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Internet service steps in to assist smaller players

A new internet-based service that acts as an electronic interface between fleets and workshops claims to offer smaller dealers the tools to compete with larger groups for servicing work. was set up to combat the growing pressure on service reception staff to handle telephone bookings while trying to organise customers checking in their cars at the workshop. It also counters the issue of dealers failing to respond to e-mail enquiries - an AM survey last month revealed that 57 per cent of dealers did not act on e-mailed requests.

“The internet removes peak time congestion allowing garages to get on with their job,” says Andrew Jameson, who set up the website. “Staff can call the customer back when they have time, which means they are more attentive and can offer better service.” Customers click on their preferred dealer and complete contract details, type of service and any other work required. This is e-mailed to Jameson who forwards the information by fax to the workshop.

“Manufacturers are getting complaints that dealers are not answering e-mail enquiries - often they are downloaded after a week and deleted,” he says. “But a fax gets around this problem - it gets straight to the service receptionist.”

Jameson, a former dealer who has also worked with fleet operators, will monitor and act on complaints. He says he has signed around 4000 businesses and is looking for more.

Dealers get to upload a 30-word marketing statement and corporate logo with their contact details to encourage business. This gives smaller operators the same clout as large dealer groups that have bigger marketing budgets, says Jameson. He charges dealers £5 for each service booking and £10 to make changes to their marketing statement. Registeration is free. is targeting fleet business but can also be used by private motorists - Jameson believes women, in particular, will be attracted to it. The site also offers online car and bodyshop locators.

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