Franchised Dealers Top For Consumer Satisfaction
Franchised motor dealers have a far higher percentage of satisfied customers than their independent counterparts when it comes to after-sales service, a recent survey has found.
Nearly nine out of ten customers who always use a franchised dealer, such as Swansway Group, said they were either satisfied or very satisfied with their overall level of after-sales service.
Car owners who stuck with independent garages for their parts and servicing needs were, in comparison, far less happy overall, with just under half – 46 per cent – giving them the same high ratings.
The survey, which gathered information throughout the first half of 2016, found that one in three customers had been dissatisfied with their last dealings with an independent garage.
Main Dealers Associated With ‘Quality’
Commissioned by the National Franchised Dealers’ Association (NFDA), the poll found that main dealers’ servicing and parts offerings were overwhelmingly perceived as a quality product.
One-third of the people surveyed likened the experience of dealing with a franchised dealer to shopping at a high-end supermarket such as Marks & Spencer or Waitrose.
The NFDA said:
This may therefore affect the satisfaction levels as consumers are more likely to pay for a higher level of service if they perceive a franchised dealer to be a high-end product.
Franchised Dealers – Far More Than Just For New Cars
The research was commissioned to find out the general perceptions of franchised dealers in comparison to other servicing and repairs providers, principally ‘fast fit’ and other retail chains, and independent operators.
It found, surprisingly, that many people were in the dark over the services which were provided by their local franchised dealers, but were clearer about the full scope of the services and products available from many independent garages and the ‘fast fit’ chains.
Our Services And Facilities In Full
So at Swansway Group, we thought this survey gave us a good opportunity to distil the products and services we offer in a single article, so that you could easily refer to them, and hopefully, be confident in choosing us whenever you need any of those services.
So, from the top, Swansway Group’s network of franchised dealers offers:
- New car sales. The one most people will be aware of, and the main reason for the existence of franchised dealers. The franchised dealer model has been around since the 1900s, when it was pioneered by General Motors. This entailed the company granting exclusive rights to sell its vehicles in certain geographical territories to a particular individual or company. In return, the outlet was equipped with all the tools and other materials needed to provide a comprehensive after-sales service for that manufacturer’s vehicles. So arising out of this came…
- Servicing and mechanical and electrical repairs. Once a franchised dealer had sold a car to a customer, it then was obliged to provide these facilities, so that manufacturers could assure their customers that the quality of the work they would receive from a franchised dealer would meet all the stipulations laid down under their warranties. In turn, this meant that, in order to ensure that they could guarantee their work, franchised dealers had to be fitted with all the equipment needed to carry out routine servicing work and repairs to the manufacturers’ own standards. Along with this there was a need to ensure that mechanics and other staff who would work on the vehicles had all the required technical knowledge, and were kept updated with any new skills needed as the technology in cars and other vehicles developed. At Swansway Group, this means that our already highly-experienced service department staff are being constantly updated on diagnostic and repair techniques, to ensure that they keep pace with the changing needs of our vehicles – for example, the greater need for air conditioning servicing as this has increasingly become standard equipment on a higher proportion of cars.
- Used car sales. Naturally, as a franchised dealer starts to sell new vehicles in any quantity, it will, over time, need to be able to offer customers the chance to part-exchange their old vehicles for a new one. As a result, a used car sales operation offers several benefits for both the person looking to trade up, and anyone in the market for a pre-owned car. Prime among these are that, often, the used car being traded in will be known to the dealership, and may even have had all its servicing and repairs done there. This means the used car buyer can be sure that the work will have been done to the manufacturer’s required standards and schedules.
- MoT testing. If you intend to keep your car beyond its third birthday, you will need to consider that, in order to legally drive it, you will need to subject it to an MoT test. The test examines several of the car’s main components for condition and wear, and is designed to provide an overview of the vehicle’s general condition. If you have had your car serviced according to the maker’s schedule at a franchised dealer, therefore, you’re likely to be in a far better position to ensure that the car is ready for its annual test when the date comes around. One reason is that the technicians will already know your vehicle, so be aware of previous work which has been carried out, thereby giving you a greater chance of avoiding any unforeseen problems at the time of this annual spot-check. Indeed, it’s becoming increasingly common for cars to be serviced immediately before their MoT falls due, which allows your garage to pre-check all the items covered by the test, and attend to any faults which could lead to a failure. Unlike some MoT stations which don’t operate an appointments system, Swansway Group centres let you pick the time which would be most convenient for you to have your car checked through our MoT booking service. This means you can drop the car off, and either stay with it while it’s being tested, or arrange to pick it up at a certain time later, meaning less inconvenience and disruption to your routine.
- Tyre checking and replacement. Tyres are one component on your car which you can’t prevent from wearing out. It’s inevitable that you will need to replace them at some time – but why should you come to your franchised dealer for this service? First and foremost it’s another instance when you can be sure that your dealer will have the right tyres in stock for your vehicle – simply because they’re dealing with those cars all the time, and carrying out similar work on other vehicles. You also avoid the lottery of being unsure of which brand of tyres are fitted to your car, as the franchised dealer will only supply makes specifically approved by your manufacturer. All this helps ensure that your vehicle stays in as close to its original, ‘as new’ condition as possible, which, in turn, means it should retain more of its value when you come to trade it in. At Swansway, we’ve also produced a useful tyre maintenance checklist which highlights the most common faults which can afflict you car’s rubber, and help you decide what you need to do to stay safe.
