Educating the Consumer

Last week’s blog was based on feedback about my post “Setting the Standard for Safe Automotive Glass Installations.” I discussed the ease of entering the AGRR industry and the ramifications.

A new poster had a different take. He said: “Consumer education should be the key this industry works through. The state glass associations should be doing TV commercials as a ‘public service’ explaining and educating the public as to the difference in a ‘cheap’ installation and a ‘safe’ installation. It should not be just one shop paying the way but a combined force of shops to show the public the difference.” I couldn’t agree more.

The best way to promote change in an industry is to get the consumer involved. To involve the customer means educating them by whatever means necessary. There have been many different ways the industry has tried to inform the consumer, either through:

  • Insurance agents;
  • State governments;
  • Websites;
  • State and local trade organizations;
  • Handouts;
  • Mailings;
  • Technician certification;
  • Shop certification; and
  • Consumer groups.

All of these initiatives have contributed to consumer awareness, but they have done comparatively little to change consumer perceptions. Public Service Announcements (PSAs) were discussed in Auto Glass Safety Council™ (AGSC) committee and board meetings, but the cost of production is high and some questioned the impact it would have on the public at large. Finally, PSAs were not deemed as particularly effective based on data researched and shared.

The commenter above is right in his response. It takes an entire industry to raise awareness. It would take all of us, individually and collectively, to push change.

What does this look like? There are lots of things we can do. For example, every automotive glass shop that cares about the consumer could send their sales representatives to every insurance agent to discuss safety and proper installation. Each shop owner could push their state government representatives to consider consumer protection laws concerning AGRR.

Industry websites, like www.safewindshields.com and www.AGSC.org, could be used to educate and illustrate to the customer the importance of proper installation. Industry organizations could pool their money to advertise generic consumer awareness ads and, in addition to that, every shop could include in their advertising a safety-related portion explaining the necessity of a proper installation. Safe installation handouts and brochures, like those available through the AGSC, could be on every counter in every branch of every glass shop in every state. Any mailings sent would include an informational section on safety.

You can support industry certifications by attaining them and keeping them current. Lastly, you can get involved in consumer groups that care about safety and fairness in business.

By ourselves we may not have much power to get things done. However, collectively we can move an industry for the better. Get involved and push the message that we care for our customers’ well-being and freedom of choice. This may sound like a noble thing to do for our industry, but in reality it is good for your business, specifically. Better-educated customers mean more business, more business means more profit and more profit means more fun at work.