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Retail customer experience lessons through windshield repair

This past week I had to take care of a broken windshield of my car, dealing with both the insurance company and the window repair shop over the weekend.  For most people the thought of dealing with insurance and auto repair is probably not a retail experience one looks forward to, but it worked out well for me, and got me to think what what made it a good experience, and it really comes down to a few key points during the shopping journey.

My entire customer journey started with a phone call to the insurance call center to file the claim, I was routed to the glass claim center, where they took my information and verfied my identity, then connected me with the glass company and set up the appointment for the replacment.  I went to the glass shop and had the glass replaced over the weekend, and was on my way.  So what made it a good experience?

As I looked at my retail journey it was three areas that made it a good experience.

1. Time to service and getting correct information to help set expections

I was put through the phone tree at the insurance company claim center, but they had a specific option for glass repairs (obviously one of the often called items).  During the hold time I was instructed to have the policy number and the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) to speed up processing.  That set the expectations on the customer side for the information neeed.  I was processed promptly after providing the authentication information and conference called to glass repair company.  Lesson here is customer service sometimes can’t be instaneous, but at least set the proper expectations and give correct information.

2. Repeat information, maintain the proper expectations and meet it.

After the appointment was made, I was given reconfirmation on the date, time, and  location of the repair shop day before the appointment.  I didn’t opt for the mobile repair because it was raining and I wanted the glass replaced ASAP.  I was also given confirmation of my insurance policy’s deductible and I am covered for OEM parts rather than aftermarket.  When I arrived at the shop, they reconfirmed the information I was given over the phone in terms of deductible, glass type, repair time etc.  Again, expectations were set and met, I left the car at the shop, had breakfast at a cafe with Wi Fi (checked Email and started writing this blog), and returned 3 hours later and the car was ready.  Lessons here for customer experience is that accurate information was given, expectations set and met at point of purchase, and transaction was completed.

3. Exceed the expectation, if even so slightly.

When I received my car, I noticed that the car was cleaned inside and washed on the outside.  I certainly expect the inside to be clean since they had to remove the front windshield, but I was pleasantly suprised that the car was washed.  It was pouring rain outside and if they had told me they would wash the outside of the car, I would have told them “don’t bother since it is raining”.  Lessons here is that exceeding customer expectations doesn’t have to be a major effort, a small gesture that exceeds the communicated expecations is all you need.

This is my retail customer experience lessons through my experience in insurance and auto repair.  Overall it was a good experience.  I did receive a survey from the glass repair shop checking on my satisfaction on their service, which I gave them high marks.  I did notice one of the questions was whether this glass repair claims experience will positively influence my decision to renew with the same insurance company.  This tells me the insurance company knows that the customer experience extends to areas it doesn not directly control, but need to manage as part of the extended insurance experience.

Lessons of customer experience can be learnt in unexpected places, in this case through the lens of broken glass :-)

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