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Successful Independence

The Independent Glass Association (IGA) capped off the industry's participation in Auto Week in Las Vegas with a successful Fall Conference Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

The conference kicked off with a two-hour discussion of the services offered by the association and the overall theme of the meeting (one of the most important topics for independent AGRR companies)—steering.

Yarborough led the discussion of the IGA's brand-new anti-steering initiative.

Among the new services that IGA is offering are free AGRSS registration, legislative alerts, IGA certification, CSR training and certification and the anti-steering campaign.

The 'Don't Get Steered' campaign was introduced by IGA board member Bryan Yarborough. "It's hard to explain to those outside our industry what is going on in our market," he explained. "That's the purpose of this campaign."

Consumer brochures, radio spots, TV advertising scripts, postcards for consumers and representative press releases are all included as methods to get the message out on what steering is and why consumers need to be aware of it.

Ralph Nader, consumer advocate, suggested a comic book to explain the complex concept to consumers when he spoke to members at their May conference.

"We are within 8 to 12 weeks of having this printed," said Yarborough.

"This is a fun way to get the message out and use as a leave-behind," Yarborough added. "And all these materials will be made cost effective so that you can use them in your shop," he added.

Shawn Newport, an IGA board member, picked up the discussion on steering by advising that everyone check on whether consumers have the right to choose in their state. "This is the first thing you have to find out. Do consumers have the right to choose a shop to do their work?" he stated. Also, because consumers are increasingly using the Internet to find a shop to do auto glass work, Newport advised attendees to be sure they have a web presence that will capture these consumers.

He also led a discussion of successful techniques to avoid having a client steered by what IGA calls a competitor administrator. There was an emphasis on the importance of controlling the call so that the consumer doesn't get steered.

There was also a discussion of how to respond if a customer asks if a claim is going to affect their premium. Representatives of State Farm, who were in the audience, explained that even the claims department cannot provide an answer to this question because of the many factors which are involved. They advised telling clients that they should ask their agent for information on whether filing the claim is going to affect the premium.

The final consensus was that it is up to the individual shop to educate its customers. IGA is putting into place tools to help do this. The IGA Annual Convention and Spring Auto Glass Show, which is co-located with Americas' Glass Showcase , will be held May 1-3, 2008, at the Cashman Center in Las Vegas.

Click on the links below for other stories from the conference.

Mr. IGA Goes to the State Capital
The IGA finished out its morning program on Saturday with a legislative update program led by Tom Grim of All Star Auto Glass, and Alan Epley of Southern Glass & Plastic Co.
CLICK HERE to read more.

Into the End Zone with IGA
The IGA wrapped up its Fall Conference with two sessions Saturday afternoon. Invoking a fall Saturday afternoon analogy, the group's meeting scored a touchdown with members getting the kind of practical information, and peer discussion, they were seeking.
CLICK HERE to read more.

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