Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Is there any company in the world better than Autoglass?

Autoglass is such an amazing business. Just imagine if we could dominate our market in the way Autoglass does.

Over the weekend, I noticed a chip in our windscreeen. Seven minutes later, (I timed it, because I'm like that), while still driving, I had the problem solved. If Autoglass didn't exist, what would it take to solve this problem? Something like this:

1. Hunt in yellow pages / online / ask friends for who the best person/company is to fix the chip or replace the windscreen. Would need to wait till I got home to do that.

2. Call first choice of company.

3. Explain problem. Dig out exact model / trim of car (because non-Autoglass company probably can't get that just from the reg number), establish type of windscreen needed.

4. Clarify insurance process. This would take probably a good half-hour. Would need to find insurance docs, probably need to call insurance company to check if have windscreen cover and what impact this has on no-claims bonus. And what actual process is. Do I need a quote? Multiple quotes? Do they need to inspect the damage? Etc. Etc.

5. Agree price and appointment time (and if appointment requires taking the car somewhere, whole other step of liaising with wife to establish who can take the car to the repair place when)

6. Call a couple of other companies and repeat steps 1 -4, because can't be certain first company is really the best one to use.

That's got to be the best part of an hour of faffing around, really.

With Autoglass you have none of this. They know what type of car you have, they know what insurance cover you have, they bill the insurance company, they come to you.

The whole process is so incredibly, unbelievably simple for the consumer, it would be nigh on impossible for anyone to challenge their market dominance. Why would I ever use another company? I am not price sensitive because the insurance company is paying, so it is all about service. And their service just couldn't get any better, really (short of having some automated damage-detection system embedded in your windscreen which alerted Autoglass to come and fix it without you having to do anything at all. But really, seven minutes from observing problem to having solution in hand is pretty damn good).

This is really what service is about, making the customer experience completely painless. Lots of companies fail to understand this, a topic I will return to shortly.

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