Mark Taylor (Warragul Mitsubishi, Vic), Paul Clements (Australian Motors Mitsubishi, SA) and Kannan Kumaravadive (John Hughes Mitsubishi, WA), while Mr Kenevin did likewise in the service adviser cohort which included Michael Economos (Zupps Mitsubishi, Qld), Leigh Wakeman (Mornington Mitsubishi, Vic), Jaye Howden (Tuggerah Mitsubishi, NSW) and Keith Campbell (also from Australian Motors).

MMAL deputy director of aftersales Yasuhiro Oda said the program was “one of the ways we encourage our dealership staff to continually improve on their product knowledge, practical skills and ability to deliver exceptional customer service”.

“Mitsubishi is committed to providing a high standard of customer service and expertise to our customers, and that cannot be achieved without developing exceptional dealership staff,” he said.

As GoAuto has reported, Mitsubishi was one of the biggest movers in the recently released 2017 JD Power Customer Service Index Study – an independent assessment of how well customers are treated by dealership staff in the service department.

The triple-diamond brand leapt from ninth position in 2016 – below the industry average – to fourth, with only Mazda, Hyundai and Kia ahead.

This placed it ahead of car companies that have previously excelled in the area of customer service, including Subaru, Toyota and Honda, as well as a host of other mass-market brands such as Ford, Holden, Nissan, Volkswagen, Suzuki and Jeep.

By Terry Martin