What customer service means for workshops

What customer service means for workshops

PMM ’s Kieran Nee visited CCM’s Ewhurst workshop to speak to Operations Director, Tina Drayson, about the pandemic and what customer service means in the workshop.

One garage whose ethos from inception has been focussed around expansion, improvement and excellent customer service is the Surrey and Sussex-based CCM. In the 30 years since it first began trading, the business has expanded to encompass four workshops and 26 technicians. The unusually focussed approach the garage takes to business matters is directly thanks to Operations Manager Tina Drayson, who contributes business-themed articles to PMM. As such, we felt the time was ripe to make a visit and have a chat about all things business, from dealing with Covid-19 in the workplace to the principles of Six Sigma.

Firstly, let’s begin with the pandemic. What effect did Covid-19 have on business?

One of the immediate effects of the pandemic was that we greatly increased the amount of pick up and drop off that we do. We’re lucky in that we have a large courtesy car fleet we can rely on.

We had quite a few customers compliment us on our Covid measures, but the way we see it, it was our duty – everyone had to play their part. It’s true, we were very proactive in reassuring customers that we were doing our best to keep everybody safe, which I believe worked in our favour.

Our MOTs in April 2020 were down to about 30% of what they should have been, which was obviously a huge drop. We did a lot of promotion at that time explaining why MOTs were still important, regardless of the extension. We explained to our customers that you still have a duty to ensure the safety and roadworthiness of your vehicle and that were you to get in an accident and your car was proven to be unroadworthy, your insurance might not be valid. In fact we did hear of several instances of insurance companies refusing to pay out for accidents due to the presence of bald tyres.

By June we were back to full steam. We had put people on furlough but we had to take everyone back during summer. We closed our Cranleigh branch and diverted all our work to this site (Ewhurst) for a couple of months, but eventually lead times grew too much and we had to open Cranleigh too.

Being one of the few workshops that stayed open meant we gained a lot of customers who had never come to us before and I am sure many of them, having seen our quality service, will remain loyal to us.

What does good service mean?

Good service goes well beyond the technical process that’s done to the car. It encompasses everything from the moment they contact you on the phone. You need to be empathetic to their situation. We need to give them the feeling that they are the most important customer. We will find a solution to their problem and that way, they will come back. It could be as simple as an MOT or as stressful as a breakdown. We do breakdown recovery if necessary.

We encourage customers to regularly look after their cars. Depending on where the particular workshop is based, customers will have different priorities and we have to adapt our service provision to meet those needs. But whatever the case may be, transparency is vital. If you get approval every step of the way, no one gets any nasty surprises and no one can complain.

We are sure not to undervalue the work we do and therefore we charge the right amounts for the service we give you, for the years of knowledge that goes into that service and for everything we need to provide to ensure our technicians are the best they can be.

See next month’s PMM to read what Tina had to say on expanding CCM operations and the importance of worker wellbeing.

Want to know more? For more information, click here.

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