By: Ed Sprigler, AVP Field Sales, Safelite AutoGlass,
Safelite AutoGlass®, the largest provider of vehicle glass repair and replacement in the country, worked with Model Metrics to deploy Salesforce to 250 sales reps and mobilize it on the iPad 2. Safelite’s sales reps work in the B2C space, calling on local insurance agencies, fleet and rental car operators as well as local automobile dealers and body shops.
What was the motivating factor behind your business’s move to the cloud?
The motivating factor was spurred by the nearly unanimous desire of our sales team to standardize through Salesforce. The fact that Salesforce is based in the cloud offers additional benefits, such as accessibility and the ease with which it facilitates change.
What does the term social enterprise mean to you?
We service 4.4 million people a year in an industry dominated by small independent shops. We don’t just want to be the best glass company. We want to be best service company.
Our customers – insurance companies and consumers – hold a lot of valuable information for us. Social media gives us the ability to better connect and listen to them, which helps us do our jobs better from a selling standpoint, and as a business, improve how we can deliver the greatest value to our customers. Excellent customer service is paramount to our business. It’s not about the next customer; it’s about delighting the current customer.
While it is important for us to effectively capture and process information, what is more important to our business is how we turn that into value for our customers. It’s one thing to know what’s going on, but we care more about the so what?
Our business is a little different in that we’re selling auto glass. It’s often a negative purchase and consumers aren’t looking for an ongoing relationship with us. I’m not sure why anyone would want to follow an auto glass company on Twitter. Our take on being a social enterprise is therefore more about how we can listen better to how our customers want us to serve them.
How is your business social today?
We care deeply about our 65 year-old brand and are very protective of it. Our marketing organization listens across our channels using Radian6 for negative experiences so we can proactively resolve them with customers.
But for B2B sales specifically, we’re still on a journey of discovering what social means for us as we sell to our customers. How can we improve the connections to the people we influence so we can increase sales?
There’s a bit of alchemy involved here too as our sales team plays a key role in determining how valuable social technology could be to their jobs. Collaboration technologies like Chatter seem to have great value, but we don’t do team or project selling so the need isn’t strong beyond cutting down on email. But we continue to be open to new ideas and discovering how to apply them to our unique business.
Where do you envision it being a year from now, five years?
Five years from now I envision the ability to leverage technology as a center of excellence to predict our customers’ needs so that we continue to raise the bar on excellent customer service.
For instance, a customer calls in; we automatically recognize them, have visibility into their previous experience with us and know how to communicate seamlessly with the insurance company or agency. The customer is never put on hold or transferred. On the backend, we immediately know who their sales person is, can deliver information of what we sold to our supply chain team regarding the product’s quality and make improvements if necessary. We would have a complete built-in feedback loop from product creation to seamless delivery.
What hurdles do companies need to overcome to become mobile and social enterprises?
There are two things to keep in mind: First, you need to have the right people dedicated to the implementation. It’s not a bolt on job assignment for an existing employee. You don’t want to stretch people too much as they are learning as they go along.
Secondly, at least in our business, nothing will ever replace a great salesperson. It’s more about how to make them more effective. Focus on what makes the cash register ring and ring more. We are wary of anything that takes our sales people away from their core job of selling. They should not be bogged down in technology, but enabled.