April 5, 2023
Working in a B2C business, you are undoubtedly aware of the importance of providing reliable and professional customer service. Many garages rely on word-of-mouth promotion and ‘digital word-of-mouth’ via platforms such as google reviews to provide a steady stream of business. Our industry maintains a comfortable distance between these income-generating streams and our wholly separate DVSA compliance activities. The only crossover potential between these two distinct elements of our business will be in the most severe cases of non-compliance if our company is subject to DVSA sanctions resulting in temporary garage closure or staff suspension, affecting our ability to serve our customers.
However, the digital age has ushered in a new era of increased access to information. The public has an appetite for greater access to reliable and detailed information on the inner workings of companies. They want to make better-informed choices and leverage their purchasing power intentionally. With businesses and regulatory bodies keeling to this tide of transparency in large waves, are the DVSA next?
In the recent government consultation on the future of the MOT, one of the considerations was making the outcomes of enforcement checks public. The DVSA conducts enforcement checks on a sample of MOT testing stations yearly to ensure they carry out tests correctly and to the required standards. The public has never had access to the results of these checks and, ergo, has never been aware of which testing stations have had issues or performed well. Making this information available online would empower motorists to make more informed choices about where to take their vehicles for MOT testing. It would also increase transparency and accountability in the MOT sector, encouraging garages to improve compliance.
However, the government must carefully consider any potential unintended consequences of a policy like this, intentionally choosing useful metrics to share publicly. One risk associated with making MOT testing outcomes public would be that some individuals may seek out garages with the lowest MOT fail rates attempting to secure a questionable MOT pass on a vehicle that may fail at a VTS with more robust internal testing standards. This contravention may boost work volumes to garages that may not adhere to the required testing standards but have not yet been subject to any sanctions. A shift in demand in favour of these garages may lead to reduced testing quality and undermine the MOT scheme’s effectiveness.
If your garage has a good compliance and performance track record, you may benefit from increased visibility and trust from potential customers. On the other hand, if your garage has had issues or is struggling to meet the standards, you may face more scrutiny and competition from other garages. Therefore, ensuring that your MOT testing station fully complies with the current rules and regulations and that your staff are trained and competent to carry out the tests to the required standard is essential.
As compliance experts, what we know about business-wide compliance is that once a business lead decides a business will embrace compliance positively, it can take some time and concerted effort to bring all departments of the company in line with that intention. The significant difference is shifting from a company culture that views compliance as a box-ticking exercise to one that respects compliance as a guiding principle and steers the company towards continuous improvement. The bigger the company, the harder this transition can be. But shifting in this way assures your company can flourish in the industry, safe in knowing that the regulator, and any potential customers who are party to this information, will endorse your internal practices.
Another proposal considered by the government is around broadening the remit of the MOT scheme to include factors other than the technical delivery of the MOT. These additional aspects could incorporate customer service, value for money, and other quality indicators. The DVSA would assess whether the vehicle passes or fails the MOT test correctly, how the garage treats its customers, how it charges for the test, and how it manages complaints and feedback. This proposal aims to raise the standards of the MOT scheme and encourage garages to improve their overall quality performance, not just their technical skills.
While this proposal may sound daunting or unfair to some MOT scheme garage owners, it could also be an excellent opportunity to differentiate your business from others and provide better customer service. By focusing on customer service, value for money, and other quality indicators, you can build a loyal customer base and a positive reputation in your local area. Feedback and complaints can help you identify areas you’d like to improve and can doubtless demonstrate your commitment to continuous improvement.
The recent government consultation raised various considerations for the future of MOT testing. One thing for sure is that the scheme will evolve over the coming months and years. Implementing a strategy that enhances transparency, accountability, and quality assurance measures within the industry is an easy way for the government to encourage better adherence to compliance measures.
As a garage owner or MOT tester, the most sensible move you can make at this point is to ensure your compliance is on point ahead of any changes that the government choose to implement. The wisdom of foresight offers the best protection a business can invoke. Awareness of potential industry changes and ensuring your business stays one step ahead shows excellent commercial acumen. MOT Juice can help you stay informed, stay compliant, and stay ahead of the competition.
Take a 30-day free trial of the full MOT Juice system now to see how it can take the headache out of your business compliance.