Customer Liaison Manager
Julie is now the longest-serving, full-time member of the Southdowns team. It is now 13 years since she first joined the company, so we asked her how her working life has changed.
Q when did you join Southdowns and how has the company
changed in that time?
A Southdowns has changed dramatically since I joined Michael Ayling and his then partner at Double Barn near Bosham, where they were selling a handful of new and used motorhomes and needed some help in the office. I answered an advertisement for a 'Girl Friday', jumped in with both feet and I'm still here!
Q How has your job changed since you joined the company?
A Since 2002, there have been two moves, first to Aldingbourne and then to the current site at Portsmouth and more than 30 new members of staff. I am now based at the new service centre in Quartremaine Road rather than on the showroom reception desk and am responsible for dealing with customers on a daily basis, fulfilling orders for Rimor, Laika and Concorde motorhome parts.
I've been juggling lots of different jobs since I started with the company. Life is never dull and I'm never bored. My role can be frustrating because I can't always get through my 'to do' list for the day when the phone keeps ringing but I like dealing with people and enjoy getting to know my customers as they come back to us over the years. We don't sell Rimor motorhomes anymore but we still honour our old customers' requirements - I regard it as an important value-added service - and when those customers want a new vehicle they are more likely to buy from us. I still keep the original Southdowns hand-written sales ledger under my desk if anyone would like to take a look!
Q Ten years is a long time with the same company, so what has
made you stay?
A Despite the steady expansion of the company, I really like the fact that Southdowns still keeps some of its original family feel. We always celebrate birthdays and other special occasions - everyone knows everyone else and that makes us all feel part of a team - and that's even more important now we're working on two different sites.
Julie still lives in Sidlesham with her husband Martin. Since we last spoke to her, her son Mark has become CEO of dental charity Bridge2Aid in Tanzania and has just adopted his third child, Benji. Her younger son Neil, who is head of Key Stage Three at Bishop Luffa School in Chichester, is soon to get married.