Škoda Challenge chooses the best of the best

Škoda Challenge chooses the best of the best

Only the best is good enough for our customers! The motto of the founders of Laurin & Klement is still a guiding principle for Škoda today. That’s why the Czech carmaker devotes a lot of attention to training its dealers and service technicians. Every year, the best of them compare their skills and knowledge in an international competition.

26. 7. 2023 Škoda World

The Škoda sales and service network is the Czech carmaker’s most important point of contact with its customers. That makes it extremely important to ensure that this global network spanning over 60 countries is staffed by true professionals working for and with customers.

eMobility has brought new categories to the Škoda Challenge, such as high-voltage expert.

“Our educational activities don’t just focus on technical and commercial knowledge, they also provide training on delivering the best possible service for the customer, who is always at the centre of everything we do. Working in a Škoda dealership or service means being an empathetic and educated professional with a human approach – we call this the Human Touch,” says Stanislav Pekař, head of After Sales. Škoda service and sales network staff training takes various forms: employees can study online independently; they can make use of online training courses; or, of course, they can take part in face-to-face training, demonstrations and practical tests.

Worldwide competition

The Czech carmaker also lets members of its sales and service network compete against each other. This year brought the global final of the twelfth Škoda Challenge. The competition is open to representatives from all markets, who compete in individual categories such as service advisor, salesperson, mechanic, diagnostician etc. There is also a team category for the whole country.

The Škoda Challenge tests the team players’ various skills. This is the mechanics’ station with all the necessary diagnostic tools.

“Nearly 200 finalists from almost 30 countries participated in this year’s 12th Škoda Challenge, competing in 10 individual and two team challenges. The team prize went to the Škoda branch in Slovakia, where employees usually do well in the individual challenges as well. All the participants demonstrated their knowledge and skills, but also their understanding of our core values, commitment, team spirit, fair play and much more,” said Stanislav Pekař, looking back on this year’s final.

Škoda Challenge winners’ reactions

How do this year’s Škoda Challenge winners see their jobs? The top finishers in the Sales and Service Advisor categories tell us about their work.

Sebastian Koch (Germany) – winner, New Car Sales category

Sebastian has been a member of the Škoda family since 2007. “When a customer buys a car, he immediately sees what he has invested his money in, and that makes him happy,” he says, explaining what he enjoys about his job as a salesman. Sebastian writes blog articles and makes YouTube videos for customers and fans of the brand. “The car tests on YouTube, especially the comments below them, are an important source of independent study for me,” he says, describing how he looks after his professional development. The fact that the first customer Sebastian sold a car to still buys cars from him today, even though he lives over 400 kilometres away, just shows how good at his job he is.

Sebastian Koch

Daniel Roier (Austria) – winner, Service Advisor category

Daniel Roier has been working as a service advisor for Škoda cars since 2022, but his experience with Volkswagen Group cars dates back to 2011. “The most important things about my job is contact with the customer and the fact that I am constantly educating myself about technical solutions for our cars,” he says. “My job is to find a balance between what the customer wants, what our service technicians need and what the importer or my supervisor wants. Every day I have to meet the demands and needs of all these groups of people and not take things too personally,” he says. As well as constantly educating himself about the smallest details of all Škoda cars, he says that having a desire to communicate with customers and a willingness to develop his personal skills are absolutely crucial in his job.

Daniel Roier

New challenges linked to eMobility

The opportunity to try out certain procedures in practice is particularly important with the intensive rise of electromobility, which requires a slightly different approach to servicing than traditional cars with internal combustion engines. “It's not only when servicing Škoda electric cars that we use the latest equipment and procedures. But it’s important to learn how to do everything safely and efficiently. In our academy, employees can learn about everything in a safe environment. This is where the path to becoming true experts on servicing electric vehicles begins,” explains Dana Plath, head of Sales and After Sales Training.

Painting is one of the disciplines at the Škoda Challenge.

“We try to use state-of-the-art solutions and incorporate gamification features, all kinds of quizzes and other interactive elements into the training to maximise the potential for learning and know-how transfer. Explaining the Human Touch watchword that guides the Czech carmaker’s activities is another important part of the training. Every Škoda salesperson and service technician must understand the principles of Human Touch. Everyone who comes into contact with customers must know how we work and what effect it has when we treat the customer in the correct Škoda way,” adds Markéta Honzíková, who deals with training for sales and aftercare staff.

The Škoda Challenge really puts the various specialists through their paces.

Škoda also makes extensive use of feedback from participants in its training courses and monitors the effectiveness of the training using a number of indicators, but the ultimate indicator is always the success of the given sales network. The Czech carmaker also verifies the most essential knowledge and skills through various tests and requires employees to obtain the necessary certifications.

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