Volume 14, Issue 5 - September/October 2012

Repair Round Up
nwra reports

How Technology Could Save the Day
by Kerry Wanstrath
kerry@gtglass.com

Whether it is repair or replacement, we have tried everything to save the independents from being devoured by the behemoth: safety, quality, better service, mobile service, faster service, Internet marketing, the Auto Glass Safety Council™ (formerly the AGRSS® Council Inc.) certification, technician certification, education and the list goes on and on.

All very worthy endeavors individually and collectively, and I’m not suggesting those efforts be reversed or stopped. But, let’s be honest, the independents’ share of the market continues to drop year after year despite these industry efforts and programs.

It’s time we ask ourselves what else we can do to improve our position. There was a huge buzz about repair quality this past year, where some small shops and repair-only technicians began documenting poor quality repairs done by competition in their area. Bringing this to your area can start with a simple photo. Some of the technicians then started to inquire as to who did that questionable repair, when it was done, who the customer’s insurance carrier was and so on. Most customers are willing to discuss this, especially if you offer to re-repair the poor quality repair. As an interesting side note, I found it amusing to hear some of the excuses given to the customer as to why the repair looked so bad after the initial repair. How about “it will look better in three to five days after the resin fully cures?” Hm, that’s news to me.

Next Gen Mobile Repair
Now what if it could be taken one step further? How about an app for your phone that allows you to document the repair quality, the location of the repair on the windshield, the exact type of damage and before and after photos of the good repair you have done. This could then be submitted to a network interested in promoting the highest standard available to their customer, the insurance carrier of that vehicle.

Smartphones essentially are a computer with just as much computing power as a cheap laptop. But those benefits are secondary to my main point. The benefit, as I see it, is that it could help reduce fraud and can improve repair quality, by documenting this data that then could be compiled to highlight the “better” repair technicians.

Don’t be confused; I think the smaller shops or the windshield repair-only technicians are not the offenders or the one pumping out poor repairs. The evidence suggest otherwise. Why wouldn’t the insurance carriers want such a tool for the benefit of their customers? All they have to do is say they want it and it could be done within a few months. All the talk about small shops cheating or billing for no repair at all could go away, repair quality would improve, customers would be happier and you could potentially get more referrals (assuming you do better repairs). The best benefit is that it pushes companies to really do better repairs, as opposed to spending serious dollars advertising that they do better repair with better tools and resin. Show me the beef.

Kerry Wanstrath serves on the board of directors of the National Windshield Repair Association and is president of Glass Technology Inc. of Durango, Colo.


AGRR
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