Tag Archives: female friendly garages

Women drivers choose Dad as their motoring hero

I’ve just discovered some research conducted by tyre retailer ATS Euromaster which reveals that 23% of motorists confess to turning to their fathers for everyday advice about their cars. Whereas a surprisingly low number (just one in five) would trust their local garage or service centre for advice.

ATS Euromaster found that women drivers are more likely to turn to their Dads, with one in three (37%) asking them for help with their cars. The most common reason was for advice on how to change a tyre (40%) followed closely by how to check tyre pressure (35%).

This supports ongoing industry surveys confirming that many women drivers will often go to extreme lengths to postpone and avoid garage visits because they find garages and tyre centres too blokey and unfriendly places where they are likely to be patronised or ripped off.

Anita Ellis, e-Business Manager at ATS Euromaster explains their reasoning that: “With one in six people admitting they ask their Dads about absolutely everything to do with their cars, our research shows that there are thousands of Dads offering motoring advice to their loved ones and not receiving the praise and recognition they deserve.”

Good on you Dads and with Fathers Day on the horizon here’s a thank you salute from FOXY for all you do to keep your family safe…


PS: When you can’t summon Dad to sort out your motoring matters why not join FOXY Lady Drivers Club and summon us instead (or as well)?

And if it’s you reading this Dad, why not buy her a gift membership for your peace of mind?!

Alternatively, if you want to trust a local motoring business – why not choose one of the best, a FOXY Lady Approved garage, repairer or car dealer?

Or a FOXY Lady Approved Tyre Centre for all tyre related services?

And if you’d like to tell us about a garage you can recommend as female friendly, here’s how to do this.

After all, we know who and where the genuinely female friendly and measurably better garage and car dealer heroes are near you. And there are loads of 1:1 support services including a practical helpdesk (giving advice like Dad would) plus motoring offers, including preferential car insurance for women and affinity club car deals. And the best news is, a lifetime subscription costs just £24 for a lifetime subscription intended to save you time, money and peace of mind.

Then FOXY could be your motoring hero perhaps?

New Year, New Membership

welcomepack_1401In 2014 FOXY Lady Drivers Club returns to an annual membership subscription.

Strictly speaking the Club is in its tenth year of trading although things have changed a lot.

We first opened our doors for business in December 2004 with no members and only Nationwide Autocentres supporting us.

The early days were tough and, with the benefit of hindsight, we were too ambitious; opting for a membership model that was more paper based than online, including a quarterly magazine.

We struggled to make financial sense of that publication because of the printing costs and sadly we upset some FOXY Review fans when we decided to make this an online newsletter in 2007/8. We had to do this and it helped us cope when the recession hit.

In August 2008, we launched a network of female friendly garages, run by sister website FOXY Choice.

Having reduced the Club’s operating costs as explained, by a lucky coincidence we were well placed to roll out a lifetime online subscription offer for just £23 recognising the fairly immediate impact the recession had on so many female motorists.

Despite the length of the recession we stuck to our guns until the end of 2013. All members who previously signed up to a lifetime subscription (as either a Classic or Online member) will have this honoured into the future, subject to our Club Rules and providing they keep us posted with any address or email changes of course.

To cement our business values, the Club finally became a not for profit organisation in 2012, funded by the garages and repairers that subscribe to what is now known as the FOXY Lady Approved female friendly network of garages and repairers. Having now put a financial model in place for the Club in future, we now plan to raise additional income to fund our not for profit campaigning activities (to remind the industry that women drive as well as men and might have different needs…) by returning to an Annual subscription from 1 January 2014.

Annual membership in 2014

For just £35 per year members can enjoy VIP services at female friendly garages, repairers and car dealers plus exclusive Club services and special offers including…

A new car buying discount and advisory scheme
A UK network of FOXY Lady Approved garages, repairers and car dealers
Exclusive moneysaving offers
A friendly motoring helpdesk for jargon-free practical advice
A ‘no-fault’ accident assistance support service
FOXY Review – a monthly e-newsletter with advice, information, car reviews and feedback

In addition, new joiners in January will receive a Welcome pack including their membership card, Members Booklet of services, a copy of The Girl’s Car Handbook, a FOXY pink pen and a windscreen sticker.


Man versus the machine…

woman_vs_machineWe’re told this is the age of technology and there seems to be an ‘app’ for almost everything but we forget that there are still women out there that prefer to do business with ‘people like them.’

Surely we forget about the importance of people in business at our peril and yet the wheels of so-called innovation are putting too many out to grass ahead of our time and without good cause.

Someone needs to count the cost of man versus the machine.

But can we actually turn the wheels of progress back, I hear you say? Yes, I believe you can in many instances and it would be good to go through the thought process if nothing more. In these cases for example…

+ where the business case has yet to be proven
+ where unexpected and adverse consequences weren’t considered
+ where we have allowed ourselves to be seduced by technology without understanding its impact on people and future employment levels

But we may need to make our feelings clearer on this subject in future.


Why people matter

The study of Economics reminds us all about the multiplier effect of employing people who then spend their money in the local community creating new jobs and so on.

Simple and self-fulfilling yes but there are areas of the global economy where the lure of technology (and false economies of scale) is putting people out of work, not creating the new jobs we need.

Technology can be a good thing…

Of course the internet is a great thing. It was designed as a communications network for all the right reasons. Certainly FOXY couldn’t do what we do for women for so little money without using technology to provide our support services and spread the insider tips, advice & information to women who need it. And because we promote people and female friendly businesses as well as providing jobs in helpdesk, sales, admin and outsourced partnership roles I feel comfortable about our use of technology on balance.

…and a bad thing

Sadly there are times when technology goes too far and that’s when people lose jobs as a result; I’m talking about

1. Petrol stations – popular ‘fill ‘n’ run’ destinations we’re told where motorists are stealing fuel and getting away with it. Bring back pump attendants I say.

