The research was conducted as part of the IMI’s current rebranding exercise. It revealed that cost remains high on the agenda of 52 per cent of those surveyed. However, quality of work came in second at 44 per cent, rising to 51 per cent among women.
Reputation was also a heavily cited factor and the highest number of respondents described ‘word of mouth’ as a key method for finding businesses in the first instance.
Of the 600 adults surveyed, 70 per cent of respondents assumed that a licence to practise was already in place in the sector, something the IMI is trying to change. It also found that 66 per cent of respondents and 71 per cent of women agreed that a recognised quality standard was very important when selecting a service provider.
IMI CEO Steve Nash said: ‘The rebranding research we have undertaken makes interesting reading for the sector. Although many within the sector believe customers focus solely on cost, our findings suggest a much more complex picture. The customer experience obviously comes into play. Customers are also worried about quality of work, meaning those who invest in skills have an opportunity to reassure potential customers.
‘A good overall customer experience will also have a knock-on effect to your business’s reputation and affect how your business is promoted via word of mouth. The value of good customer service is appreciated by most but can be difficult to quantify – especially for smaller businesses that don’t have sophisticated measures in place. However, these findings suggest giving your current customers a great experience is undoubtedly the key to business growth.’
IMI also uncovered encouraging positive opinions: 83 per cent agreed that the motor industry employed skilled workers, while 81 per cent felt the sector provided good quality service. Of those surveyed, 79 per cent also felt the sector was responsive to customer needs.
Nash added: ‘These findings should be very encouraging for the sector and a sign that we are overcoming negative stereotypes about the motor trade. Clearly, there are many good operators out there, which makes IMI all the more passionate about weeding out the bad ones through licensing.’