Halfords boss Jill McDonald believes the retailer’s customer service proposition will prove to be the “secret sauce” in her strategy.

McDonald, who joined the cycling and car parts retailer from fast food giant McDonalds almost two years ago, is bidding to ramp up its service credentials as part of a drive to build customer loyalty.

Halfords has taken an £8m stake in TyresOnTheDrive.com as part of that strategy and McDonald said she has “a shopping list” of other service-related areas in which she plans to invest.

Speaking at Retail Week Live, McDonald said: “The focus is really on service in our DNA because I feel that I so mission-critical to us.

“To use an expression from my previous employer, it really is our secret sauce.

“Providing trusted advice and expertise to fiddle around with peoples’ cars and peoples’ bikes – whether it’s fitting bulbs, repairing a windscreen chip or making sure that special bike that you’re going to use on a ride is in special condition – that takes quite a lot of trust to hand over your possessions to us to work on.

“As well as helping drive sales, the side of our business that is really growing double-digit fast is that do-it-for-me trade where people haven’t got the time or the inclination to do it themselves.”

McDonald, who said the business is also placing a much greater focus on customer data in order to better understand its shoppers, added: “When you work with a customer to repair their car or their bike, you have much deeper engagement with the customer.

“You are having much deeper dialogue and you are building a deeper relationship.

“We know from our stats and our research that when customers visit us and receive a repair, advocacy and repeat visits are significantly higher. It really is a win-win.”