To Calibrate or Not to Calibrate? There Is No Question

The importance of calibration was highlighted in a panel discussion in early June at Auto Glass Week 2021, and audience members heard it straight from the source in “Learning from Auto Glass Shops that Offer Calibration Services.”

“So we’ve heard a lot of tales of dealers saying: ‘Well, it didn’t throw a code, so it doesn’t need to be calibrated.’ That’s not true. You have to look at the service information,” said George Weller, president of Zenith Auto Glass in Duluth, Minn.

Barry Lintner, owner of Lloyd’s Glass and Correct Calibration Services in Pensacola, Fla., said marketing is why he added calibration to his company’s list of services.

“We chose to give the calibration business its own identity,” Lintner said. “So Correct Calibration Services, which speaks very clearly what it is that we do, it is subservient to our Lloyd’s Glass company, and we only do calibrations for ourselves at this point in time.”

He further explained his company’s name, and the importance of making it clear for customers.

“Calibration is new to everybody. And most people don’t even know what you’re talking about,” Lintner says.

Marketing is also the answer when it comes to educating consumers about calibration, according to Lintner.

“We utilize all forms of media. I particularly must admit the social media forums and formats are extremely effective and cost effective,” he said.

Lintner said marketing is “really just about getting the message to the consumer in the places that they’re going to see it, in the ways that they’re going to understand it. It’s just Marketing 101.”

“For us, we started a second company [for calibration] just so we could service competitors and help out local body shops. We saw a need, and we went for it, and we’re very thankful that we did,” said Jacques Navant, technical director of frogitout and Don’s Mobile Glass.

Navant, who is also sitting chairperson for Auto Glass Safety Council’s Advanced Driver Assistance System Committee, also spoke to the importance of environment when calibrating.

“Just because it’s calibrated doesn’t mean that it’s calibrated properly,” Navant said.

Chris Gutierrez, director of technology and innovation with Protech, mentioned the necessity for best practices when it comes to calibration.

“You will never remove your liability. There is no way you will ever remove it. So [you have] to build your documentation and do it correctly,” Gutierrez said.

He also spoke on customers’ lack of information about the industry.

“When you try to explain to somebody on the phone that they have a rock chip [in their windshield], and it’s going to cost them $1,100, it’s eye opening [to the customer],” Gutierrez said.

In a discussion about training, customer service (CS) representatives and the importance of equipment stood out.

“For our CSRs to be able to speak knowledgably requires training,” Lintner said of the role of CSRs. “So, the training of the CSRs, in my mind, is absolutely essential if you want to have a satisfied customer at the end of the process.”

Lintner said that calibration is a completely different industry on its own.

“We all spend a tremendous amount of time trying to figure out how to make a calibration work in a particular case, and we’re not compensated for that time. And when you figure the fact that the insurance industry likes to compensate for the three types of calibrations, it really should be by the hours required. And I would hope that at some point in time there would be hours rather than flat rates based on dynamics,” Lintner said of compensation for calibration.

A question was posed to the panel about the future of static versus dynamic calibrations.

“Everything we’re seeing and hearing from the sources we go to, it’s going the other way. Static is where it’s going to go. And I’m already seeing static has surpassed our dynamics in my business,” Weller said.

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