We have a new homepage for the Club’s website making it easier for visitors to see what we do.
Until now we’ve focused our sales efforts on individual female motorists but we also have new membership packages for employers, groups and associations so we need to get this message across as well.
This has required us to look for, identify and advantage new business partners where there is a genuine and reciprocal business case.
And we’re working with some great partners I’m delighted to say.
Three Different Types of Business Partnership
Just to explain where we’re starting from here. FOXY Lady Drivers Club is run on a not for profit basis. This means no salaries for the individuals that work here. Profits are called surpluses and they get re-invested in the business.
Clearly we do need to earn some money, so the Club is funded by key business partners including the FOXY Lady Approved garages, car dealers and tyre centres our sister website FOXY Choice manages, identifying, promoting and monitoring as female friendly, ahead of others.
These businesses support us through an annual subscription to one of our approved networks in exchange for female friendly marketing services which include gift memberships of The Club for their female customers. In this way we can help these business partners grow their female fan club by keeping in touch with them in-between motoring-related purchases.
We also work with remarkable business groups and associations that are largely run by and for women – this means we understand each other’s perspective. Businesses like Mumpreneurs Networking Club, named groups within The Athena Network and certain WI Federations can give their female customers/members free gift membership of FOXY Lady Drivers Club within this partnership.
We also recognise and reward our business partners that supply Club members with specialist benefits such as VIP car checks, airport parking, legal, motor claims and anxiety support services. So they can benefit from this relationship as well, we allow their female customers to claim free gift memberships of the Club as a gesture of our goodwill here.
Do have a look at our new partners’ scheme page to see what we’re offering. And if you would like to enquire about a new business partnership, in line with others on offer, please introduce yourself and your business to me via firstname.lastname@example.org.
This means it is both a Female Friendly Approved business and employer in Norwich.
To join our approved network requires automotive businesses to demonstrate a minimum package of credentials which NMG has exceeded, for the following reasons.
We first met NMG in the run up to their Ladies Evening in mid-February when more than 120 local women drivers attended this highly social evening covering important motoring-related issues such as driving attitudes & behaviour, DIY car maintenance checks and an entertaining session providing memorable advice and demonstrating self defence techniques.
These events are always fun first.
But they also inform and educate women about their critical personal safety, driving safety and vehicle safety. Everyone comes away with at least one important and timely message, and of course this reflects positively on the perceived ethics of the organiser because only businesses that truly want to give something back to their local community are prepared to invest the time and resource towards a free activity which isn’t actively selling cars.
New Car Sales, Used Car Sales and Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles
Having said that, NMG’s main business is obviously selling and repairing cars.
They hold Kia and Suzuki franchises so if you drive these makes of cars, or would like to, in or near Norwich, this is where to come to buy them, trade them in or to have them serviced and repaired.
NMG also sell other makes and models of approved used family cars as well as Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) so it’s a business that covers the majority of transport needs.
And which women know they can trust.
Signs Of Measurable Quality
We look for all signs of measurable quality before accepting garages or car dealers on to our network. This is because used car sales and car servicing are unregulated areas in the motor industry and too few staff are licensed to do these jobs.
One of the best things about choosing a franchised dealership rather than an independent is the reassurance that they have been approved by the manufacturer they represent.
Another standard FOXY looks for is EITHER that the business (used car dealers and independent garages too) operates to a Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) Approved Code of Practice scheme OR is listed on the IMI Professional Register.
In this case many members of NMG staff are Master Technicians, others are trained in the latest electric and hybrid technologies and the business is a member of the CTSI’s New Car Code, Car Sales Code and Service and Repair Code operated by The Motor Ombudsman.
From a customer service point of view, NMG is open 5 and half days a week for car servicing, MOT, repairs and parts. There’s a courtesy bus, a fleet of courtesy cars and a local collection and delivery vehicle service.
Sales Departments are open 7 days a week, including most Bank Holidays, and only close on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Easter Sunday.
They also support many local groups, schools, clubs & charities.
The final yet critical ingredient is for FOXY to monitor female feedback in addition to NMG’s existing and very high customer satisfaction scores. By using our certificates in their business they are actively courting ALL feedback and giving females a gift membership of FOXY Lady Drivers Club as a thank you for their time. The point of this is that whilst we all expect feedback to be positive, if it wasn’t, NMG still wants to know, so they can put it right.
And perhaps that’s the main reason why this business passes our FOXY test with flying colours.
1/ Because their motto is ‘Nobody Tries Harder Than NMG…Nobody‘!
2/ Because they evidently want to do a better job for women drivers, by joining this scheme.
3/ Because they are dedicated to doing this from the top of NMG to the showroom floor – we’re dealing with NMG’s Managing Director who definitely sees this as a long term commitment.
All this is good news for women drivers in and around Norwich. If that’s you, then I invite you to visit their branches in Norwich and put your name down for a future Ladies Evening at 79 Mile Cross Lane.
