The HiQ fast fit network is celebrating its biggest success story of 2011 after one of its centres was crowned as the National Tyre Distributors Association's official 'Tyre Retailer of the Year'.

At the annual NTDA Tyre and Fast Fit (TAFF) Awards, HiQ Plymouth were the inaugural recipients of the award, following an intense assessment programme aimed at recognising standards in customer service and satisfaction.

New for 2011, the 'Tyre Retailer of the Year' accolade was set-up to officially recognise those retailers that deliver excellence in service and standards on a daily basis.

HiQ, who pride themselves on a jargon-free service, were also congratulated for having HiQ centres in Crewe and Helston shortlisted to win the award.

HiQ is a national Franchise network made up of 150 centres that each commit to a code of conduct in line with their brand ethos of being a 'fast fit network you can be sure of.'

The brand has invested heavily to position itself as consumer champions while creating a compelling retail experience on a par with many high street brands, including:

1.  Customer surveys completed after every garage visit.

2.  Telephone and video mystery shopping programmes including weekly telephone call recordings at each centre.

3. Launch of HiQ Academy's new 'Tyre Expert' programme; including tyre technical training, retail selling skills and an industry first tyre labelling certification module.

4. Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA) assessments for all 700 technicians to raise standards, through theory based modules and then practical assessments.

5. Centre refurbishments - The network has invested in transforming and refurbishing every centre with modern and contemporary facilities to deliver a welcoming and customer friendly environment for every visitor. 

HiQ Plymouth's franchisee Bob Saunders, said: "I am absolutely over the moon. I am delighted to win this award and it is with great thanks to the team I have around me.

"We take pride in the fact that we recognise good customer service and we work hard to ensure our standards are maintained at the highest possible level, every day. To be officially recognised for this is a superb reward."  

HiQ's Retail Director, Peter Tye, said: "This is a fantastic achievement for us and one that exemplifies our efforts in raising standards and service throughout the network.

"We want to change the stereotypical opinion of garages as unwelcoming and untrustworthy and prove that the face of the industry is changing, for the better.

"We invest in our customers so we can provide an uncompromising service that pushes boundaries. We know what customers expect, and we deliver it.

"High praise must go to the franchise owner Bob Saunders and his team at HiQ Plymouth for this fantastic result. I also want to congratulate Andy Bucknall of HiQ Crewe and Justin Roberton of HiQ Helston who both made the final shortlist.

"We will continue to raise our standards across the network and no doubt, these results will act as a benchmark for uniformity across all our centres."

Richard Edy, director of the NTDA said: Congratulations to HiQ Plymouth. Above all, HiQ should be congratulated for their unfailing standards in customer care. 

"For HiQ to boast three shortlisted centres is a fantastic achievement and demonstrates all of the hard work the brand has undertaken to create a memorable retail proposition.

"The award was created to underline our message that tyre centres across the UK are doing a great deal to change perceptions about the fast fit industry. For that reason HiQ deserve this recognition. Well done."