BestDrive Italia network turns 10

Tools to attract and retain customers, managerial and technical training courses, digital processes and marketing strategies. These are the cornerstones on which BestDrive has been built, a network that, after 10 years, can boast 250 affiliates scattered throughout Italy. "Our goal,” says Dario De Vito, general manager Conti Trade Italia, "is to offer a franchise that meets the needs of entrepreneurs and at the same time helps the sector develop quality touch points for the end consumer”.
Dario De Vito, general manager Conti Trade ItaliaWhat is the analysis of these first ten years in Italy and what are the network's future growth prospects?
"I would say more than positive. BestDrive is the brand that Continental uses worldwide to identify its network of specialist dealers. We opened our first shop in Italy in 2013 with a franchise formula aimed, at the beginning of this adventure, at tyre dealers only and limited to the car segment. Over the years we expanded our offer to include, at first the haulage segment, and then also mechanical workshops. Our approach places the end consumer at the centre of the offer, providing our partners with tools to better explore their customer’s needs on the one hand and enriching their portfolio on the other. In time we have invested in training and skills development, introduced innovative processes and digitised existing ones, resulting in a complex approach with the ultimate goal to help entrepreneurs who choose BestDrive to diversify their offer and gain greater competitiveness. A key role in this has been played by our field specialists, our BestDrive consultants. Their work in supporting the entrepreneur, explaining the content of the programmes, has facilitated the growth of many centres as well as the expansion of the services offered, helping to establish true 'multi-service' centres.
You mentioned offers proposed by BestDrive to its affiliates. Can you explain what these are?
"Our programme provides a step-by-step path according to the willingness of entrepreneurs who decide to become franchisees. A garage can choose the specific area it wishes to improve and what skills and services to offer its customers. Specifically, BestDrive has tailor-made programme centred around the needs of the tyre dealer as well as for the truck segment. In both cases, there are two paths: a more advanced one, for those who want to structure their business in a more complex way, and a more basic one. Recently, we have added a new specially designed offer for mechanical workshops. In practice, we look out for and satisfy the different needs of dealers by proposing solutions that take into account the needs of the local market and allow each franchisee to be comfortable with our formula".
How important is training for your franchisees and what does it consist of?
"Training plays a fundamental role and concerns both managerial and technical aspects. What we provide to entrepreneurs and their staff are targeted courses that focus on customer reception and management, the use of tools for cross-selling and up-selling, and communication. On the other hand, concerning technical aspects, thanks to a series of agreements with some specialized training organisations, we provide operators with courses to acquire certified skills, such as mechatronics”.
An ongoing issue within the industry is the search for personnel. Many workshops struggle to find people to employ. How do you as a network support your franchisees?
"The search for specialised personnel is a hot topic within the industry. As BestDrive, we have been, for some time now, establishing agreements with technical schools promoting a combined schooling and working experience, offering them the opportunity to carry out apprenticeships within the network partners interested in the projects. In addition, we have activated communities within our websites, one of which is Arya, in which BestDrive members can communicate these needs and perhaps exchange information on how to look for professionals”.
You recently joined Federpneus: what made you decide to join the association of tyre specialists?
"Our desire to join Federpneus had been there for some time, but before taking this step we thought of completing our own growth project. Today we have a more mature network which is representative of the Italian business community, so we felt the time had come to join the association to represent the demands of our sector".