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Customer demand drives independent garage recruitment

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Customer demand is behind an independent garage recruitment drive for Epyx’s 1link Service Network.

A wider choice of outlets is being called for, while new customers joining the platform are wanting to continue using existing suppliers not currently on the network.

Furthermore, customers are eager to avoid coronavirus creating a bottleneck of both MOT testing and general maintenance work, says Epyx.

The 1link Service Network is used by fleets totalling four million cars, vans and trucks to buy and manage service, maintenance and repair (SMR) from nearly 9,000 franchise, independent and fast-fits.

Debbie Fox, commercial director at Epyx, explained: “There’s perhaps a tendency to look at this recruitment drive and conclude that it is a result of fleets wanting to buy more SMR from independents.

“Rather, what has happened is that more SME fleet business is being transacted through the platform as a result of new Epyx products designed to target these users. Many of these businesses tend to want to still use their local independent with which they have a longstanding relationship while embracing our technology.”

Fox says Epyx is also seeing increased demand for SMR services in places where geographically, no local franchise option exists.

However, she said that the coronavirus crisis has had an obvious impact on SMR, “especially with the six-month MOT deferrals creating the potential for a glut of demand for testing from the end of September, alongside widespread delays in maintenance creating a backlog”.

Independent garages have long been part of the SMR provision with 1link Service Network.

“A large proportion of our network has always been drawn from non-franchised dealers and they have always been part of our proposition,” continued Fox.

“Currently, they account for more than 46% of the SMR suppliers listed on the platform, and they are widely valued by our fleet customers for the services they provide.”

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