Kwik-fit: getting better

  25 February 2013

Kwik-fit has been part of our townscapes for, it seems, forever. Those with long memories and more than a few grey hairs may even recall founder Sir Tom Farmer’s personal customer promise appearing on their press ads.

To say nothing of the dancing fitters in TV commercials of yore. Then, the brand slogan ‘you can’t get better than a Kwik-fit fitter…’ was as likely to evoke a wry cough from customers as it was an accepting smile.

But Kwik-fit is changing. Last year owners the Itochu Corp set aside £20m to refurbish a tranche of its 670-odd stores.

That’s now taking effect. The chain was looking down-at-heel – my local branch is grubby and unwelcoming, its customer waiting area is cheerless and offers a stack of much-thumbed car mags as the sole source of entertainment.

But the new-gen branches are bright and customer-focused, offering free coffee that’s pretty good. The company is recruiting hard, too, to bring in more skilled personnel. It’s also looking to the long-term, having launched a drive to hire more apprentices, which it trains at its own academies in Derby, Gloucester, Harlow and Broxburn.

What’s more, the quality of training is rated Ofsted Grade 1 and has Beacon status.

While Kwik-fit’s past reputation for quality of work and customer care may linger like a bad small, a trawl across web forums suggests that, by and large, customers nowadays are happy.  And its mobile tyre fitting service, newly available to private owners, wins them friends, too.

Add in free puncture repairs and free replacement brake pads for as long as you own the car and their customer offer is compelling. Is yours as good?

Ray Castle

Editor, Auto Retail Agenda

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