Archive for September, 2011

Glass Is Life: Interview with Jon Fransway

Jon Fransway is an insurance agent who learned early on in his career that auto glass replacement meant filing a claim and arranging service in order to take care of his clients.  He enjoyed the usual vendor relationships and understood that good service and happy clients went hand in hand.  Auto glass replacement became a much more personal subject for Jon when in 1999 his sister Jeanne died due to an incorrectly installed windshield.  From that point forward, Jon devoted himself to spreading the word about a topic that most people never gave a second thought to – safe auto glass installation.  Jon joins us today to share his perspective.

Q&A with Jon Fransway:

You are an insurance agent, how long have you been doing that and how did you get started?

Jon:  I have been an agent for 25 years and was approached by a manager of the company I represent as a good candidate for what they were looking for in an agent.

As an agent how did you view the auto glass companies that called on you?

Jon:  In the beginning of my career it seemed more like a good ole boy network.  Glass companies would wine and dine as a way to get business. With no words of what they can do for my client as relates to safety.

How is it that you became an advocate for auto glass safety?

Jon:  I have always been concerned about safety over time by attending continuing education by classes put on by glass shops.  Since then I had become more and more interested based on what goes into a safe window installation in the aftermarket.  With the past events related to my sister’s case, it was obvious I had to continue to try and make a difference.

Explain what you have done to spread the message about want happened to your sister Jeanne?

Jon:  Since my sister’s death I felt compelled to tell the story as many times as I can, and companies started to listen and feed off that as a way to change the way they do business.  The story has stayed in the headlines and in the newscast throughout the country.  We’re starting to win!  Being an insurance agent that deals with windshield claims on a daily basis, I understand the importance of a good installation.  Again, holding her when she died knowing there was nothing I could do was unacceptable.  I had to give her life meaning and if meant to take the time to spread the word to others as a way of saving lives in my sisters name.  Also, since the stories about her that have been told on ABC’s 20/20, Eye on America as well as numerous other small market shows and training videos it is going to be with us to the end.

Some people would have taken an adversarial view of an industry that had caused the loss of a loved one, you didn’t, why?

Jon:  Taking some sort of legal action was not going to bring my sister back.  I felt making a difference through getting the word out on safe installations of auto glass meant more to others as it will protect them from this happening to their family.  This gives Jeanne’s life meaning.

You have been an avid supporter of AGRSS® and have appeared at their annual conferences and narrate a video explaining the Validation process. How did that come about?

Jon:  The industry needs help, hence AGRSS®.  Known as the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard, it has been established to manage procedures in auto glass replacement.  I have been happy to help them introduce the standard and the validation process through a video presentation.  Our goal is for AGRSS® to be adopted by all insurance carriers and glass shops around the nation.

You recently attended Auto Glass Week in Memphis, what did you take away from that conference?

Jon:  Auto Glass Week was an incredible experience and advancement in the future of Auto Glass.  I am always well received and welcomed by the industry as a whole. I am so glad that all for the organizations came together to educate themselves as a group.  Each company needs to understand the importance of auto glass replacement in the aftermarket, from whatever part they are.  Insurance companies, installers, glass shop owners and the products companies that supply the various tools and techniques to perform their jobs well.

What changes do you hope to see in the auto glass industry?

Jon:  I hope to see the groups together again at Auto Glass Week.  Competition is good, it forces us to keep in shape with our business.  The cars are changing and so are the products.  It is all meant to do a better job for the consumer and keep them safe since the glass is a structural component of the car in a crash.  The changes need to be more education and validation of the practices of the companies.  Also, changes to promote safety vs. price or what we can give away as incentives rather than doing the job right.

What advice do you have for glass shop owners and technicians?

Jon:  As previously stated, stay in shape in your business, not only on the bottom line but in safety.  It is the right thing to do.  Support the AGRSS® standard as a way of doing business.

What advice do you have for other insurance professionals and consumers who need auto glass replacement?

Jon:  Do research on the glass shops that you use, make sure you choose the glass shop that stresses safety and not just price or you may pay the ultimate price like my sister Jeanne.

To me “Glass is Life.”  Help me in my “Glass is Life” Campaign to promote the proper installation of auto glass in the aftermarket.

Thank you for sharing your story and passion Jon.

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Sika Q & A: An Interview with John King

Welcome John King, Vice President – Aftermarket at Sika Corporation. Sika celebrated its 100 year anniversary in 2010, a true testament to the quality of their products and dedication to their customers. Sika has developed product systems in the automotive, construction, and industrial markets with a continuing focus on safety and sustainability.  In the AGRR world, Sika produces adhesives for sealing and bonding windshields in the aftermarket auto glass industry that meet and/or exceed OEM (original equipment manufacturer) requirements.

What changes have you seen in the auto glass world since you first joined Sika and began working in this industry?

