Windshield repair is a great service, is valuable to consumers, and is a viable alternative to a windshield replacement. Given this upside, the relative low cost of entry into the business, and estimated $500 million annual market, scam artists have found a niche and can affect how customers view your business. This is where windshield repair & public relations come together.
These scams involve everything from “fixing” non-existent damage to inflating costs for actual damage. The repairs, if you can call them that, are typically done quickly and are of a very low quality. If you have been in the repair business for any length of time you have likely had a request to fix one of these botched repairs.
Not only are victims of these scams left with a sub-standard repair, some states may consider the customer a co-conspirator to fraud if their insurance is billed for the repair. Yikes!
Stories of this type of fraud and dishonest business practices are often picked up by local media and can affect your business. Consumers often have no way to differentiate between good and bad technicians and may avoid a windshield repair altogether. They read the bad press and choose to stay away.
But you are not helpless against this bad press. Showing that you are a trusted member of the community, educating your customers, and standing behind your work are all tactics that can minimize the damage from bad press and boost your business in the process.
A properly executed windshield repair should be guaranteed for life. If a break is filled with resin and properly cured, there should be no concern that the repair will fail. Let your customers know in person and in your advertising that you guarantee the repair and provide that guarantee in writing.
Supplement that guarantee by showing you are a permanent and trustworthy member of the community. There are multiple ways to accomplish this. Join the local chamber of commerce, volunteer to do fundraisers for local schools or service groups, or provide free windshield repair and headlight restoration to your local law enforcement and emergency services’ agency. This type of community involvement shows people that they are supporting a trustworthy local business.
Finally, educate your customers on what windshield repair is, and what it is not. Set realistic expectations for a repair by letting them know that the damage will not magically disappear. Tell them about the importance of restoring the structural integrity of the windshield and how that affects their safety. A windshield is a critical piece of the cabin structure and air-bag system.
Scam artists are not going to take the time to truly educate the public nor are they going to want to maintain a high profile. By setting yourself up as a professional who takes pride in quality work you will set yourself apart from those who are casting a negative light on an industry that provides a valuable service and has an impeccable safety record.
Updated article from November 2010.