Customer service gaps : a case study of small automotive service centres in Auckland, New Zealand

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Singh, Niranjan
Tawaketini, Jone
Kudin, Roman
Hamilton, Gerry
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Conference Contribution - Paper in Published Proceedings
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Auckland (N.Z.)
New Zealand
automotive service industry
customer service
health and safety
workshop compliance
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Singh, N., Tawaketini, J., Hamilton, G., & Kudin, R. (2020). Customer service gaps: A case study of small automotive service centres in Auckland, New Zealand. In Heather Hamerton and Cath Fraser (Ed.), Kotahitanga: He Mahinga - Working in Partnership to Improve Outcomes for Learners and Communities .(pp. 67-74). Retrieved from
RESEARCH QUESTION: How deep is the customer service gap in the automotive after-market service industry in New Zealand? ABSTRACT: Auckland New Zealand has 1,791 automotive repair workshops, of which the majority are owner operated and employ few people. The presentation will describe a research project undertaken to investigate the gap between current customer service and good customer service practices which can lead to improved business outcomes. The research was initiated by the authors in response to data collected by groups of students as part of their study in a level 6 course in a degree programme. Twenty-six reports from a seven-year period were used to extract data. Qualitative methodology was used to analyse data as the reports were diverse and complex, and often subjective. The research revealed gaps between customer expectations and the service that the workshops provided. Key findings included workshop employees having the dual role of technicians as well as customer care, and that most workshops studied did not have dedicated space for customers to wait in, therefore exposing them to the operation of the workshop. The exposure of the customers leaves the person conducting the business of the workshop open for litigation and penalties which may impact on the economic viability of the business. Recommendations for industry stakeholders include training of staff who face customers, creating a safe waiting area and keeping customers out of harm’s way. A recommendation is also made that the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment conduct regular compliance checks of these small service providers to eliminate malpractices and create a safe work environment. The presentation reflects on the nature of student research in the workplace, referencing the underpinning values of Kaitiakitanga (Guardianship of knowledge) and Mahi Kotahitanga (Cooperation) which guided the project.
Toi-Ohomai Institute of Technology
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