Auto Glass Conference Coverage: Feeney Closes Out Conference
Olive managed to make Tom Feeney do something few in the auto glass industry
ever thought they'd seehe managed to make Feeney blush.
The Belron US president and chief executive officer gave the closing speech
Friday afternoon at the National Auto Glass Conference held in Orlando.
"What a way to end the conference, a presentation by one of the elite
members of our industry," said NGA vice president of auto glass Leo
Cyr in introducing Feeney.
This prompted a quick opening retort. "I haven't been called that
since I spoke at the IGA (Independent Glass Association) conference,"
Feeney quipped. "Oh wait, they called me other things at that conference,"
he added with laughter.
Feeney then told the audience that, in the course of his presentation
about best practices, they would see a short film about the "Best
of Belron" competition. "You'll see a film where we talk about
the best technicians in the world. I want also to acknowledge Jeff Olive,
who is in the room," said Feeney to a round of applause for Jeff
Olive of Glasspro, who won the gold medal in the first ever Auto Glass
Technician Olympics and has gone on to win other competitions as well.
He then went on to explain best practices. "We at Safelite had always
followed best practices," he said "but the idea of best practices
received a turbo boost when we were acquired by Belron. We learned from
we adopted their brand-building practices and they adopted
our customer service practices.
Feeney also acknowledged the difficult economic times facing the industry.
"When times are tough, we cut our budgets and do lay-offs, but we
don't compromise our best practices even in those tough times," he
Feeney said Belron's goal is consistency and uniformity in all its auto
glass installations, no matter where they occur. "The process you
go through should be the same no matter what country you are in. We are
standardizing our advertising, installation, and supply chain operation
have found that consistent quality and best practices will turn our customers
into promoters for us.
"In 2008-2009 we spent more money on advertising than we have in
the past 20 years combined," he said, citing a goal of creating net
promoters. According to Feeney, net promoters are those customers who
rate their experience using Belron high (a nine or ten out of ten) and
have said they will share their experiences with other potential customers.
"This is our goal," he said in detailing Belron's high satisfaction
He also cited another relatively new practice that has worked well for
the company. "We send an e-mail to customers before the installation
with information about the technician. We show their picture, biographical
information and certifications all in an e-mail. This has proved very
popular with consumers."
Then Feeney showed the aforementioned short film about the "Best
of Belron" internal competition among the company's technicians worldwide.
Those in the room who weren't watching the screen as Gary Lubner proclaimed
the Belron competitors "the best technicians in the world" saw
a crimson hue come over Feeney's face, in obvious deference to Olive.
for more information on the Best of Belron).
Feeney added that Belron soon will begin using two new tools in the United
States, Belron Technicals EZi-Wire Cutter and the Lil Buddy Mechanical
Lifting Device. "We use wire cutter as an alternative to other extracting
tools," he said. "They work better and are easier on the technician.
We also expect that the new tools will allow more women to break into
the technician arena.
Feeney also said Belron US will continue to do background and driving
record checks and will also be doing drug testing in the future pre-hire.
Feeney closed by showing the Chinese symbol for crisis. "The economy
has created a crisis in our industry," he said. "The Chinese
word is actually two symbols togetherone for danger and one for
opportunity. And that is what we have with this, some danger and some
opportunity. How you choose to treat the crisisdanger or opportunitycould
be a self-fulfilling prophecy."
Feeney took no questions and the conference ended after a round of applause.
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