AA Garage Guide offers quality-driven online searching

A growing number of motorists use the internet as the start point when searching for car maintenance services, and the AA has responded to this practice with the launch of AA Garage Guide, an online search and booking tool that helps motorists find the best local franchise dealerships and independent garages in the UK.

The AA Garage Guide is a joint venture between Motoriety and the AA, and the motoring organisation considers the AA Garage Guide unique in the market as, unlike other platforms, it ranks dealerships and garages by quality and standards rather than by price. The AA chose to spurn a price-driven approach as a previously conducted online poll strongly suggests that price isn’t its members’ top priority – in the poll of more than 17,000 members, carried out for the AA in December 2013, 88 per cent of respondents said they considered trust and reliability more important than price when choosing a dealer or garage.

While no subscription or listing fee is required to be included on the AA Garage Guide, all dealers and garages must be verified prior to approval. The process involves checking a company’s information and trading history, cross-referencing any industry schemes and bodies it is affiliated with or subscribed to (such as TSI accreditation) and checking its reputation online. At that point, the listing can be activated.

Once listed on the AA Garage Guide, accepted franchise dealerships and independent garages simply pay a low flat fee per accepted booking. Importantly, dealerships and garages are able to select the exact type of work they want rather than waste resources dealing with enquiries unrelated to their specialist area. A free Booking Widget is provided for dealers and garages without their own online booking facility to place on their websites.

As well as helping dealerships and garages win new business, the AA Garage Guide also helps them retain customers: once a customer has booked at a particular dealership or garage, the AA Garage Guide will always refer them back there as the first choice for their next booking or when a customer’s record shows that advisory work is due. Vehicles still covered by the manufacturer warranty period will be directed to a franchise dealer.

Alongside the AA Garage Guide, the AA app and website are being enhanced to enable motorists to manage all aspects of their vehicle ownership – from tax, MOT and insurance documents to vehicle servicing and repair service records – in a secure, cloud-based environment.

“In recent years, there has been an explosion in online service booking platforms, but these are price-focused rather than quality-led, which we don’t think best serves UK motorists or attracts the best businesses. Also, many of these booking platforms aren’t available to franchised dealers, so are not genuinely whole-of-market,” commented AA Garage Guide co-founder Lucy Burnford. “As a result, AA Garage Guide hosts both franchised dealerships and independent garages with the focus on quality and standards rather than price. The platform is something we feel will really appeal to; and benefit, both the industry and the millions of UK motorists.”

“Nine out of ten of our members tell us that trust and reliability are more important than price when choosing a dealer or garage and it was very much with this in mind that we created AA Garage Guide,” added AA president Edmund King. “The goal of this powerful new search tool is twofold: to deliver more custom to high quality dealerships and independent garages, and to provide a premium experience to our members. The AA Garage Guide is a unique online system where car owners in search of quality service can effortlessly search for, and book online, the very best dealers and garages.”

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