The world and beyond – Surviving in the economic jungle

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Kwik-Fit vs National Tyres: #Service from a lady driver’s perspective #automotive

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Lady tyre

I hate car trouble!

Although I have worked with automotive parts companies for many, many years, I admit to being totally rubbish when it comes to anything going wrong with my car. I can probably tell you everything about how a car part was manufactured and how it got through the supply chain. But if something actually goes wrong, I turn into the stereotypical dumb blonde.

Last Friday, I was travelling home on yet another epic motorway journey when the tyre pressure warning light on my Mini alerted me to a problem. I googled KwikFit on my phone, and diverted off the motorway to get some help. Unfortunately, when I had the tyres fitted, metal valve caps were used. These had corroded to the point that it needed more than just a quick twist to get air into the tyre. Not a complex problem, but as the tyre was losing pressure it clearly needed to be fixed. They diagnosed it as safe to drive home for assistance.

In Farnborough, where my office is, National Tyre and Kwik-Fit are on the same road. I suppose, because I work in the parts industry, I look at service in these types of environments differently because that is what I have to recruit and deliver for my clients. What I found was an astonishingly different approach:

My early Monday morning quest to get my tyre re-inflated took me to National Tyre first. I stopped there for no other reason than they were first on my journey, and within walking distance of my office should I have to leave the car. It didn’t look very busy, and I could see the technicians hanging around in the service bay having a coffee and a chatter. The reception area was grubby and untidy. It took about 10 minutes for someone to acknowledge my presence and offer some service. A grumpy man in a dirty blue overall (This was 8-30 am on Monday morning!) came out to look at my car. He kicked the wheel (!), then fiddled with the valve cap for 5 minutes. He rose up, shook his head and said: “Phew, it’s a bad idea to put those metal caps on. This is not a simple job. It will take about an hour and a half to fix. But we are too busy right now. Bring the car back at about 3-00, but we don’t take timed bookings so be prepared to wait.”

Now I may be blonde and wear heels, but I am not silly! I smiled, thanked him and drove up the road to Kwik-Fit.

At Kwik-Fit, they really were busy. There was a queue and plenty of cars on the car park. The reception area was clean, with seating and a coffee machine for customers. The service bay was bustling – Through the glass frontage, I couldn’t see a single person not doing something. The guy behind the counter was talking on the phone dealing with a client’s exhaust issue. He smiled directly at me as I walked in, and signaled that he won’t be long. Seconds later, one of the technicians came in and offered service. I explained my problem, he came out to have a look and said they will deal with it directly, would I like a coffee while I wait? Within minutes, my car was up on a lift. Whilst I was waiting, an older lady came in. It was thoroughly satisfying to see the respectful and kind way in which her query was handled. The service chap (I assume he was the Centre Manager) even offered to make her a hot drink while she waited.

I only had time for 2 short phone calls before my car was back on the car park. To my delight, the job had been done AND EVEN BETTER there was no charge for it!

Within half an hour, I was on my way to my office with a smile on face.

I have a big message for car dealerships, garages and automotive service centres: Never under-estimate female motorists! Yes, our cars represent a comfort factor and certainly, not all ladies know equally much about vehicle maintenance. Treat us with honesty and respect, and we will come back to you every time because we are loyal. Treat us badly, and we will tell our friends!

A business is only as good as the people it employs, and this is even more true when the potential client finds themselves in a vulnerable or distressful situation. That may make me sound like a drama queen, but my car is important to my business and my life. If it goes wrong, I worry and I want that to be acknowledged by whomever I approach for assistance.

I would like to congratulate Kwik-Fit on the calibre of their staff at Farnborough, and thank them for the level of service I received from them this morning.

Guess where I will be going next time I need new tyres, and MOT or anything else?

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Written by Cathy Richardson

June 16, 2014 at 10:15 am

Posted in Recruitment

One Response

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  1. I stumbled across this article from your twitter account just minutes after I posted ‘FEMALE DRIVERS. HELP US GIVE YOU SERVICE STATIONS YOU CAN TRUST BY FILLING OUT THIS SURVEY’ https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/V26RNLX

    Book-mot.com are creating a female friendly network of garages and service stations. If you have a moment to take a look at what we are about here: http://www.book-mot.com/women-friendly-network/ We would be interested to hear your comments and suggestions.

    Toby Noble (@BOOKMOT)

    June 17, 2014 at 3:20 pm


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