- Asset protection. When you’ve invested a big chunk of your hard-earned money in a brand new car, one of the worst things which can happen is that it is then written off in an accident. But when this happens, due to depreciation, it is very rare that your insurance company will reimburse you for the full cost of an equivalent new vehicle. Result – you’re left out of pocket, and unable to get a ‘like for like’ replacement, even if the loss was not your fault. Asset protection – commonly also called ‘GAP insurance’ – is designed to address this problem, by providing a policy which guarantees to pay out the full value of any vehicle which becomes the subject of a total loss insurance claim. GAP is an acronym, meaning Guaranteed Asset Protection’, and it’s an insurance product, which, subject to the conditions of the policy being met, will pay out the money to ensure that you can replace your vehicle with an exact equivalent, by covering the difference between your insurance company’s valuation and the actual retail price of that replacement. In other words, it means you shouldn’t have to worry about depreciation, and you should benefit by receiving a payment to make up the full value of your vehicle towards the cost of an identical replacement.
- Paintwork protection. This is another of those after-care products which a franchised dealer can offer with the aim of ensuring that you protect the money which you have invested in your new car. But you only need to search for the subject online to find forum debates which are deeply divided over its merits. Paintwork protection will entail using one of a number of proprietary products designed to effectively ‘seal’ the paintwork on your car, and ensure that road dirt and other stains either do not attach themselves to the bodywork, or can be more easily washed off. Naturally, if your car looks as close to its original condition as possible when you trade up to a newer one, it’s likely to make a significant difference to your bargaining power concerning its trade-in value. But you may think that, by having it applied, you are committing yourself to spending your own time in cleaning your car, and keeping its paintwork looking as near-new as possible, in order to be able to realise its full benefit. In reality, only you can decide whether paint protection is worth the investment – but like other extra products designed to safeguard your car, only you can really decide whether it’s worth investing in. Check the details of our cosmetic warranty here, and get in touch if you’d like to learn more.
- Body repairs. Of course, many vehicles suffer small bumps and scratches in the course of their daily use. In some cases, you might not even know how they came about – but you can be sure, if they spot them, that any future buyer will take them as an indication of the general standards you’ve applied to the upkeep of the vehicle, and might even walk away from doing a deal. So having those dents and scrapes attended to promptly – or at least, before bad weather has a chance to get to work on making matters worse – and you’ll find yourself being repaid when the time comes to upgrade your car. Again, there are clear benefits to using a bodyshop at a franchised dealership – which include ready access to the exact, manufacturer-approved, parts you’ll need, and the expertise to ensure that they are finished to give as close a match as possible to the rest of your car’s paintwork.
- Warranties and Service plans. Buying a new car brings many benefits, but prime among them has to be that you will benefit from an original manufacturer’s warranty, which will cover many of the vehicle’s original parts, and mean that, should they fail and need replacing during the period covered, you can get them replaced for free. And although the rules governing non-franchised dealers being allowed to carry out work under a vehicle’s warranty have been relaxed, such repairs are, of course, just what the staff of the service centre at your local franchised dealer are trained to do. So repairs under warranty are the prime responsibility of your local franchised dealer. This applies too if you have bought a used car and taken advantage of an extended warranty. Likewise with routine servicing of your car – but if you find the cost of these regular checks a little hard to swallow, a servicing plan is a great way of having certainty over your future costs. You can pay a single, lump sum, or make regular monthly payments, and have a specified number of future services included, which have to be carried out at your car-maker’s specified interval – but this brings an additional benefit in the shape of making it possible for you to book your service well in advance, and be able to arrange your schedule around it. Plans vary all the time, and manufacturers regularly introduce new incentives to encourage car owners to take them out, so it’s always wise to check with your local franchised dealer to find out about their current offers. If you buy an approved used car from such a dealer, you’ll also be offered the chance to take out an extended warranty.
If that isn’t enough to convince you of the full scope of the services we offer, and why you should choose us to take care of all your car’s needs, how about the fact that, as one of the north of England’s largest independent, multi-franchise dealership groups, Swansway Group brings together a massive amount of experience in and knowledge of the motor trade, all of which is at your disposal whether you’re buying, selling, or having your car serviced or repaired?
Chosen to represent 13 of the best-known and most highly-respected vehicle manufacturers in the world today, including Jaguar, we’ve earned this privileged status because these global brands trust us to be their local ‘ambassadors’ in our region.
So whether you’re in the market for a new car, are scouting around for the right used vehicle for you, need to have your car serviced, or are seeking an estimate for approved body repairs, from Birmingham to Preston, Wrexham to Stockport, we’re here to guide you.
Visit your nearest Swansway Group dealership soon whether you’re looking for your next new car or a quality used car to suit your exact needs. We’ve got the massive buying power coupled with approachable, friendly service to make the whole process a pleasure.