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Mot Anxiety

In a blog written earlier this year, we highlighted how women often feel uncomfortable when taking their car to a garage for a service or Mot.  A recent customer came to Simply Serviced with similar feelings of worry and anxiety and, following her experience with us, felt moved to write the following piece.

‘There have been an increasing number of articles in the press highlighting the fact that women feel uncomfortable taking their car to the garage for its service or MoT. According to statistics, at least two-thirds of us feel at a disadvantage either because we don’t have the knowledge to assess the problem ourselves and therefore have to rely on the expertise of the mechanic, or because we feel intimidated by the idea of entering what is often seen as a macho environment.

Certainly, I have had personal experience of being told that I had a hole in my exhaust that needed to be fixed immediately, only to discover, having asked them to defer it for another time (so that I could get a third party to confirm it), that this was not the case. My wariness on that occasion was well placed. However, it is important to remember that not all garages are the same and once you’ve found a good one, it is worth sticking with them.

Having taken my car, with the usual trepidation, to Simply Serviced in Colchester for its Mot I was delighted to be welcomed by smiling faces, a modern and cosy waiting room equipped with tea/coffee, clean mugs(!) and a good selection of magazines. The MoT process was fully explained to me and I was reassured that they were happy to show me any faults that were picked up and give me some options regarding their repair, which they duly did. My car did need a spare part and I was give a choice of several manufacturers so that I could chose how much I wanted to spend.

I went away reassured and delighted to have found somewhere that I would happily take my car for its service in the future’.
— Adrienne, Colchester

If readers have similar experiences that they would like to share via this blog, please get in touch.  I would also be interested to know whether an evening hosted by Simply Serviced whereby the basics of mechanics are explained would be of interest to you, if so let me know.

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Charity begins at...........work.

Recently, the team at Simply Serviced got involved with the ‘Dress Loud’ day organised by Global Radio to raise money for local charities. A worthy cause, as we know, and something that companies can easily get involved with to help support their local community. 

Having decided to do our bit, I was then faced with prospect of convincing a team of burly men that the concept was ‘Dress Loud’ and that they would need to come to work in fancy dress.  Ever the salesman, I managed to sell the idea to them and reassured them that I would source the outfits for the day.   

Days later, whilst sat in traffic, it came to me……Onesies!  A quick trip to Primark provided me with two choices: Minions or Star Wars “Chewbacca”…..mmmmmm, Minions it is.  Through fear of getting lynched, I decided to keep quiet until the day.

The morning of the event, a team meeting was called and I presented them with 7 Minion onesies. Silence fell and then the team exploded with laughter. ‘Brilliant,’ they said ‘we love Minions’ and before I knew it, I was surrounded by a team of happy minions. The team rose to the occasion and stayed in character all day. Customers laughed, the team really enjoyed themselves, and we raised money for several charities across Essex.

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Women uncomfortable when dealing with garages.

Photo by egal/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by egal/iStock / Getty Images

The IMI, the professional body for the UK motor industry, is launching a campaign to give woman clearer guidelines and information about maintaining their cars following a survey that showed that woman are reticent about dealing with motor repair and service garages. 

The recent IMI survey, carried out by Vital Research & Statistics, found that women are reluctant to go to a professional technician because of worries about spiralling costs and not knowing what they were being charged for.  Worrying for the trade is that 17% of women felt that they had been overcharged in the past.

A quarter of women drivers admit to never having their car serviced by a professional mechanic.  They only deal with problems when they show up on their MoT.  Added to that, around 70% of women drivers said that they were reluctant to deal with garages because they were not comfortable with the atmosphere and felt unable to ask questions because they lack the expertise to know whether they are being spun a yarn.  

The IMI’s campaign will address all of these issues to help women care for their cars by giving them the knowledge to deal confidently with garages.  They will also be directed to skilled and trustworthy technicians in their local area through the online IMI Professional Register at www.imiregister.org.uk.  This register will be advertised in women’s magazines and on Mumsnet  and the adverts will link to a series of videos featuring registered technician, Vicky Kempton, and the BBC’s Formula 1 presenter, Suzi Perry.

IMI Chief Executive, Steve Nash believes that there is a massive knowledge gap between the professional and the customer and, unfortunately, there is no Government protection for when things go wrong.  Nash claims that "the IMI Professional Register is the only way consumers can be sure they’re choosing a skilled and trustworthy technician to work on their car.”

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‘If it’s too good to be true….

…then it probably is’!   I recently read an interesting article about price-led offers which reinforces this old saying and I felt compelled to share some of the highlights with you. 

Photo by TimArbaev/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by TimArbaev/iStock / Getty Images

We are continually bombarded with buy one, get one free offers such as half-price MoTs, servicing from just £50, free wiper blades with every service etc., all of which confound the real cost of the service. 

An automotive internet comparison site recently reviewed headline offers comparing them to the final invoice that customers received.  The results from the research were surprising - it found that an average work estimate was about £150, whereas the final invoice averaged £220; an increase of 46%.  For smaller jobs, estimated at £68 on average, the increase was even greater at 56%.

Of course, cars do sometimes need additional work whilst in for a service/MoT, which will have an effect on the final invoice. Also, the specification of a service will vary from garage to garage, which adds to the uncertainty.   

In summary, garages wanting to attract more customers advertise cut price offers.  They also need to make a profit so they find other problems on the car to fix, which results in increases to the final invoice that in turn upsets the end customer.  What a strange circle of events.

So how do we fix this?

Answers on a postcard to…….

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45% of drivers have known faults on their cars!

Photo by Jupiterimages/Photos.com / Getty Images
Photo by Jupiterimages/Photos.com / Getty Images

There is a growing concern about repair standards in the motor industry; the result, according to a survey by Brake and Direct Line, is that almost half (45%) of drivers are driving cars that they know to be faulty.  

Recent research has highlighted that drivers are not carrying out basic and essential vehicle maintenance checks (e.g. tyres/brakes) with more than a quarter not being confident in carrying out the checks themselves. These percentages changed significantly between age groups.

The chief executive of the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), Steve Nash, believes that this research underlines a lack of confidence by consumers in the type of service they will receive from garages and that many motorists choose a garage without knowing whether the mechanics have sufficient competences to do the job.  

This research makes for scary reading that garage reputations could cause such significant customer behaviour and raises many questions about what needs to change to make car maintenance a more trusted retail style experience.

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