Introduction to BCS Code of Practice

The BCS network is made up of high quality independent garages who work very hard to provide customers with excellent service.

The BCS Code of Practice is a written summary of these efforts and thus provides a tool to explain to customers the level of service and care available and why customers should choose a BCS garage.

Introduction to BCS Code of Practice

Discrimination

A BCS must not discriminate for any reason and will treat all customers with courtesy, respect and fairness.

A non-discrimination policy shows the BCS garage is aware of and is dealing with these issues. A non-discrimination policy may be a verbal command but a written statement is preferable; this may take the form of a note to each member of staff or a notice displayed in an appropriate location e.g. garage reception.

What is the background and what needs to be done?

Consumer advisory bodies are concerned since evidence exists of certain consumer groups receiving a lower standard of customer care and/or inflated costs because of their gender and disability. 

Staff must be willing to serve customers equally regardless of race, colour, ethic or national origins, religion, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation or disability. 

Mark the following statement as true or false.

  • BCS garages can demonstrate their understanding and handling of these issues by having a non-discrimination policy

Customer requirements and Customer expectations

Why do we need to understand the customers requirements?

A BCS must make every effort to understand the customer's requirements and expectations, and will not recommend or carry out work which is unnecessary or unnecessarily expensive.

The initial discussions with the customer will form the basis of the relationship between the BCS garage and the customer. In order to supply the relevant goods and services to the customer, it is essential that their requirements are fully understood.

Poor or insufficient communication between the customer and garage is seen as the main factor in disputes. When the customer's requirements and/or expectations are not fully met, a customer may go elsewhere in the future and advise friends and family to do the same. 

How do we handle a very specific customer requirement?

In these circumstances, the garage receptionist must determine whether or not the customer's request can be fulfilled without the possibility of infringing any other legislation or company policy. If the request is feasible, the BCS must accurately record the specific requirements of the customer. 

What is the main cause for garage disputes?

  • Bad workmanship
  • Poor or insufficient communication
  • Cleanliness of the garage

Vulnerable Customers

Who are vulnerable customers?

Vulnerable customers include a wide group of people whose circumstances may result in them having an increased chance of making an incorrect or inappropriate decision. This vulnerability may arise from a disability, poor literacy skills, lack of knowledge regarding their vehicle or having to make a decision at a time of stress. 

How should vulnerable customers be handled?

In the case of vulnerable customers,  a BCS must demonstrate the highest level of patience, understanding, care and helpfulness to ensure that the customer has access to, and is able to make a balanced and informed choice of services and/or products. 

Reception staff must be aware that additional care and patience are required with vulnerable customers. 

Which of these is NOT a characteristic of a vulnerable customer?

  • Disability
  • Bad hair day
  • Poor literacy skills
  • Lack of knowledge regarding their vehicle

High Pressure Selling

What is High Pressure selling?

High Pressure selling techniques are those tactics associated with unfairly creating an environment which prevents customers from making decisions based on clear and comprehensive information.

Why is it not used in the BCS network?

High Pressure selling techniques are deemed unfair as they result in the customer being disadvantaged and leads to ill-informed, unnecessary and/or incorrect purchases being made. 

A BCS must not use any high pressure selling techniques, but will inform the customer of any action, that in their opinion, is to be recommended on the grounds of safety, reliability or simply good customer care.

Staff need to be aware that it is your company policy not to engage in high pressure selling of goods and services.

Mark the following statement as true or false.

  • High Pressure selling techniques are encouraged in order to create more profit

Estimates and Work Authorisation

Estimates

A BCS garage must offer and, if required, provide customers with a detailed written estimate that includes the cost of parts, labour, other cost of services and VAT

Why are estimates important to the credibility of the BCS garage?

Consumer advisory bodies regularly receive complaints regarding situations where the final costs and charges applied have no resemblance to those originally indicated.

The offer of a written estimate confirms the reliability of the BCS garage. 

Before continuing, a BCS must seek consumer authorisation for any work or costs that become apparent during the work phase that were not previously agreed. 

What should be detailed in a written estimate? (Choose 3)

  • Cost of parts
  • Cost of labour
  • Customer's home address
  • VAT

Diagnostics

What issues surround Diagnostic work?

The majority of customers are unaware of the investments made by the BCS garage in diagnostic equipment, software, information and training. In some cases, customers will view diagnostic testing as free of charge or a low cost activity simply needed to arrive at a repair cost. 

Sometimes, it may be necessary to explain the investment needed to carry out diagnostic testing and provide the customer with a reason for these charges. 

Payment Methods

A BCS must display details of accepted payment methods (credit cards, etc.) within the customer reception area, as a sign of professionalism and good customer care. 

