Nationwide Autocentre Crowned 2010 Customer King
Nationwide Autocentre has been crowned ‘Customer King’ following a search by Cisco and Real Business magazine to find best customer focused firms of 2010. The Customer Kings competition aims to find the UK’s best businesses for customer engagement. Nationwide Autocentre was named as the best ‘big’ business in the competition’s newly introduced commercial category.
The commercial category was introduced to see if smaller businesses can learn anything from ‘the big boys’ and judges declared it to have provided very valuable benchmark, and that Nationwide Autocentre had “…taught us how to give customer care an MOT.”
Real Business’ Charles Orton Jones commented: “Nationwide Autocentre is a great example of reacting to customer feedback correctly. Using simple traffic light systems to indicate the required actions and level of immediacy, the company can be sure at all times that their customers are predominantly satisfied. Nationwide Autocentre has taken great steps to put customers first and eliminate any potential barriers between them and the customer; improving everything from ineffective call centers down to the language and technical jargon being used by staff.”
Nationwide Autocentre chief executive Duncan Wilkes comments: “I’m absolutely delighted that the company has been recognised as a Customer King. When we acquired Nationwide Autocentre in 2006 we did so with an acknowledgement that many people fear garages and so set out challenge that preconception and build a culture of trust. That investment has reaped rewards, and today we are proud that 97 per cent of our customers are happy and would recommend us to a friend.”
Nationwide’s customer service process utilises the Confirmit online feedback management platform, which facilitates large volumes of customer responses quickly and cost effectively. Customers receive a simple email survey following their visit, and comments are anaylsed for training and development purposes. Any negative feedback is automatically flagged to a relevant manager so remedial action can be taken in good time; the company averages just four hours between negative feedback being received and contact being made with the customer.
Judged by a panel of business experts including, Simon Nixon, founder of online price comparison site Moneysupermarket and SimonSeeks.com, Real Business magazine’s Charles Orton-Jones, Tricia Philips, business, careers and finance editor for The Daily Mirror and David Critchley, director of Cisco’s UK SME and Commercial division, Customer Kings recognised eight winning companies with eight more celebrated as highly commended.
The Customer King accolade is the latest in a number of awards to have been collected by the company. In February at the AM Awards, the ‘Oscars’ of the automotive industry, Nationwide Autocentre was named Aftersales Operation of the Year – the fifth time it has picked up this award in the last six years – and recipient of the Best Training Programme award.
Nationwide Autocentre, which was recently bought by auto accessories retailer Halfords for £73.2 million, is reportedly the leading independent operator in the car servicing sector, operating 224 centres nationally, providing a range of products including MOTs, car servicing and repairs. The company’s approximately 900 skilled mechanics receive regular training and use the latest diagnostic technology and servicing tools.
Nationwide’s 500,000 customers each year are a mixture of Fleet (c. 25% of revenues) and Private (c. 75%). Its strategy is to differentiate itself within its market by being the only national operator to provide dealership quality service at lower prices.