By Keith Beveridge
How do you delight a customer who has contacted you for a windshield repair (WSR)? How do you guarantee that your organization will exceed your customer’s expectations so they will (hope-fully) become active promoters of your business?
Before this question is answered, it is important to understand your customer’s motivation and buying behavior. This will allow you to de-sign a customer experience that will result in customer delight.
Generally, your customers are motivated to consider windshield repair for the following reasons:
• Unfamiliar Territory – since auto glass breakage is an infrequent event, many vehicle owners do not know the options that exist to fix their broken windshield. There is additional customer confusion because the general population sometimes uses re-pair to describe both repair and replacement. In your customer’s mind, a broken windshield is a “grudge” purchase. No one wakes up in the morning and is excited about fixing their windshield.
• Quick Resolution and Convenience—in todays’ fast pace world, once a decision is made, consumers want it done now. They also want it done on their terms.
• Save Money, Part I—the majority of customers are motivated by saving money. Many insurance carriers still waive the vehicle owner’s deductible for repair, keeping customer’s out-of-pocket costs a zero. When an insurance carrier does not waive a deductible or when the deductible is too high, WSR will be the cheaper option.
• Save Money, Part II—some vehicle owners are concerned about the effect a claim may have on their individual policies. Others may be concerned about the impact of increased total claims by their carrier. Both these situations might lead to an increase in insurance premiums for the owner.
• Save Money, Part III—some vehicle owners know that WSR will save them money if the current windshield installation is left in-tact on newer vehicles equipped with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) as the ADAS system usually will not need to be recalibrated.
• Environmentally Friendly—WSR is environmentally friendly. According to a November Forbes article by Solitaire Townsend, 96% of the surveyed consumers believe their individual actions can make a real difference in the world and 88% of them want to do business with brands that are environmentally-friendly.
• Safety, Part I—WSR maintains the structural integrity of the original windshield installation.
• Safety, Part II—WSR generally is a much quicker fix than replacement and can be done immediately as there are no parts to buy. The windshield’s optical clarity is restored and the vehicle is back on the road almost immediately.
• Connected Journeys—today’s customers expect quick and seamless transactions. If you need their insurance carrier’s approval, they expect you to facilitate it.
A recent study by Salesforce found that 76% of consumers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations and 84% said being treated like a person is very important to winning their business. By better understanding your customer’s expectations, you can design a robust Customer Experience (CX) program to meet their needs. Your WSR CX program needs to address the following issues:
• Quick resolution with minimal effort:
• Cost savings;
• Environmentally-friendly results; and
Remember you are your customer’s auto glass expert and you and your team can set your customer’s WSR expectations. We need to start by breaking down your various customer interactions. We can then follow the 10-step process that will allow you to deliver on your promise and de-light your customers. By breaking the process into typical customer interactions we can determine which of your employees is responsible for what step in this process. Your typical customer interactions are:
• Initial customer contact;
• Job scheduling;
• Customer greeting;
• Vehicle preinspection and WSR; and
• Customer acceptance and vehicle return.
We can identify the key steps in your CX program to ensure you de-light your customers.
(CSR or Manager)
When a customer contacts you, either on the phone, electronically or in-person, that contact becomes your opportunity to both educate them and manage their expectations about WSR. Below are the basic steps during this interaction:
1. Be Empathetic—your customer is generally unhappy that he is repairing or replacing his wind-shield and may be in unfamiliar territory. This is your chance to acknowledge that you under-stand his problem and/or need and to show that you have a solution. You can also begin to educate him about the options to re-pair their windshield that you will offer them.
2. Qualify for WSR—this is your chance to determine if the damage is repairable. You need to qualify the type; severity; size; length (if applicable); location; number of breaks; discoloration; proximity to value-added features; and insurance carrier (if applicable). The more educated you sound when qualifying the damage for WSR, the more confidence you will instill in your customer that the damage is repairable.
3. Provide education about WSR cost savings—Once you have qualified the damage as repair-able and ascertained your customer’s insurance coverage, you can educate him about potential cost saving. You can explain, “if the windshield is repaired it will cost $X and if we have to replace your windshield it will be $Y. By repairing, we will save you the difference of $Z ($Y – $X). Obviously, if the replacement requires a recalibration, this will increase the cost savings.”
4. Answer their questions about repair—Ask your customer if he has ever had a WSR previously. If not, briefly explain the WSR process, by saying things such as “we will inject a plastic adhesive resin into the break. We will then cure or harden the resin. This will improve the optical clarity of the damaged area; restore a smooth surface to the glass to prevent interference with the windshield wipers; and stop the damage from spreading by adding strength to the dam-aged area. This process typically takes 10-15 minutes per repair. If your customer has previously had a WSR, you should still ask if they have any questions and be prepared to respond to any misconceptions (see box at right).
5. Exchange Information—depending upon whether this is an insurance, cash or fleet job, you need to collect the applicable information and make it seamless and easy transaction for your customer.
CSR or Manager
6. Schedule the job—once you have done all of the above, it is time to schedule the appointment that is convenient for the customer. Keep in mind that even cable companies are offering 2-hour appointment windows today, so most consumers expect their service providers to be convenient and on-time. Be sure to communicate that your technician will perform a final inspection to con-firm that the windshield can be repaired properly.
CSR (In-Shop) or WSR Technician (mobile or in-shop)
7. Customer Greeting—if the job will be completed in-shop, greet the customer immediately and confirm his information. If the job will be completed on a mobile basis, call the customer when you are leaving your previous job and let him know you are on your way. When you arrive, greet the customer and confirm his information.
Vehicle Pre-Inspection and WSR Technician;8. Vehicle Pre-Inspection—whether this is an in-shop or mobile job, you should always inspect the vehicle with your customer. Take this time to inspect both the windshield and vehicle with the customer. Note any vehicle damage so there are no misunderstandings at a later date. You should presell the repair as you did when you explained WSR to the customer in Step 4. Make sure your customer knows his repair will restore:
• The optical clarity to the glass. The finished repair will disappear. It will look like a small water spot when completed;
• A smooth surface to the glass that will not interfere with the windshield wipers;
• The strength to the damaged area of the glass so this break will not spread or “crack-out.” If after your inspection, the wind-shield break turns out to have been unrepairable, explain the reasons why to the vehicle owner and make all the necessary arrangements to replace the windshield. If the customer still wants to go ahead with the repair, it is usually recommend-ed to politely decline as your customer will likely be unhappy with the result.
9. Repair—Complete the WSR using your company’s windshield re-pair equipment, resin and applicable procedures. Using the ANSI Windshield Break Identity Standard procedure (or your company’s applicable procedure) to document the repair. Remember to take before-and-after pictures of every repair. Clean the entire windshield, inside and out, and vacuum the entire car. Review your WSR one final time and get ready to return the car cleaner than when you found it.
Customer Acceptance and Vehicle Hand-Off
10.Customer Inspection—Request that your customer inspect the WSR. Most of the time, your customer will not find your repair. He usually will point out some sort of glass imperfection or a water spot. The fun happens when you show him the actual repair. Next, review your guarantee with him.
Keith Beveridge is the owner of Beveridge Consulting and an authority on wind-shield repair. He is the former chairperson of the Repair of Laminated Auto Glass Standard (ROLAGS) Committee and the former vice president of Novus Inc.
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