A small counter top sign indicating accepted cards is sufficient. 

If customers are to be charged a fee for payment e.g. for using a credit card, then a notice must be displayed at public entrances and points of payment.

Where must a notice regarding charges for payment be displayed?

  • Public entrance and workshop
  • Public entrance and points of payment
  • Points of payment and restrooms

Completion Times

Why should customers only be quoted realistic completion times?

A BCS must provide the customer with a realistic completion time. Unrealistic completion times will greatly inconvenience the customer and are often the subject of complaints.

To avoid this problem, A BCS should use a formal diary or management booking system to underpin completion times.

If a delay becomes unavoidable, a BCS should give the customer as much notice as possible, to allow the customer to agree alternative completion arrangements or to exercise the cancellation rights afforded by our Code of Practice.

Mark the following statement as true or false.

  • A BCS should use a formal diary or management booking system to underpin completion times.

Displaced Parts

What are the issues surrounding displaced parts?

Complaints are often received regarding charges that have been made for parts which have been unnecessarily replaced or not fitted at all

Upon request, a BCS garage will make the parts removed or replaced available . This ensures to the customer the premise that only work which is necessary has been carried out, gaining the trust of the customer. 

Invoices

A BCS must provide an invoice which clearly shows details of labour charges, parts replaced, consumables used and any specific service routines carried out.

An accurate invoice benefits both the customer and BCS, as it is a record upon which both parties may  base any following After Sales Service and warranty on. 

A BCS must also ensure that the content and value of the final invoice will correspond to those details previously quoted, subject to additional work being authorised by the customer. 

To show good customer care, a BCS should include recommendations or observations regarding the need for further work or concerns related to safety aspects on the final invoice. However, customers are not obliged to follow recommendations for additional work. 

Which does NOT need to be included on an invoice?

  • Customer bank details
  • Parts replaced
  • Details of labour charges
  • Consumables used

Warranty

A BCS garage must guarantee their work; it is standard practice within the BCS network for garages to offer warranty on parts and labour for the services provided and/or parts fitted. By doing this, a BCS will respect and abide by the statutory rights afforded to customers by law. 

What information do we need to give the customer regarding warranty for work we have carried out?

 A BCS can simply provide customers with clear and accurate details of the warranty coverage for parts and labour before and after the completion of work. 

Giving this information to customers is an important part of protecting and promoting consumers interests. 

Mark the following statement as true or false.

  • A BCS does not need to offer warranty on parts fitted and services provided

After Sales Service

The term 'After Sales Service' means those provisions in place to handle any queries or concerns a customer may have subsequent to the completion of a job. 

What does the Code of Practice require?

A BCS garage must respond promptly and effectively to any inquiries from customers relating to work they have previously carried out. This will provide reassurance to the customer, leading to customer loyalty and customer recommendations. 

Cancellation Rights

The term 'cancellation rights' means that the customer is allowed to cancel the repair/service agreement at any time.

What does the Code of Practice require?

In such cases, a BCS must minimise the cost to the customer but, equally, costs which have been reasonably incurred up to the point of cancellation may be charged. 

These costs may include labour and parts for work already completed plus the cost of other parts or services ordered. 

Match the correct answers up

  • Cancellation rights means
    the customer is allowed to cancel the repair/service agreement at any time.
  • A BCS must
    minimise the cost to the customer

Customer Complaints

How should customer complaints be handled?

A BCS must do all they can to ensure their customers are happy with the customer service and repairs they receive. 

However, in the event that a customer is displeased, the BCS Code of Practice lays out a three-step complaint handling procedure which complies with the requirements of the OFT

Complaints procedure

Step 1: Complaining to the BCS 

  • The BCS garage should have a strong commitment to customer satisfaction and should therefore want to work with the customer to resolve the complaint fairly and quickly.

Step 2: Conciliation by Bosch

  • If the BCS cannot resolve the complaint, Bosch will provide a free of charge conciliation service. 
  • Bosch will work with the customer and the BCS garage to resolve the customer's complaint speedily and fairly.

Step 3: Independent Adjudication

  • Adjudication enables a complaint to be reviewed independently of Bosch and a recommendation provided as to how the complaint may be resolved. 
  • The recommendation of the Adjudicator is binding  on the BCS garage; however the customer remains free to reject this proposal. 

After this, a customer may take the complaint to the Courts or to CTSI (Chartered Trading Standards Institution) 

Reception staff should refer to the Code of Practice and familiarise themselves with the customer complaints procedure. 

Mark the following statements as true or false.

  • If a customer has a complaint, they should contact the BCS garage first