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Franchised workshops optimistic about service growth

More than two-thirds of franchised workshops in the UK expect their business to expand by 2015, according to new data released by Castrol Professional.

Optimism about the coming two years – expressed by 70% of franchised workshops versus 60% in 2011 – shows the early signs of increasingly positive business optimism.

The findings from GiPA’s 16th Channel Survey 2012 follow a year of maintained or increased turnover for the vast majority of franchised businesses in 2011.

The research suggests that 41% of franchised dealerships saw an increase in turnover compared to 2010.

Of these, more than half reported a revenue increase of 10% or more. Of the dealerships surveyed, 39% recorded no change in turnover, while just 20% saw a decrease.

While the outlook is largely positive for franchised workshops, there are still notable areas for improvement.

For example, franchised workshops’ share of the oil change market has decreased for the third successive year, from 28% to 27%, continuing a long-term fall in share to independent workshops, which currently hold 68% of the market.

Jo Clayton, Castrol franchised workshop marketing manager – UK & Ireland, said: “That the majority of franchised workshops in the UK are seeing increases in turnover is encouraging, and this is clearly contributing to increasing optimism among dealerships.

“However, aftersales departments need to ensure that they give themselves the best chance of contributing to the anticipated continued uplift in fortunes over the coming years.

“Improved training for customer-facing staff can boost confidence in handling customer queries or upselling additional products or services, while low-cost, high-value service plans on new car sales can help to ensure that motorists continue to return to the franchised workshop for maintenance work on their vehicles.

“Dealers can also increase turnover by focusing on manufacturer recommendations for servicing, parts and providing the right oil for the car, which is proven to help drive customer satisfaction and loyalty.  If the customer knows they’re getting the best service possible for their money, they’re more likely to return to the workshop in future.”

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