Technical expertise coupled with business savvy is a winning combination – here’s some support that can help promote, protect and win new business.
Over 7,500 businesses across the UK have aligned themselves with The Motor Ombudsman – the independent and impartial Ombudsman to the automotive sector, and the largest Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) provider specific to the motor industry. The Motor Ombudsman reviews around 15,000 cases annually, accepting more than 6,000 cases for assessment by their dispute resolution team.
From less than £19 per month, accreditation to The Motor Ombudsman offers a variety of benefits for independent garages. The first to mention is the exclusive use of the body’s logo, and that of the Approved Code from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI). Graham Clark, Managing Director at Anderson Clark Motor Repairs, an independent garage based in Inverness, that has been adhering to the body’s comprehensive Service and Repair Code for many years, explains on The Motor Ombudsman website that accreditation assists them with their credibility and the customer’s perception of their brand locally.
Garages have a bespoke profile on its online Garage Finder, to help drive additional customer leads and bookings. Here, customers can also leave a first-hand review of their experience.
Accreditation grants access to The Motor Ombudsman’s dispute resolution team, to acquire independent and impartial guidance and information at any stage of a consumer complaint. This is coupled with the ability to signpost customers to the body to help conclude disputes swiftly and fairly if it has not been possible to do this directly in the first instance.
This is echoed by Charlotte Clarke, pictured above, Business Manager at Clarks4Landys, the Land Rover specialist based in Shropshire, who said in her recent “TMO Talks To” interview with The Motor Ombudsman that it was “a no brainer” to become accredited, as it offers peace of mind for them and their customers, that they have access to a free and impartial dispute service resolution in the unlikely event that anything should go wrong with the work and service they have provided.
Members receive regular communications on key motor industry developments as well as invitations to online webinars with expert speakers throughout the year to hear about some of the latest trends. Topics covered have ranged from electric vehicles and MOTs, to consumer vulnerability and the influence of social media.
To help drive custom to its accredited network, the body invests in marketing and PR initiatives throughout the year, including the Garage Star Awards, which will once again be open for customer nominations on 6th September 2022. This is an opportunity for businesses to have their achievements in the spotlight, and to gain public recognition for going above and beyond to assist consumers.
Independent garages can apply for accreditation to The Motor Ombudsman by visiting www.TheMotorOmbudsman.org/garages/tmo-accreditation
Independent Garage Association update: Securing access to data andonline booking system…
The Independent Garage Association offers both technical and business support to its members to assist in the day to day running of a business, delivering technical help, advice on general legal and employment law, guidance on industry standards as well as assistance on marketing and business development.
Head of Member Services, Frank Harvey, told autotechnician of one new business tool in the pipeline; “Trust My Garage, the IGA’s nationally recognised consumer code scheme, will be launching its own online booking and job estimate website later this year. This service will provide consumers with a skim free, reputable alternative to the current plethora of aggregator sites, while bringing more customers than ever to members’ doors at no extra cost.”
The ability to gain access to secure data is also being addressed. IGA Chief Executive Stuart James recently finalised plans in the US with the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) which already has security and key coding information for many vehicle manufacturers, to bring their system to the UK, which will allow verified independent garages access to establish and maintain access to security level vehicle information to certified garages. “Securing access to information for the independent sector has been a very long drawn out challenge, and it is now more important than ever with advances in technology that the independent sector can continue to access this information,”said Stuart. “Consumers must have the freedom to choose where to maintain and repair their vehicles and GarageSafe provides a pioneering solution, taking another step forward in quality and reassurance for consumers who choose a reputable independent garage.”
GarageSafe will be launching in the UK and available to IGA members later this year.
Unlock upsell opportunities through educational tool…
Castrol has launched a YouTube channel to guide motorists on how best to select the right oil for their car or motorcycle and explains the benefits of using premium lubricants. The new YouTube channel can be viewed here: www.youtube.com/c/CastrolUK_EN/featured
The videos can be easily uploaded to workshop websites, help to explain the differences between various oil grades, and outline how they have been formulated to protect engines during stop-start traffic, high speeds, and extended mileages between servicing.
The creation of Castrol’s new YouTube channel follows recent publication of a nationwide survey into vehicle maintenance trends. Significantly for vehicle workshops, it found that 32% of car owners preferred a mechanic to check their vehicle’s oil level because they believed they would do a more effective job.
Of those who didn’t typically check the oil level themselves, 49% said they have never checked the oil level of their car’s engine (for their current car or any previous car), while 19% didn’t know how to check the oil level of their current vehicle.
Almost a third (32%) of all respondents said they’ve never topped up the engine oil for their current car or any previous car.
Castrol recommends that oil checks are conducted monthly, but the survey found that 70% of car owners checked their vehicle’s oil level less frequently. 19% said they only check their engine oil if a warning light comes on, and only 27% of all respondents were aware that damage may already be occurring at this point.
Shailendra Gupte, Marketing Director EMEA, said: “Our new YouTube channel has been created to inform UK drivers about the benefits of using premium quality lubricants to protect their vehicle’s engine. This unlocks the opportunity for more workshops to sell premium products to drivers who visit for routine vehicle checks and maintenance, who might otherwise opt for a cheaper alternative.”
“Our new videos can be easily embedded into the servicing page of a dealer or workshop’s website, helping them shape understanding of premium lubricants at the booking stage. These engaging videos also offer easy-to-follow, step-by-step guides on basic vehicle maintenance, which can be recommended by mechanics to maintain vehicle health in between routine MOT and servicing appointments, harnessing trust in the Castrol brand.”
Joining the network…
The Castrol Service Network supports independent workshops who are committed to providing professional, quality maintenance and repair, offer great customer service and who want to align themselves with a trusted brand to showcase their professionalism and stand out from the crowd.
Business support for the network includes: a workshop listing on the Castrol website, Castrol Service signage, product stands, online training and technical advice, workshop clothing, Castrol engine warranty for customers and website/social media digital branding. Our Technical Editor Rob Marshall spoke to garages looking to join the network in the May issue, check the magazine archive on www.autotechnician.co.uk if you missed this. He met Roop Mathrau head of independent German car specialist BMWillenhall of Walsall, pictured left, who had been considering the benefits of being a Castrol Service member for several months. ‘Speaking to AT, Mr Mathrau explains that a Castrol partnership has reputational benefits, considering the blender’s OE partnership with both BMW and MINI. He also feels that the association helps to reinforce his dealer-level professionalism. As the impressive premises are not permitted to display BMW trademarks, he views Castrol’s £3,000 investment in signage and dual-branded clothing as the main attraction. Access to Castrol’s technical support is also a notable inducement, even for a marque expert. For instance, as certain older M-series performance BMWs have very targeted oil specifications, and many of BMWillenhall’s customers are discerning enthusiasts, having Castrol’s support helps cut the time required to research the right oil for the correct application.’
Find out more at www.castrol.co.uk/autotechnician or call 0800 371 910 (Option 4).