Skip to content

How Poor IT Systems Left Halfords Flat But Saved Me £25 on a Puncture Repair

The service at my local garage has always been professional and prompt. But when I took my car in to get a puncture repaired recently the team were wrestling with a refreshed IT system imposed on them by their new masters, Halfords.

Armed with cheap touchscreen tablets behind the counter and on the garage floor, the problems started almost immediately. I was handed the soon-to-be oily tablet to sign to allow my puncture to be repaired. The unresponsive screen tried and failed to capture my signature, doing little to lock me in to any contractual obligation that Halfords felt necessary.

As always, the team worked quickly to fix my puncture. But the system was forcing the team to take pictures of the brakes and other parts of the car, with the hope that Halfords could up-sell other services to me and make more money. The mechanic hated this part of the new system as he felt it took away from him his professional opinion as to when additional work might be necessary. The mandatory upsell step was made more comical by the fact that my car is almost brand new with few miles on the clock.

A trainer had been brought in to assist the team with the first day of the new system, but he was also struggling to work through the steps the system imposed. Everyone agreed that life would be much easier if the touchscreen was more responsive, but somewhere along the lines, savings needed to be made with the hardware.

Twenty-odd minutes after my puncture had been repaired and still nobody could complete or follow the imposed processes so that they could finally charge me for the work. Exasperated, my mechanic said that, due to the inconvenience, I could have the work for free.

I wonder how many more people got free repairs that day? Hopefully they’ve been able to iron out these issues before the mechanics lost faith in the system and figured out workarounds. But this recent trip to National Tyre Centre reminded me of the importance of getting the right people involved when designing IT systems to best serve customers. And the best people are invariably those that handle the complexities and nuances of working with real-life customers.

Crimson doesn’t work with car garages, but we’re certainly experts in planning and implementing intelligent customer experiences in the higher education and housing sectors. Let’s see how we can help you today, starting with a free discovery call.

Get More From Microsoft: Click for a FREE Discovery Call