Business is booming at Britain's Golden Garage
Written by zboyd
Thursday, 22 April 2010
| ||A SEAT service centre is seeing its business boom after it was crowned the best garage in Britain by the motor industry's regulatory body. Family-run SEAT workshop Kinghams of Croydon became the first ever winner of Motor Codes' prestigious 'Golden Garages' competition earlier this month. |
But no sooner had the dust settled on the staff celebrations than the bookings started flooding in.
Within days of receiving the award from TV presenter Vicki Butler-Henderson, the garage had been inundated with dozens of bookings from new customers keen to experience the same high standards of service that earned Kinghams the plaudits.
Delighted owner Keith Kingham said: 'We were obviously thrilled to have won the award. It's a great honour and a source of real pride and excitement for us all.
'But I don't think any of us could have foreseen the scale and immediacy of the impact that winning the title would have on our business.
'We've literally been swamped with calls from people wanting to book all makes and models in for a service. It has been amazing.'
Founded in 1959 by Keith's father, Peter, who is still actively involved in the business, Kinghams has built a reputation for excellence. The business employs 15 staff including four technicians and one Master Technician who, between them, have more than 100 years of motor trade experience.
Keith, who started in the industry as a technician, prides himself on taking a hands-on role in all aspects of the business and regularly spends some of his time behind the reception desk personally dealing with customer enquiries.
And he believes it's this level of personal care that persuaded so many of Kinghams' customers to vote for his business in the Golden Garages awards.
He said: ‘After 51 years in business we've learned how to treat people, and have built up a very loyal customer base as a result.
'All of our staff are trained to the very highest standards by SEAT but they go above and beyond the normal targets for customer satisfaction by treating our customers like friends.
'Anyone who visits the garage will see that for themselves as we have hundreds of thank you letters and cards from satisfied customers on display in our reception area.'
In addition to customer care though, the garage retains a strong focus on the care it gives to the vehicles it services.
Keith explained: 'The holy grail for us is 'first time fix'. If a customer brings their vehicle to us we want to make sure we fix it properly first time and that they don't leave only for the same problem to reoccur.
'We check up with every customer three days after they've seen us to make sure every detail of the service we've provided has been up to scratch and, if it's not, we arrange to collect their car as soon as possible and make things right before returning it to them washed and fully valeted.'
The success of Kinghams was joined in the inaugural Golden Garages contest by a strong performance from another SEAT garage - SERE Motors in Lisburn, Northern Ireland.
That garage came out tops in the regional section of the awards, and thus gave SEAT an exceptional 20% share of the Golden Garages top ten.
And, just last week, the buoyant Spanish brand received more good news in the Auto Express 2010 Driver Power survey - shooting up 11 places to be ranked a very creditable 11th in the magazine's car satisfaction and reliability survey of more than 23,000 drivers nationwide.
Nigel Griggs, Head of Aftersales at SEAT UK, said of the flurry of great news: ‘The success of both Kinghams and SERE Motors in the Golden Garages awards clearly underlines the great strides we're making in customer care and satisfaction.
‘The brand's exceptional performance in gaining two of the top ten places - including the outright winner - demonstrates our determination to put customer satisfaction at the very heart of all our operations.'