Volume 13, Issue 4 - July-August 2011

Field of Vision
from the editor

Pizza, Pizza
by Penny Stacey

Does anyone else remember the Little Caesars Pizza commercials from the 1980s? In the commercial, a Boy Scout leader shows up at Little Caesars and asks for one pizza, and the Little Caesars salesperson yells out, “pizza, pizza.” The Boy Scout leader (or whatever customer was featured in each segment, of which there were several) says, “Well, if I’m getting two pizzas, I’m paying for two pizzas.” The salesperson explains that they have a “pizza pizza” deal and for every pizza you pay for, you get twice the amount. The argument goes on until the leader has agreed to get a massive amount of “pizza-pizzas.”

Well, I couldn’t help but recall this commercial when I was doing interviews for the mobile article on page 32. You’ll see that Alan Maupin of Rite-Way Auto Glass in Louisville, Ky., told me that he thinks the auto glass industry has become a “pizza-type” industry. “Customers think they can call you and you’ll be there in 30 minutes,” he said.

And he’s right, unfortunately. In today’s world, customers are impatient and don’t want to wait for anything. I have to admit, I’m always a little surprised when I’m making calls for the “Price Points” department (see page 20) and a customer service representative asks if they can call me back with a price. Even I find myself being a little impatient.

Recently a popular topic on our online forum has been a similar one related to distributors. At least one industry supplier has decided its representatives will no longer look prices up for shops.

With time struggles even occurring within the industry’s supply chain, unfortunately it seems it’s only going to get worse. If you read the interview with Auto Windscreens’ managing director Nigel Davies on page 42, you’ll see that he calls auto glass “a distress purchase”—and finds that, though the company has released an innovative mobile phone app for requesting auto glass repair and replacement, most customers simply make the call—because they are in a hurry.

Another interviewee for the mobile article told me he often texts customers because they’re in such a hurry that they can’t be bothered to answer the phone. Meanwhile, insurers are placing new demands on the industry, too—as you’ll see in the article about Allstate’s new dealer glass policy on page 18.

Sadly, it seems the pressure on an already-tough industry is only growing—and I don’t think any of us is sure if and when it will end. But there is hope. An industry event is coming up that will hopefully address many of these questions—and give you a chance to talk directly with one another about how to handle customer issues, insurer challenges and more. You can read all about this event, Auto Glass Week™, on page 21 of this issue, where we’ve included a full guide to the week, September 15-17 in Memphis, Tenn.

I look forward to seeing you there, and hearing about your own daily issues and struggles—and learning tips from our innovative speaker line-up about how to work through these. See you in September.

P.S. Is anyone else craving Little Caesars?

Penny Stacey is the editor of AGRR magazine.

 


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