            John King:  My first exposure to an Auto Glass Installation, was in 1997, in Zurich Switzerland, where I saw the Technician wearing a shirt and tie, and a smock.  This was how this tech dressed every day.  To him, his job was his profession.  While I certainly do not think that USA Installers need a dress code, I do see that many glass shop companies want to “raise the bar” of customer perception, installer performance and the glass shops’ commitment to safety, within our industry.  I firmly believe that this country has many technicians who are committed to this cause, and take pride in their work.  Unfortunately, over time, I have seen far too many technicians that care little about quality work, and even less about safety.  We have an Industry with an extremely low “barrier of entry”, meaning that anyone can put a phone number on the side of their truck and advertise auto glass repair and/or replacement.  However, that does not mean that they know what they are doing, and both the Public and Insurance Industry, know little about how to discern the difference between those who care and those who do not.  As our country’s economic conditions have worsened, our industry has become a haven for persons looking to find some type of income.  While it does not mean that those techs necessarily perform improper installations and repairs, we have to ask ourselves, have these new industry participants been trained?  How are they kept abreast of the ever changing details of vehicle glass replacement?  How many of them even care to know anything about “doing it right”?

What changes would you like to see in the future?

            John King:  Some States have talked about “Licensing” of auto glass technicians.  While I do not want glass shops to have to spend any more money then necessary, we have to ask ourselves, “How can we raise the barrier-of-entry into this industry?”    Licensing may be one avenue of doing this, while at the same time, providing a means of “raising the bar of safety” within AGR.  In any industry where the safety of the public is at stake, there are usually steps that those industry participants must take to first, truly understand what their work is to accomplish, and then secondly, prove they are worthy of doing the work.  In essence, become Industry Certified.  In AGR, the goal should be to provide correct and safe auto glass installations, meaning the vehicle’s passengers should not be placed at risk after their vehicle is returned to them.  Today, responsible Glass Shop Companies take this task upon themselves.  They see to it that any new technician receives adequate training, and spends time observing experienced and qualified technicians, before turning the new techs loose, to do jobs on their own.  The question to all of us should be, “How does the Public and or the Insurance Industry know that adequate training has taken place?”  In today’s AGR market, Glass Shop Companies spend their CSR’s time or their Outside Sales Rep’s time trying to convince prospective customers that “their installations are safer than their competitors”.   Unfortunately, there are many Glass Replacement Companies that are either ignorant of a truly safe and quality installation, or they are outright lying.  Licensing, which would include testing and certification, may be one of the ways to accomplish industry wide compliance of correct installation standards

How long have you worked at Sika, and what do you find most rewarding about your job?

            John King:  January 1997 is when my career at Sika began, and I must admit it took me a while to have an understanding of how this industry works.  However, without a doubt, the most rewarding part of the business is getting to know people.  There are always business issues, business problems to solve, and strategies to implement, but at the heartbeat of this industry, is its’ people.  For me, there is nothing I like to hear more, than an unsolicited positive comment about how our Sika people are perceived by customers.  Whether Distributors or End Users, if our salespeople, or our customer service department are liked and appreciated by customers, that means that more than half the battle is already won.  The bottom line, is that most people, want to do business with good people. Therefore, if we can hire honest people with good interpersonal skills, and then adequately train them, and provide our customers with quality products, in the end, our sales people will provide excellent service and support to those customers, which would be ultimately rewarded with an ongoing business relationship.

Sika recently created a great animated cartoon called, “No Shortcut to Safety.” It’s a wonderful tool for glass installers and consumer alike, and describes the process of safe windshield installation without using laymen’s terms that can sometimes feel unfamiliar to people who don’t speak AGRR garble.

John, why did Sika Corporation feel it was important to develop this animation video?

John King: The AGR Industry is a cross section of groups.  We have the makers of product, the distributors of products, and the users of products, and those who need those products and services, who are collectively the Consumers, or Fleet Customers, or Insurers.  Communicating to a wide array of groups, with a single message, is always a challenge.  Our message needed to be part technical, part educational, part logical and if possible, part entertaining.   Most groups can understand all 4 parts of the message, if the message is short, and studies indicate, even with very intelligent persons, that 4 minutes is tops, to maintain someone’s attention.  We investigated a number of ways to develop and communicate our No Shortcut to Safety message, and when we came across the animated concept, it made sense to use the video’s simplicity.  We also found from experts in video communication that presenting a new message with an entertaining format, also maximizes the listeners retention of the subject matter; hence a cartoon format. 

What were your goals and target audience for this important message, “No Shortcut to Safety?”

John King: The message was still the key objective, and a message of a Safe and Reliable auto glass installation needed to be created and delivered to the Shop Owner, the Technician, and their Customers.  .

How would you like to see this video utilized? In other words, what do you feel is the most effective way to reach out to drivers to educate them about safe windshield installations?

            John King: Ideally, it is a combination of utilization of the video.  First of all, we know safety is important to most consumers.  This video has been shown in glass shop waiting areas to hundreds and hundreds of vehicle owners, and feedback from them has been exactly what we desired.  They have told those glass shops that they understand what they are doing for them.  Nothing has been more rewarding than reaching the Public with this message of No Shortcut to Safety.  Currently, glass shop waiting rooms are still the most common place where the message is shown.  However, with smart phones and the internet, we would hope to experiment with some glass shops being able to forward this video, to their customer, once they have scheduled a job.  The video then acts as an explanation to that customer as to what they should expect, when the job gets done.  This approach could then create a real value added marketing piece for shops to make the whole glass replacement experience, an even better one for their customers.

Thank you for joining us John.


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