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Communications to blame

Poor customer service due to a lack of communication by service receptionists is to blame for many of the 1.2m complaints made last year by drivers to garages, according to new research.

A leading industry figure is calling on the retail motor sector to change its recruitment and selection procedures if it wants to boost customer satisfaction. And it says that the much-vaunted CarWise scheme, aimed at raising industry standards, fails to tackle some of these key issues.

The research, carried out by automotive aftersales specialists Automotive Advantage, found that a large number of service receptionists are unable to communicate properly, despite being the main point of contact between driver and repairer.

“Given that communication is a fundamental part of the role, the research has revealed that this is one of the major reasons why the number of complaints is so large,” says the report.

It adds: “Staff were process driven, which can be a sign that they are not fully aware of their role or that management are exerting excessive pressure to deliver results.”

More than 82% of the 500 customer contact people surveyed failed to match the behavioural demands of the job. Females fared better than males because, the report says, they were more customer orientated.

Pete Turner, chairman of Automotive Advantage, says: “While the Office of Fair Trading and the Retail Motor Industry Federation should be applauded for trying to tackle the significant problems that the industry has, the CarWise scheme is failing to address the primary issue that this research highlights.

“In our opinion it does not address the needs of the customer. Drivers want the assurance that their car is being looked after by people who are qualified to do so and want clearer communication about what is being done to their car. It's not rocket science.”

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