At the time of writing Crescent Motoring Services had just completed the double by claiming the Customer Services accolade at the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Awards for a second year in a row.
Owner and Director Steve Tallett explains why the workshop values this and other awards very highly: “We are the only East Staffordshire company to go to the Birmingham Chamber Awards and win a trophy in its 200-year history. We do put ourselves out there for awards because I feel it is important.
“It builds customer confidence, and this industry lacks that. Last year we won the Birmingham Chambers Award for the first time. In 2012 we won the local Birmingham Mail Business Award and were voted the Motor Codes Midlands garage of the year in 2011. We are one of the good guys and there are a lot of good garages out there but not a lot shout about it.”
Tallett says experience shows that customer service is key to thrive in an industry as volatile as the independent aftermarket, as one bad mistake can cast a lasting impression on the consumer’s mind. That is why the garage has gone to great lengths to engage with their customer base and ensure they are the garage of choice.
“Customers are so savvy now, they want a good service. They don’t mind paying that bit extra, because they know when their car goes through those doors it will be looked after.
“We used to be next door to Burton Motor Factors, but we outgrew it and this place came up and it represented a huge investment to us. We had to build and renovate it for use. It is all about making the customer’s first experience a good one from first point to the last point of contact.
“Customer service is not rocket science, customer service is treating people how you would treat yourself, treating female customers how you would expect your wife or daughter to be treated when they walk into a garage.”
The garage is always looking to reach out to the consumer through various means which includes emailing regular newsletters to its database, keeping them up-to-date on offers, general news, charity work it does on behalf of the Citizens Advice Bureau and events it arranges.
Tallett explained that arranging a practical education evening for its customers was a brilliant way to educate and reaffirm the consumers’ decision to use Crescent Motoring Services in the first place.
One idea that the garage had was to hold a ladies night, which stemmed from asking one or two female customers whether they would be interested in taking part. It went down so well that the workshop is now holding them on a monthly basis.
“We get 20 ladies into the garage, and we teach them basic car maintenance including checking the tyre pressure and even removing a wheel,” he said. “They all went away with a goody bag, with some pink latex gloves, some information on what to do in event of a breakdown and some information on block exemption regulation. It went down a storm and they loved it. We enjoy delivering that training.”
It is also looking to hold a similar course aimed at new drivers, to help them get to grips with basic car maintenance. Tallett adds that it helps raises the profile of the garage and encourage repeat business.
Customer service and interaction are essential to Crescent Motoring Services strategy to keep the business progressing, as are collecting awards recognising the work they all put in, who knows Tallett may even add a CAT Award to his business’s vast collection in the near future.