Ohio Duo Takes Their Post-Accident Mobile App International
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Ohio Duo Takes Their Post-Accident Mobile App International

Newly launched program gives collision repair facilities an upper hand when it comes to insurance companies.

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Alicia Lewis is a 2014 graduate of Kent State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in both magazine journalism and fashion merchandising. While at Kent State, she worked as a student correspondent at the copydesk of the Akron Beacon Journal.

When Leo Daugherty, co-founder of Instant Crash Helpers, accidentally hit a raccoon in 2012, in his words it “won the battle.” He took his car to a local, insurance-preferred body shop following the wreck. Six months later, as he pulled out of his parking spot in a convenience store parking lot, his front bumper fell off.

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After being told by the DRP shop that it was his fault, and no free repair would be offered, Daugherty headed to Three-C Body Shop, a multi-store operation in Columbus, Ohio. “Of course they fixed it right,” said Daugherty. “But it took a little bit longer than I would have liked and I wasn’t getting feedback.”

So Daugherty spoke with the shop’s owner, Bob Juniper. And out of this conversation was born the idea for nearly instant communication based on technology that could be easily managed by the consumer. Juniper then envisioned the Pink Button app.

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Available on Google Play and the App Store, the Pink Button app was launched in April 2013. It allows drivers to push a single button to access anything they need from the Three-C Body Shops.

According to Pink Button’s website, as soon as a driver pushes the button, their GPS location is sent to the shop. Three-C will call the driver immediately to confirm the need for assistance and will then dispatch a tow truck, as well as a loaner car if necessary, to the driver’s location. The car will then be taken back to Three-C, where they’ll handle everything with the driver’s insurance company.

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The app even allows drivers to contact the body shop and stay updated on what’s going on with their cars.

“Your app is matched to your vehicle by name, mobile phone number and email,” said Daugherty. “So [the shop] knows who you are and what vehicle it is. You can tap that button and say, ‘Give me an email or a text update.’”

“It does this litany of things, which will continue to grow, but they’re all based around customer service and the safety of the person in the car. Let’s face it, big insurance companies are best at limitations and deception. This app gives shops a real chance to get the business before those things begin.”

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Due to the Pink Button’s success, Juniper teamed up with Daugherty and Ohio technology firm Rampart to create Instant Crash Helpers. The program, targeted at collision repair facilities around the country in need of a post-accident mobile app, launched on Feb. 12, 2015.

“The functionality is identical from place to place,” said Daugherty. “It’s generic, and we customize it to each shop. It operates the same regardless of the locality.”

While the program is already seeing some interest from the Atlantic Canada region, Daugherty explains they’re seeing the most interest from shops in the U.S., from one-shop locations to multiple shop owners.

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“It can be customized to support multiple shops and even multiple shops under different names,” said Daugherty. “By default, it gets customized for your branding, logo and colors. Most of the text in the app can be edited.”

One of the biggest advantages to the app, Daugherty explains, is its use and application of metrics.

“We’re collecting metrics, which is something that not many people do in this industry,” said Daugherty. “It’s a great way for collision repairers to measure the effectiveness of advertising and cross advertising.”

The data from the program can show shop owners where all their collisions take place. That data can then be overlaid, for example, on where outdoor marketing takes place. In the end, the data can be used in any way supported and dreamt up by shop personnel.

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In addition to the collection of metrics, the program provides in-app advertising for a captive audience.

“Revenue from that goes straight back to the shop; that doesn’t come to Instant Crash Helpers,” said Daugherty. “So they can use that money to help subsidize the cost of the app.”

Going forward, the most important, pressing thing for the development of the app, according to Daugherty, is adding additional methods of instant communication and integration to a shop’s internal job management system and process.

“That type of availability for more and more communication back and forth between customers and the shop is important,” said Daugherty. “You want to stay in front of people so if something does happen, they’re not calling the insurance people first, they’re calling the people who are going to take care of them and their car.”

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For more information on Instant Crash Helpers, visit their website. A good place to start is the video at the top of that page.

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