"’Maybe consumers don’t care where they go they just want their cars fixed.’ Does anyone remember who said this?’ asked Corey Hemperley of Windshield Doctor in Pocatello, Idaho, at the “SteeringWhat You Can Do” session at the recent Independent Glass Association (IGA) Annual Conference in Las Vegas.
Hemperley was quoting Sen. Don Benton, who asked this question at a hearing recently in Washington State. (Click HERE for related story.)
"Had I been there, my question to that Senator would have been, ‘Why is it that insurers care where people go?’” Hemperley continued. “Why are you bringing out all the guns to fight this type of thing?"
"We’re all in this to make money, and it has to be done fairly and on a level playing field," Hemperley said.
Hemperley also provided several tips to counter potential steering practices that are relevant to both the collision repair and glass communities:
- Take 15 minutes a week to read through state statutes and insurance statues.
- Review consumer protection laws.
- Stay involved in trade organizations. “One of the biggest arguments I hear is, ‘I don’t have time to go [to conferences],’” Hemperley said. “We closed our shop for a day because we know it’s vital to be here. We’d lose more by not being here than by being here.”
- Develop personal relationships with customers. “We view each and every one of our customers as a relationship,” he said.
- Provide customer loyalty programs. “We reward the customer who has been there for a long time,” he said.
- Stay focused. Hemperley compared the industry to a blizzard he and his father, Nathan, encountered on their drive to Las Vegas. “We kept going. We stayed focused on where we were and where we were going and that’s just a reminder to all of us,” he said.
Also referenced was the comic book the IGA recently released entitled, “Don’t Get Steered,” and how shops can use it to work with legislators, insurance agents and customers in explaining this practice and how to avoid it. (Click HERE for related story).