Industry Webinar Highlights COVID-19 Challenges

As COVID-19 continues to impact the industry, the Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association (CIECA) hosted a webinar that focused on some of the challenges associated with the continued spread of the virus.

“This broadcast is aimed at addressing the many issues created by these challenging times. We wish you all the best as the world adapts to the unusual circumstances created by the coronavirus.” said Ed Weidmann, CIECA executive director.

The webinar began with Dan Risley, vice president of quality repair and market development for CCC, sharing information about the current business climate, and noted a sharp decline in the number of vehicle miles driven, which has led to fewer accidents. He then challenged the participants to imagine a “new normal” after the virus has been contained. Risley said many of the industry’s current customer base are expecting an increase in less contact for services.

“The first thing everyone needs to do is let their customers know that their shop is open for business because not everyone realizes we’re deemed essential,” said Risley. “We’re seeing a huge uptick in a contact-free customer experience, increased use of technology, online documentation and payment, curbside estimates and no-contact pickups and drop-offs.”

Debbie Day, Mitchell International Auto Physical Damage executive vice president and general manager, “the next and the new normal” while offering attendees advice.

“We face special responsibilities and challenges,” Day said. “Our goal is to keep customers safe while continuing to operate.” Mitchell International owns and operates National Auto Glass Specifications (NAGS).

Day noted how the Internet and virtual claims handling how the automotive industry can work. Due to technology, some businesses, according to Day, can allow employees to work remotely.

“Since no one knows, we must control what we can,” she said. “We must do our part. We must help others. We must help others do their part. So when you think about it, much of what will happen next is up to us. According to health care professionals, the next two weeks are absolutely critical to all of us.”

Collision Advice’s Mike Anderson was another highlight during the webinar as he focused on what he’s learned about how North American businesses have responded to the virus. He noted there has been multiple shops that have closed, laid off employees, or have managed to remain open, while following new health and safety guidelines.

According to Anderson “most shops are trying to hang onto their employees because they believe there will be a lot of work once we get through this.”

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