I have a confession to make. I don’t like to get my hands dirty when it comes to cars. I know the BHP of my car and that it usually gets me away from the lights first. And, of course, I am quite able to fill my car up with petrol but when it comes to tyre pressure, punctures, oil and the like, I haven’t a clue and really don’t want a clue.
The reason I am writing this is that a couple of weeks ago I was on a job, quite a way from home. I was just going to hit the motorway for my return journey when my car’s oil warning light came on. Terror gripped me, only because my day had been going well and I was on my way to an early finish. What to do? Luckily, I saw a Halfords on a retail park. Hurrah, I thought, as I pulled up and went inside.
Yes, I did feel a bit pathetic as I went to the counter and asked if someone could help but apparently nowadays Halfords are set up for all eventualities and it was not a problem at all.
At this point I made my way outside and phoned my husband to ask how to open the bonnet (I know, I know!) ready for when the Halfords employee came outside. Out he came and he was incredibly helpful. He told me what oil to get, I went inside and paid for it and then he filled the oil up for me. And it did not cost me an extra penny. What great service – and he didn’t laugh at me once. In fact he said this type of thing happened all the time.
This got me wondering about how many forecourt shops could offer the same sort of service. With so many of them doing so well with the convenience and food-to-go side of the business, I wonder if staff are trained to help ‘damsels in distress’?
I am one of the judges for the Forecourt Trader of the Year Awards and therefore see some amazing sites but wonder whether some have moved too far from their car roots?
There is hope though as many still maintain a decent car care offering in-store with oil among the items stocked. Plus, when reading the Customer Service category entries, many forecourts emphasise that they can help motorists in need – and this is great.
It is also important when you read recent research from Kwik Fit which stated that 17.6 million Brits will be going on holiday by car this summer. Great news for fuel sales – for the car and for the people inside those cars – but it is also likely that your car care range may experience a boost in sales too.
Kwik Fit found that 14% of those surveyed will make no checks on their car before setting off. Over a quarter (28%) of drivers won’t check their tyre pressures and over half (57%) will not assess the tyre tread. In addition, nearly two in five drivers (39%) say they don’t make any checks before their return journey. My advice? Keep holidaymakers happy by making screenwash and bug removers easy to find, and also have at least one member of staff available who can advise or even help with things like oil, water or tyre pressure.
*Since writing this, it has been brought to my attention that offering help to customers with their car problems may not be covered by a forecourt’s insurance. Please check your insurance details.