Poor service costing you money?

Head of Accreditation at the Institute of the Motor Industry looks at the importance of customer service

Published:  24 February, 2014

By Steve Scofield

Customer service skills have become essential for virtually everyone in today's automotive aftermarket, be this at the parts counter or in service receptions and are becoming increasingly important for technicians, with customers valuing direct contact with the professional working on their vehicle. Furthermore, research by the IMI has found that this is particularly important for independent workshops and dealers with ten or less employees, as more of their staff are likely to interact with customers. Customer interaction is no longer just face-to-face, with the customer journey increasingly involving telephone enquiries, email and social media channels. Even simple steps, such as  determining an existing or prospective customer's level of knowledge, can make a world of difference when it comes to giving them confidence in your business.

To help businesses in the motor industry meet this challenge, the IMI has recently redeveloped IMI Accreditation Customer Service (ATA) and is already supporting a number of parts suppliers and service providers with accreditation.  ATA gives individuals working in customer service the opportunity to gain recognition for their skills and demonstrate their current competence to customers and employers.

Five years after ATA was launched, the IMI commissioned an independent return on investment (ROI) study to ascertain the business impact of ATA. The study produced compelling evidence showing that typically, ATA staff generate more profit and reduce more cost and waste. Businesses investing in their people through IMI accreditation were also found to have reduced employee churn and deliver higher customer satisfaction and business retention. ATA staff were also found to be increasing business efficiency and consistently outperform their non-accredited colleagues through improved sales conversion rates. They were likely to feel more valued by their employer and therefore motivated to give good customer service, contributing to the virtuous circle of management providing strong leadership, staff engagement, satisfied customers and profitability.

To find out more about IMI Accreditation Customer Service, visit: www.ata.theimi.org.uk

? Proof of current competence and ethical responsibility

? Pride and recognition of achievement

? Enhanced status of accredited technicians

IMI Accreditation gives employers:

? Benchmark for recruitment and training

? Recognised development path

? Independent quality assurance

IMI Accreditation in Customer Service (ATA) is achieved by passing a combination of knowledge and practical skill tests at one of two competency levels:

? Customer Service

? Senior Customer Service

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