This month, we take a look at how The Motor Ombudsman is adding value to garages and consumers with its online Garage Finder.

With so much choice on offer for motorists when it comes to looking for a garage to service, repair or buy a vehicle, many consumers are turning to online search platforms as an effective means to find a reputable and trustworthy business in their local area. One such tool is The Motor Ombudsman’s popular Garage Finder, which lists the many independent garages and franchised car dealerships across the UK who are accredited to either the body’s comprehensive Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)-approved Motor Industry Code of Practice for Service and Repair or Vehicle Sales, or indeed, both. Every month, thousands of searches are conducted by consumers using the Garage Finder (which can be broken down by different criteria such as location, vehicle make and garage type), giving businesses signed up to The Motor Ombudsman an additional marketing channel to help generate potential customer leads and footfall.

Every garage listed on the portal has a dedicated profile page where they are able to provide an overview about their business, useful information such as opening times and accepted payment methods, as well as contact details (the location of the business is also displayed via Google Maps). It also includes any written customer feedback, a five-star rating and the proportion of people who have recommended the business (out of a maximum score of 10). This data provides motorists with impartial reviews to aid in their decision-making process, whilst at the same time, it is invaluable information for Motor Ombudsman-accredited businesses. This is because it can be used to further improve and refine internal processes in order to deliver even higher standards of workmanship and service. Similarly, it is an effective tool for garage owners to highlight positive performances to staff, or conversely, where something can be changed for the better. In fact, any customer that rates and reviews a garage is eligible to enter The Motor Ombudsman’s quarterly prize draw to win £500 in Lifestyle Vouchers*.

Finally, The Motor Ombudsman encourages all accredited garages to display a “Smart Badge” on their website (an interactive image featuring the Code of Practice and Approved logos). For added peace of mind, this allows consumers to verify that a business’ accreditation is valid (i.e. it has not expired), whilst it’s also an effective way for them to link directly to a trader’s profile page on the Garage Finder.

For more information on The Motor Ombudsman, visit www.TheMotorOmbudsman.org