|AGRSS is a Not-For-Profit organization dedicated to safe auto glass installations.|
Consumer Education: A Success Story
AGRSS registrant Jason Polzin is the manager of an AGRSS-registered shop that has taken the first step toward consumer education. He has found his endeavor not only beneficial but successful as well.
Polzin, store manager with Polzin Glass in Faribault, Minn., recently talked with AGRR magazine about his safety-centered marketing program.
AGRR: I hear you have an interesting marketing strategy. Can you tell us about it?
Jason Polzin: One thing we're doing right now is creating a brochure that will have a safety checklist on it for our customers. It is something I created that has points on it, telling customers what to ask when they're calling a glass company to get a price or to have a windshield replaced. [Customers] need to ask [shops] these questions and make sure they're following all proper procedures, doing quality work and are educated about the latest changes in the industry before they have them do an installation.
The checklist is a way for us to make sure that we do not have to compete with low price shops that aren't providing the same quality. A lot of times people will just say, 'What's your price?'
We don't just give them a price. We talk to them about safety first. We talk about all of the points on the checklist: Having two certified installers, being an AGRSS registered shop, using OEM quality glass and urethane, using the full-cut out method instead of the partial cut-out method.
We also have a question that customers need to ask every glass company to find out how much [the shops] know and understand about the industry they're working in. We tell them to ask if the airbag and roof have anything to do with the windshield being installed properly. If they say, "no" or "yeah, that's important," then why aren't they explaining it?
Those points [about the roof and airbag's relationship to the windshield] are answered on my safety checklist. It talks about the airbag hitting the windshield at more than 200 miles per hour. It talks about it springing back in place to properly protect the passenger. Then it talks about roof crush [that the roof can't go down more than five inches]. It explains those points to them so they know it's important. We educate the customer to make sure that when they call anyone else and they don't get answers like we gave them, they may want to consider calling us back.
AGRR: Do you have any other teaching tools that you use?
JP: I went into to a salvage yard and had the roof and everything cut out of a vehicle. Then I cut most of the windshield out. You could see the rust and that it was only a partial cut out. I used that in radio commercials. I talk about improper windshield installation and mention that I have a picture of a vehicle with an improper installation. I used that picture in print advertising. I show them that picture and I tell them that this could be their car.
AGRR: What other advertising strategies do you use?
JP: In June, I brought the car pinchweld with me to the Faribault Rotary Club, did a ten - 15-minute presentation to explain the safety checklist along with showing them the pinchweld and what can happen if somebody does an improper installation. I have taken it to a networking group I'm involved in called BNI [Business Networking International]. It's so important to be able to educate people in your market area. I think that's the best thing we can do. Now with the AGRSS Standard out there, it's going to be even easier to educate people because there is a standard in place that helps us differentiate our work from others. When I saw the AGRSS Registration Program come into play, we signed up as one of the first 100 shops, which meant we were a charter shop. Those are the kinds of things I want to get out there and explain to everybody, so that people are getting the proper job done, not letting people who are just hacks run around putting their windshield in and putting their family's life at risk.
AGRR: How do you get the message out? Do you use television and radio?
JP: We used to use television. We don't do it anymore. We get a lot more money's worth doing radio, a little bit of newspaper and direct mail. We're starting to do more and more direct mail. We're finding that getting right in someone's hand with a postcard with your name on it in their house is valuable. They can miss your commercials, but when they get their mail they have to see it. We usually put a coupon on there [the mailing piece] to get them to hang onto it for a month or two in case they need us. I found a lot of people will do that. They call me and say they know they had it around here somewhere but they can't find it. Usually I'll give them the deal anyway. Knowing they kept it around their house for a while and they remembered to call the right place, I'll still give them the discount.
AGRR: Do all of your advertisements have a safety aspect to them?
JP: Since I took over the advertising for the company for both of our locations [two and a half years ago], a lot of them do. I'm our safety manager. I'm the head of our auto glass technicians at both locations and I've been going to conferences each year but one or two. There's been great information that I've learned every year and brought home in piles of notes and ideas. I started researching and learning everything I could about the industry. That's something I've been real passionate about. When I took over our advertising, I focused it on the safety aspect.
AGRR: How has it worked for you?
JP: Good. What's nice about it is the more we talk about in our advertising, the easier it is to explain it to people. When they call to get prices, it makes it easier to get them to listen when you're talking about safety stuff because they're saying, 'Yeah, I remember hearing that on the radio.' They might not even remember it was me talking about it, but they remember hearing about safety and that it's very important. When I start talking about it, instead of tuning me out and not caring and asking how much it is, they seem to be more attentive and more interested in making sure their installation is done properly.
AGRR: How do you get checklists out to people?
JP: A bunch of different ways. If someone is calling, we can ask for an email address. I'm going to add it to our website so people will be able to go online and download it. Most of the promotional products we give out have our website address on them.
It's also going to be on the brochure we're creating. We're going to be able to have that at the front office. I'm going to be giving out brochures at the Rotary Club and BNI and other groups I'm involved in. We'll probably mail out our new brochures as a direct mail piece. That's going to have the safety checklist right on it.
I actually did an article for the local paper here. Instead of it saying, "Polzin Glass does this and this," I changed it to say "Auto glass safety checklist. Make sure the company you call does this, this, and this."
AGRR: The paper for which you wrote the article, what kind was it?
JP: It was a daily newspaper here in Faribault. I wrote that for them. They put it in a Fall Car Care Special Section. All it could have was my name, but since the shop's name is Polzin they know who I am and where I work. I could get a lot of advertising for the company through doing that.
I have a relationship with the publisher of the paper because she's in the Rotary Club with me. I've gotten to know her personally. That's one of the areas I think is very important to growing your business, building business relationships by getting involved in community groups like Rotary.
AGRR: Through Rotary, BNI and other avenues, it seems like you've used networking to help you. Has that been effective?
JP: Networking is so much bigger than people give it credit for. Some people live and die by it. I think for any business, it's such a huge thing. The way I look at it, you have a pyramid of customers. The more people you build a personal relationship with, or have a very strong business relationship with, the more are going to become lifelong customers. If you can build that base bigger and bigger every day, you're going to be successful. I think one of the biggest things for us is getting out there and getting to know people and let them know what kind of quality we do and how much we care about getting it right.
You don't have to advertise to those people anymore. It makes it easier advertising if you can work with people and get them coming in without even having to advertise. It's cheaper to get more customers through word of mouth.