Survey: Mechanics intimidate UK motorists

Recent research has found that 58 per cent of motorists found it daunting to engage with garages and mechanics. Conventionally seen as inconvenient and commonly suspected of being overpriced, automotive repair garages and mechanics grew a reputation of inconsistency in the industry, the ClickMechanic research found. Furthermore, the majority of motorists said they would put off work until the last minute. Looking closely at its customer database, 54 per cent of drivers state that they would either wait until issues reoccurred, or until the vehicle was no longer functioning.

Nigel Bennett, ClickMechanic’s Head of Mechanic in Residence programme, said: “Let’s face it. At the end of the day, garages, in general, are not the nicest of places to visit. The environment can be quite intimidating if you don’t know a great deal about cars, so it’s no surprise that people feel daunted by the noises, smells, array of machinery and the people covered in oil. To cross the threshold of this cathedral of cacophony and try to explain what the problem is with your car puts the fear of God into a lot of people – making the anxiety of trying not to look like a fool an even more daunting prospect.”

On intimidation, Bennett adds: “Well, even my wife thinks I look scary at times! Yes, I could change my hair and look softer, but people have quickly learned that I am a nice person and willing to do whatever I can to help them. I have always enjoyed interacting with my customers, and some even become friends who pop in for a coffee on their way past or come over for dinner – all stemmed from simply booking to get their car fixed. One of my earliest ClickMechanic customers and his family even came to my wedding reception!”

Bennett advises other mechanics to treat each customer as if they were family – keeping it light-hearted, entertaining, and using easy-to-understand terms as much as possible.

“Don’t try and be clever and show off with technical prowess – customers won’t remember that. What they will remember is how nice you are and how easy it is to talk to you – and you can start by telling customers your name from first meeting them to build that trust.”

Bennett’s top tip on what motorists can do to ease their own mind is to be nice to mechanics in return.

“People often forget that mechanics are also human beings and want to deal with nice people, too. Just be yourself, and don’t try to possess technical understanding if you don’t actually know anything. You don’t go to the doctors and tell them what is wrong and what medicine to prescribe, or into a restaurant and tell the chef how to cook a certain dish from their menu. If your knowledge is limited, don’t go into a garage trying to be a mechanic, as well.”

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