2. Comparison websites – good at identifying cheap shopping choices but not for explaining why they’re cheap, why cheap isn’t best or answering questions. Let’s have MORE not fewer independent experts on our High Streets (or in our pubs/churches) to hold accountable and to consult we need 1:1 advice to do with finance, insurance and/or energy advice.

3. Supermarkets – I loathe DIY supermarket check out machines with a vengeance. I dread the day that there are more of them and fewer staff. MORE customer service is needed here, not less.

4. Libraries – If you need librarians to put books on shelves, why on earth do you need machines to do the customer service bit? And how much did that technology cost she wonders…

5. Garages – why should we need tyre apps, to know about oils and so on when there are so many female friendly FOXY Lady Approved garage professionals to trust to do the job for us?

UK’s major DIY retailers failing online customersI’m sure you get my drift and you’ll have many serious examples to add to my list here.

If you would like to contribute to this debate, please either email info@foxyladydrivers.com or add your thoughts to my Twitter feed @FOXYSteph.

This might be a good time to consider where technology might not be the long term benefit it promises.

And to give older and wiser people a voice alongside enthusiastic but not always worldly-wise youth…


Are Women Fussier Customers Than Men?

I’ve had to remove names here to protect a marriage but the message is loud and clear.

Women are surely more fussier shoppers than many men when it comes to perceived fairness and customer service…

In this particular instance we received an email from a woman driver about a female friendly garage entry at the FOXY Choice website. She felt that this had been misleading and she clearly felt she hadn’t been treated with enough respect when she took her car in for some bodywork attention.

This is what she told us…

“Although xxx shows on your web site as carrying out bodywork repairs this is not correct. This type of repair is done by xxx a firm approved by Renault but not on your list. I think it wrong for xxx to list body repairs but not to carry out the work. Also I was not very impressed by their approach; I object to be kept waiting while staff have a chit chat.”

FOXY replied to say that we would pass on that feedback but that we’d appreciate her confirming the precise dealership location as we had more than one from the group in question listed on our network.

Time passed before we heard from her again. This time she said…

“Thanks for your email – I have been away. I have spoken to my husband who was sitting in my car and who was unaware that I had contacted you. He thinks I over-reacted and the delay in dealing with me was not long enough to warrant a formal complaint. On reflection I think he is right, but I was annoyed that although your/their web site said they carried out body repairs, in fact they do not. I still think they should make it clear that they use another company… Sorry to have caused so much trouble.”

Which caused us to reply thus…

“It is your decision as always but it was the bit about the staff ignoring you that we felt needed our attention. And what you said was how YOU felt at the time (and nothing to do with your husband really).

This is why FOXY exists; because women (like you) expect more from the motor industry than many men (like your husband) and we are prepared to complain when we don’t get it. Whereas he doesn’t want to make a fuss…

No big fuss either way and I wouldn’t call us a formal complaint anyway – we’re just here to help women (like you and I) get fairer treatment.”

We ended by suggesting she show her husband what the Telegraph said about us last week to explain what we’re all about…

We have yet to receive a reply…

We think she was right to tell us how she felt, he clearly thinks she shouldn’t have but what do you think?


Reasons why female friendly garages suit men too

Several garages call themselves female friendly and perhaps they are. But the true sign of a female friendly garage, in my opinion, is surely one that meets a set of quality, value, customer service and cleanliness criteria and joins the UK’s only female friendly garage network to prove this, prepared to be policed by members of FOXY Lady Drivers Club and other women drivers in their area.

Which makes a FOXY Choice approved female friendly garage one of the best out there, although perhaps I’m a bit biased here.

So why would a female friendly garage be good for men too?

Here are ten reasons why, based on our experience of family motoring and the mind-boggling range of garages purporting to be good enough despite the lack of regulation or demanding industry standards in this area.

1. Most men want to know where the best garages are in their area; they are as interested in quality, customer service and value for money factors as women.

2. Women are professional shoppers and tend to be more demanding when it comes to value for money than (many) men ie to pass the FOXY female friendly test, standards have to be higher.

3. You mightn’t have to take her car to the garage any more when she realises which ones know what she wants and are anxious to get service levels right for her…

4. If the garage in question is a member of the Club’s car check network you mightn’t have to check your wife/mother/gran/daughter’s car so often for air conditioning, tyres, lights, oil level, emissions, brake fluid and battery efficiency… This is a free service provided by many FOXY garages.

5 ….and men can have their car checked for all this too providing they can take a current members’ card.

6. Chances are garages listed by FOXY are ATA, BSI, car manufacturer or OFT approved. These are measurable signs of quality in an industry that isn’t regulated and which uses mechanics who aren’t qualified. No other UK garage register includes this independent information about workmanship standards.

7. Garages that are part of the FOXY Choice network have signed a promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell motoring services that aren’t needed.’

8. You can check out and compare the facilities and customer services offered by a franchised dealership or an independent garage depending on the work required, the car and your budget. No other garage network provides this detail.

9. If anything goes wrong you can ask FOXY Choice for advice and support.

10. FOXY Choice approved female friendly garages are more likely to employ women in customer facing roles (although they don’t have to). Not only does a friendly female make a welcome change in such a male dominated and jargon inclined industry but it increases the chances of getting a cuppa while you want and perhaps the customer washrooms will be cleaner because she’ll be keeping an eye on this for you.

Finally, do remember that complimentary testimonials are often about the front of house customer service and whilst that is undoubtedly very important it can disguise a lack of credentials where this really matters – to do with standards of workmanship. Once again FOXY Choice is the only garage network to identify all signs of quality workmanship here and if you’d like to know more, you can always read our Good Garage Guide for women.