They may even offer you a gift membership of FOXY Lady Drivers Club for doing this.
For More Information
NMG’s HQ is 79 Mile Cross Lane in Norwich, NR6 6TX
Please read NMG’s business story.
Kia and family car sales tel: 01603 775100
Suzuki new and used cars tel:01603 418700
NMG family car, WAV and SUV centre tel: 01603 401044
We’re told it takes more lessons for young women to pass their driving test than young men on average.
Exceptions apply as ever.
An explanation for this might be research suggesting that females of all ages are more nervous than their male counterparts.
But the way I see it is that young women have fewer accidents than (most) young men so isn’t it a good thing to have more lessons, be cautious and take longer to become a better driver?
Regardless of age, I speak to a lot of women who suffer from a lack of driver confidence. Maybe they don’t drive much nowadays so it doesn’t come as naturally as it did. Or perhaps it’s because of our crowded roads and all too frequently reported incidents of road rage.
Many tell me they’re frightened about tackling motorways, driving a new (strange) car and they often struggle to concentrate at times – on a familiar route to work perhaps or after a bad night’s sleep?
Driving Instructors that understand women
This is why FOXY is recruiting a new Register of Driving Instructors that are sympathetic towards our gender perspective and who are ready, patient and willing to make us better drivers at the end of the day.
The theory is that if your Driving Instructor is measurably better than the rest you’ll likely need fewer lessons to pass and if it’s a more enjoyable time at the wheel, you’ll relax and have fun. Why shouldn’t learning to drive be fun as well as informative, whether it’s your first lessons, completing the PassPlus programme, taking your Advanced Motoring test or blacking up for a confidence or motorway driving refresher course.
So if you can recommend a genuinely female friendly Driving Instructor who’s getting things right for women as is, we’d be happy to FOXY Lady Approve them then introduce them to local lady drivers.
FOXY Lady Approved Driving Instructors
To be FOXY Lady Approved, Driving Instructors need to be approved by the Driver Vehicle and Standards Agency (DVSA) and follow the ADI/DVSA voluntary Code of Practice for starters. We then list additional credentials, the various courses they offer and female feedback. We want to know if the Instructor was punctual, friendly and a good teacher, for example. And whether the car was safe, clean and well-maintained? Marks out of 5 please from 1 as in woeful to 5 as in wonderful…
Finally, in exchange for feedback about any FOXY Lady Approved Driving Instructor, their female pupils can claim a free lifetime Online Member subscription to FOXY Lady Drivers Club as a thank you.
No, driving instructors don’t have to be female to be FOXY Lady Approved in fact this is another area to do with motoring where there are many more men doing this job than females. Which is where FOXY can help again – we want to raise awareness among women drivers that being a Driving Instructor is both a satisfying and meaningful career option. So motorists can have a gender choice when it comes to choosing a local Driving Instructor to suit their needs and expectations.
For More Information
To recommend a genuinely female friendly Instructor (male or female) please email email@example.com.
Would you buy an MOT and a manicure, or a massage, if they were attractively packaged and priced? I’d certainly consider it.
As you may know, FOXY Lady Drivers Club includes a network of garages that meet our standards in terms of quality, ethics, value for money, cleanliness and customer services.
We do this because few women realise that garages aren’t regulated and mechanics don’t have to be licensed to repair our cars. Which can make for dangerous cars and rip off practices which we know a lot about.
So we check out garage credentials for females and then promote them as FOXY Lady Approved ie female friendly, requiring regular female feedback to keep them on our network and their toes.
To the best of my knowledge one of our FOXY Lady Approved garages in Oxfordshire, called Carterton Auto Repair, is the first in the UK to offer women the combination of manicures and massages included in the cost of their MOT. As you might expect, this is a bit of light-hearted marketing fun but not everyone always sees gender marketing messages in this light.
Just for the record, this sort of initiative isn’t new in the US, France or Australia where women seem more relaxed about this choice of customer services.
What Mumsnetters think of Manicures in Garages
So where best to find out what UK women think about all this than that august barometer of female taste, Mumsnet. Posted under Feminism/Womens Rights this is what NotRealName wanted her fellow Mums to react to, followed by others taking similar and opposed stances.
All this makes for interesting insight for FOXY of course, because motoring services for women are what we do. But it just shows you how different women can be from each other, let alone men. And how unforgiving women can be when it comes to their gender…
Luckily Carterton services are optional and we know why they are doing this and I’m sure it’s a practice that’ll spread, even if you drop your car off and go next door for your manicure.
Men can be arsey too
And if anyone thinks it’s just women that can be arsey here, think again. In a garage in Kent last week the owner told me he’d had to remove his offer of a free Club membership for women drivers leaving feedback because the men wanted to know why they didn’t get one. The owner didn’t know to say ‘Sign your FOXY Lady up, Bill’ and you can likely share her offers and such like.
