National Auto Glass Conference Wraps Up with Frank Discussion on Real World Versus Theory
The National Auto Glass Conference wound up Saturday February 17.
The morning started with a session on changing customer expectations that ended up being a discussion on how what happens in the real world collides with the theoretical information often presented in seminars.
Leo Cyr of the National Glass Association, opened the session and pointed out that of the people who registered with the METRYX industry services registry and said they were NGA certified, only 13 percent could be verified. This, he said, points out that AGRR shops want to present themselves as having qualifications, but too often there is no truth to it.
Carl Tompkins, of Sika Corporation, representing the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard (AGRSS) council, pointed out that the AGRSS Standard has served as the tool that enables the industry to promote safety.
He said its mission would be accomplished when consumers made the priority consideration when choosing a glass shop whether or not it is AGRSS-registered. "We provide the benchmark," he said. This makes price less important in the decision factor, he added.
In introducing LYNX's Chris Umble, Tompkins called him a "preacher" of safety. Umble said he had never been referred to as a preacher before, but he did feel like he was preaching to the choir because those in attendance are the ones who recognize the importance of safety and the importance of credentials. "You know what is in it for you," he stated.
State Farm's Bob Bischoff rounded out the discussion. He said that he appreciated the opportunity to discuss "our mutual customer."
He emphasized that proper glass installations are a priority. He said that a shop that participates in the insurance company's Offer and Acceptance program should read the provisions of that agreement because it states exactly what the company expects from AGRR shops. This includes performing all jobs in accordance with the AGRSS standard.
He said that State Farm was committed to paying a fair price for the AGRR work that is done on behalf of its policyholders and to do it in a courteous, professional, expeditious manner. He said the company has committed substantial resources to its customer satisfaction index program and to correlating how such things as AGRSS registration and other certification programs affect that index.
In the Q&A following the presentations, Wayne Turner, Glass Technology, Many, La., asked Chris Umble why since the original LYNX contract in 1993 said there would be verification of credentials, this had not been done (referring back to the number of shops claiming to be AGRSS registered or in a certification program but not being so). Umble said that it had tried to do that but LYNX was only a portion of the industry and the verification had not been sustainable.
Turner countered that his company had played by the rules of the contract and had been paid the same as any company, which was not complying with those conditions. This has led him to be in the position of looking for a buyer for his company because it is becoming harder to remain in business.
Bruce Gates, of Gates Brothers Glass Shops in Bellefontaine, Ohio, asked why LYNX pulled a job when the customer came to his shop, the windshield was pulled, rust was found, and the customer did not want to pay extra to get rid of the rust. LYNX then gave the job to another company that installed the unit over the rust. Umble said that LYNX had no authority in this situation, and the responsibility is up to the AGRR shop to do a proper installation.
These examples pointed out how the concept of "safety sells" collides with the prices, which insurance companies pay for the work that AGRR shops do.
The educational program ended with a session on side curtain airbags by Mitch Becker, ABRA Auto Body & Glass.
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