In an industry with a serious image problem and where 80% of the workforce is male, the prospect of a garage visit is daunting for many women who worry about being patronised, ripped off and baffled by motoring jargon they don’t understand.
Whatever the reality this is a very real perception for many women, so much so that many females are postponing important car servicing visits or delegating their car’s welfare to men who are expected to feel more at home in these male dominated places.
Not only does this suggest that many cars run by women might be less well maintained and less safe than they could be, but this is also a business opportunity for genuinely good garages, especially ones that recognise that women have different needs and expectations from many men.
Wary women drivers may well do well to check out an innovative business website called FOXY Choice where garages sign the female friendly “FOXY Promise” to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell women services they do not need’ and which has just launched a new “Female Business Ambassador network”.
Garage entries also include photos, FOXY approved quality logos, customer services like car collection and courtesy cars, important amenities like a comfortable reception area and clean toilet facilities and finally whether they are near shops or local leisure facilities.
FOXY founder Steph Savill explains how FOXY Choice can help women drivers get a better motoring deal in future.
“Nearly half the retail motor industry’s customers are females who buy MOTs, car servicing and repairs. We are professional shoppers, we know what we want and we are used to going elsewhere if we don’t get it.
Given a choice between a business that has made a special female friendly commitment and one that clearly can’t meet that standard, which one is she likely to choose in future?”
Steph believes that the presence of a Female Business Ambassador can reassure women, is appreciated by many men too and that more female employees can help male colleagues understand what women want and expect when they contact garages.
In the meantime Steph is discovering new garages run by women as well as ones where they are taking the lead in organising the customer experience outside the workshop. By doing what comes naturally to them, these women are helping to make the UK garage industry a more enjoyable place for all motorists to visit.
By spreading the word about female friendly business standards, Steph is also doing her bit to make the garage experience more enjoyable for women as well as promoting the UK motor industry as a potential career choice for females, especially those that want to make a genuine difference to customer service levels in future.