IAAF responds to Motorists Forum garage experience report
The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has responded to a recent Motorist Forum report on customer experience of franchised and independent MoT stations and garages in the wake of the government’s statement on the matter. While Brian Spratt, IAAF chief executive, praised the Roads minister for taking a “balanced view”, he said a fundamental change of attitudes towards communication is the key to improving the garage customer service experience. The Motorists Forum report put forward 12 recommendations to the government on how to improve the garage customer experience, details of which can be found on the IAAF website.
Brian Spratt said, “In certain areas, the report and recommendations from the Motorist Forum sub-group included some contentious items. We’re pleased to see that the roads minister has taken a balanced view of where the sector can improve performance, and his understandable reluctance to impose heavy-handed regulation on the motor trade.”
One of the more controversial measures recommended by the Motorists Forum was to compel MOT garages to “sign up to an [Office of Fair Trading (Trading Standards Institute)] backed Code as a condition of entry to the MOT scheme.” While agreeing that it is “in the interests of all garages to sign up to an OFT (TSI) backed Code”, the government stopped short of making this an obligation.
“MoT stations are already regulated by VOSA,” said Spratt, “and VOSA have an effective method of measuring performance and applying sanctions to any test centre that is inadequate. There was no need for any extra layer of bureaucracy. Membership of code schemes should be considered as a business decision, nothing more. We’re particularly pleased to see that the government has accepted the principle that car servicing should be carried out by technicians who can be identified as having current competencies to do the job.”
The IAAF has identified the customer service experience from garages as a key area from which to promote the Right2Choose campaign. IAAF president, Graham Knight added, “It is my vision that the great talent and enthusiasm that so many in our industry possess is harnessed, co-ordinated and directed for the greater good of raising the automotive industry’s profile among consumers.”
Spratt went on to say that the automotive industry has to look at the overall experience it is offering motorists and believes that by doing so will bring new people into the trade. “With Right2Choose, we’re promoting the fact that consumers have a right to choose where they take their vehicles for service and repair, but with this right comes a responsibility from garages to ensure they offer the best possible customer service experience.”