All this is ironic really. The garage industry has been run by men for men since WWII. Even today only a woeful 2% of staff in the retail motor industry are female. And now that the number of women drivers is about to outnumber that of men, men aren’t prepared to put up with female service levels today, after expecting us to do precisely this for 70 years…
And if men had sorted out the motoring industry during their 70 year reign, it wouldn’t be as dysfunctional as it is and there’d be no need for a motoring support service like ours for women. Which would be an all round good thing.
So let’s all grow up here.
Women are different from each other.
Men and women are different from each other.
Mumsnetters include mouthy and tolerant feminist views alike.
We all need to get on with it and let individual choice prevail.
Let’s celebrate well-intentioned initiatives like Cartertons (and FOXY) that are designed to give us choices that didn’t exist beforehand. It mightn’t be for you and it’s definitely not meant for everyone. But it’s called personal choice and I for one buy it.
Pebley Beach is an award-winning and FOXY Lady Approved car dealership in Swindon.
It is also a Suzuki dealership where Club members in the Swindon area can claim exclusive model discounts.
So we wanted to know more about the Pebley Beach award winning business model and asked their Managing Director, Dom Threlfall, to tell us what they are doing that clearly many others aren’t.
This sentiment is neatly summed up in Dom’s quote.
“I believe great customer service is the key to business success – whatever business you’re in”
Top Ten Customer Service Takeaways
And so do we Dom, hence FOXY’s TOP TEN small and simple but spot on customer service favourites that Pebley Beach put into action and explain why they are on our FOXY Lady Approved list ahead of others…
1/ Reserved parking bays near the main entrance for customers with an appointment
2/ Expecting staff to walk customers back to their car
3/ Using a piece of tape to remind our technicians where the car seat was positioned.
“We’ve had married couples asking us to keep the tape in place, so that they know how far to put the seat back or forward for their partners!”
4/ Welcoming MoT and car servicing reminders.
5/ Simple online booking systems to free up staff to deliver personal customer service.
6/ The ability to watch technicians work on your car via a smartphone (a Hyundai service which Dom hopes will be rolled out nationally).
7/ A strategy to identify and recruit rising stars as apprentices, training them with a view to the future. Pebley Beach has won Awards for this approach as have many of their long standing staff as a result of this.
8/ Recognition that Pebley Beach is a community business requiring ethical behaviour at all times, manifesting this in upright and transparent customer dealings. The red and yellow football card photo above is a good example of this – it’s sarcasm that gets yellow and red cards at Pebley Beach…
10/ Finally customers are encouraged to leave a voice mail message for Dom if he’s not in the business at the time. This is an excellent way to head off customer concerns that might otherwise escalate.
Other customer service initiatives
In recognition of his ability to convert good ideas into measurable actions Suzuki has sponsored Dom to attend the NADA Expo, the annual convention of the National Automobile Dealers’ Association where US dealers come together to compare the latest services and developments. And it’s said that whatever is hitting the spot in the US it will soon do so in the UK.
Certainly that is true about the female friendly car dealership business model askpatty.com that launched at the same time as FOXY in the UK. And where the number of women drivers exceeded the number of male ones ahead of this happening in the UK.
“No-one does customer service like the Americans,” said Dom “so I was looking for great ideas that I can adopt in the UK.
“But best practice doesn’t just come from within the industry. Every time I’m at a restaurant, book into a hotel, or even order a pizza I’ll replicate anything that’s given me a great customer experience.”
Dom is also in demand as a business speaker and shared a platform at the Customer Service Summit in April 2016 with Jo Causon, CEO of The Institute of Customer Service; Linda Moir, former director of In Flight Services, Virgin Atlantic; Catherine Hutt, principal consultant (automotive) at Frost & Sullivan; and Captain Gary Barrow of King’s Royal Hussars, giving delegates an unusual insight into how the Army tackles this topic.
We’ll be returning to Pebley Beach later in the year to see what new NADA initiatives Dom might adopt and to measure the success of our FOXY Lady Approved services in terms of increased numbers of female customers. They are usually wary women who spot that Pebley Beach is the first dealership in Swindon to meet our standards ie our female car buying choice.
And as you can see from Dom’s approach, he is leading the car dealer field in Wiltshire by recognising that it isn’t just women who expect more from garages and car showrooms – men are equally delighted when the quality customer service bar is raised.
The challenge for other car dealerships is clear – they need to think as creatively about their own customer services, not just follow Pebley Beach’s examples.
“The greater the competition, the higher the customer service standard gets.”
says I, welcoming this challenge as ever.
FOR MORE INFORMATION…
See Dom at the Swindon Business Show demonstrating Pebley Beach systems efficiencies as a means of increasing the time available for staff to maintain the (often missing elsewhere) personal touch.