The Motor Ombudsman has announced the winners of its 2021 Garage Star Awards and inaugural Customer Service Star Awards.
The Garage Star Awards were launched in 2020 by the Ombudsman to recognise businesses accredited to its four Motor Industry Codes of Practice. It also recognises individual team members working within these organisations, who go the extra mile to provide an exceptional level of work and service to customers.
Nearly 1,100 nominations were received in the 2021 contest from motorists across the country, who submitted short accounts about a business or individual that had gone above and beyond to help them to resolve an issue related to a vehicle.
These entries were then whittled down by The Motor Ombudsman to create a shortlist that was passed to a panel of judges to determine the recipients of the 11 trophies on offer.
With two regional award winners from 2020 amongst this year’s finalists, coupled with a very high calibre of nominations from customers, it was said to be a closely fought contest, with the judges reaching a consensus on the winners of the eight regional 2021 Garage Star Awards:
- North: Westmoor MOT Centre in Newcastle Upon Tyne (Tyne and Wear), for going the extra mile to source a spare part for the customer’s electric vehicle, and for taking the time to keep the customer fully informed as to the work needed on their car
- South: Crown Honda Bushey Heath in Bushey (Hertfordshire), for the business carrying out a thorough diagnostic to identify the issue with the customer’s vehicle at short notice, whilst providing a caring and personal approach to reassure them of their safety when using the car
- East: Frettenham Service Station in Frettenham (Norfolk), for travelling to the customer’s location to change a flat tyre, due to them being unable to visit the garage in person
- West: Cadley Garage in Marlborough (Wiltshire), for putting in several hours of work until the problem with the customer’s vehicle was fixed, and for keeping costs to a minimum
- Midlands: Clarkes4Landys in Market Drayton (Shropshire), for helping a customer to source a replacement car at very short notice, enabling them to visit a family member before they passed away
- Northern Ireland: JC Halliday & Sons in Eglinton (Londonderry), for ensuring the highest level of safety for customers during the pandemic, and for donating a significant amount of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to their local NHS Trust
- Scotland: The Garage (Whitburn) in Whitburn (West Lothian), for their unrelenting commitment to providing customers with the highest level of customer service, for hosting vehicle maintenance classes for local motorists, and for their charitable work and support of the surrounding community
- Wales: FRF Toyota Haverfordwest in Haverfordwest (Pembrokeshire), for providing a consistently highly level of service on every occasion that the customer visited the business, which included clear communications from the time of booking through to when repairs were conducted
After crowning the eight regional winners, judges then turned their attention to deciding which of the businesses would emerge triumphant as the overall National Garage Star.
After being assessed on their own merit, Scotland’s The Garage (Whitburn) was deemed to be the worthy recipient of the top prize, thanks to their approach of putting the customer at the very heart of everything that they do, and their desire to go above and beyond to help others in their local area.
Ian Robertson, Managing Director of The Garage (Whitburn), said: “We are thrilled to be the recipient of not just one, but two trophies in the competition, and we are extremely honoured to have been crowned the National Garage Star. It is testimony to the hard work and philosophy of the entire team that they always look to go beyond the call of duty, and for the countless hours that they put in during their spare time to voluntarily help others and to carry out fantastic work in the community. We are delighted to end what has been a challenging year for our business with a celebration of this fantastic achievement, and we are extremely grateful to have our efforts recognised by our valued customers in the town and further afield.”
This year’s competition equally saw the introduction of two dedicated Customer Service Star Awards for the vehicle manufacturers accredited to The Motor Ombudsman’s New Car Code and for the businesses that are a part of its Vehicle Warranty Products Code. This meant that customers could nominate any organisation accredited to any one of The Motor Ombudsman’s Codes of Practice for the first time.
The inaugural trophies in these categories were won by Polestar Automotive and Autoguard Warranties respectively.
Bill Fennell, Chief Ombudsman and Managing Director of The Motor Ombudsman, commented: “Last year’s competition attracted significant interest amongst our accredited business network and their customers, and we are delighted to have built on this strong foundation, and to see the awards growing in stature year-on-year with even more nominations in the 2021 competition. We would like to congratulate all individuals and businesses that were nominated, highly commended, and that won an award, and we are very proud that they are a part of our nationwide accredited network.”
Bill added: “Providing excellent customer service is one of the fundamentals of running a successful business, and the high standards required by our Codes of Practice reinforces the importance of this. It has been very encouraging to see all the inspirational accounts received from motorists amongst this year’s nominations, demonstrating the dedication and unrelenting efforts of businesses up and down the country to do all that they can to help keep motorists on the move in their time of need.”