GMS, Case Study: Cheltenham and Gloucester Autocentre
Cheltenham & Gloucester Autocentre is a good example of steady growth and modernisation with garage management software. Martyn’s aim is to retire eventually and leave the garage in focused and process-driven teams’ hands with the right tools.
About the company
Martyn and Carol took over Cheltenham and Gloucester Autocentre in 1999. Martyn, who has always been in the Motor Trade, runs this family-based local and independent Service, Repair and MOT Testing facility. Martyn’s wife and daughter work alongside him, assisting with Customer Service, Administration and Reception duties. They have a team of 8 people, 2 front of house, 4 technicians and then Martyn and Carol.
Over the years, they have continued developing and improving their business, which led to them winning the Top Garage Award of the year in 2019. They have continued to deliver fantastic customer service, which means they get lots of positive feedback and loyalty from their customers.
We asked Martyn some questions about his journey and how Garage Hive helped accomplish his business goals.
What prompted the change?
“The software we were on at the time wasn’t developing. It seemed as though it wasn’t going anywhere and wasn’t likely to change anytime soon. We had been on it 10 years, and I felt I’d outgrown it and wanted something that could streamline our business and give us more precise data to help make decisions to change things if needed. I wanted my garage to be more modern by becoming a paperless office with everything being digital.”
"There were a couple of software providers out there that we were interested in, but after weighing up all the pros and cons of each, we decided to take the plunge and buy Garage Hive."
What made Garage Hive stand out for you compared to others on the market?
"Personality of the staff was a key factor. I have a good rapport with the Garage Hive team. They are more responsive and suited to what we want in terms of support. They are always on hand to help us when we call up."
How was your experience during the implementation process?
“The first 3 months were challenging as it was a big change all our staff went through. There was some work involved in learning the process and getting in the habit of putting in the correct information in the front end.”
“There is a trade-off as we do need to put information in the front end of Garage Hive, but the trade-off is worth it for what is produced off the back end when looking at the Garage Hive Reporting app reports.”
How did you find the support from our Garage Hive team during and after going live?
“It was spot on. Dawn and Alex came down, we had the onsite training. It went very well. I don’t think we could have gone live without having the onsite training. There is a lot to learn.”
"Onsite support was pivotal to getting to grips with the system and getting familiar with the processes."
What are your favourite features?
"The Garage Hive Reporting app. It's all about the data and the decisions you can confidently make off the back of that information. Don't get me wrong there are some great features within Garage Hive. This one is just my personal preference."
“Customer surveys are also great! My staff love them as there is nothing more gratifying than getting feedback from customers or a nice set of results. It’s a way of motivating the staff. I share the weekly survey results and the scores and comments, good and bad. They get them all.”
“It has helped bring the job to life for them and spur them on to be more consistent. It backs up what I am saying about customer satisfaction, as there is proof in the Customer Feedback we share with them. They can see what our customers are saying about the level of service they are receiving.”
What biggest change have you noticed since switching over to Garage Hive?
“The business data as it is presented on Garage Hive Reporting app in an easy to understand format, which is quite nice. It helps me as the depth of the data is something I haven’t had before. I can look at the figures presented and can use this to take decisions to make other things happen. Because we do other things with other people to look at the business, the systems, processes and information available in Garage Hive have enabled me to make decisions to change things to improve my average invoice value. Decisions I would have made anyway, but I don’t know if these would have been made at the same pace. We did make the changes as the data backed up my feelings to give me the confidence to make the decisions.”
"What sets Garage Hive apart is the team and the community it has built of like-minded garage owners. It's a big community of professional but also personal relationships."
“It comes down to the people behind what you are using. As long as the software does what you need it to. The more important thing for me is down to the personalities of the Garage Hive team and the relationships I have developed with them. People do business with people at the end of the day, not just the company.
The community feel of the Garage Hive Facebook group there is proper togetherness, we are often meeting up with the Garage Hive team at events such as the Blend event they held. It’s like one big team. It feels like we are all working together in one way or another. The leadership team at Garage Hive has been pivotal in making it what it is as they understand about being a garage owner and listening to the community.”
“Don’t get me wrong, the software plays a very important part, but if I was shopping around for some software and they can all do similar things, i.e. produce invoices, produce data, have features for workshop management etc. But then you look at what can separate one software apart from the others.”
"I am looking to retire soon. We are working on getting the business ready and in a position where we don't have to be there, as I have a team in place to run it for me."
Why would you recommend Garage Hive to another garage owner?
"As a whole complete package, it gives you everything from software to the people. You feel like you have to have it as nothing else out there that ticks all the boxes. There is so much to Garage Hive on so many levels that the progress it can help you make as a business is endless. With new features being released, it will never end to improve. It does take time to learn, and you have to have that view that it will take time and be willing to put the work in. But once you get to grips with using it, the results are more than worth the work you put in."