Last year COVID-19 rocked the way we live and conduct business.  Overnight, customer expectations changed and for Safelite AutoGlass it meant that we had to change how we serviced customers.  It is in our DNA to talk with our customers during service, to offer a handshake at the beginning and end and make each experience personal.  Now we needed to deliver on new customer expectations by providing a safe, limited contact experience while still letting the essence of our brand shine through.

Speed to action was critical.  Our frontline associates, CSRs and technicians, are our eyes and ears.  Because they listened with empathy to customer needs and shared their learning with the organization, we were able to mobilize quickly.  This is an important reminder to create and maintain a continuous feedback loop with the associates who are closest to the customer.  They will spot opportunities much sooner than someone in the corporate office will.  Encourage your associates to always be the voice of the customer.

To get this right, it was clear that we had to look at it as an end-to-end journey.  By taking the time to assess what audiences and what portions of the customer journey needed to be changed, we could be intentional in our approach.  Speed does not mean to rush forward without a plan.  Sometimes you need to go slow in the beginning to move faster overall.  Three audiences were key to making this experience transformation:  customers, the field and the contact center.  The actions taken address the audiences’ main needs.  Here is what we did:

Customers:  Provided easy, touchless service while keeping them informed throughout the process

  • Drop & Go service with three simple steps: park in any open spot, drop your keys in the lock box, and text that you are there
  • Service Tracker to provide customers with real time service updates during the appointment via text
  • Digital payment option for customers to pay online

Field:  Maintain the human connection for a great customer experience while keeping everyone safe

  • Two-way texting at local store level to enhance communication with the customer
  • Windshield wiper offering via text for personalized service
  • Drop boxes and signage sent to stores for a consistent customer experience

Contact center associates: Work efficiently and clearly communicate options to the customer

  • New call flow and scripts for an informative and natural conversation focused on safety and convenience

The new Drop & Go experience is simple and intuitive for the customer.  Behind the scenes, it took a focused and passionate multi-functional team meeting several times a day to make this happen.  Every part of the organization was impacted from the contact center to the web funnel to how the technicians interacted with customers to billing.  We did not wait for perfect or the best sequencing of events.  We implemented quickly, gathered feedback and adjusted in real time.   

Upon reflection, there were three key elements to making this new experience successful.

  1. Be the voice of the customer. Always listen with empathy and share what you are hearing.  Front line associates are in the best position to do this and to be agents for change.
  2. Act with intention and speed. Take time to map the entire journey and engage the right people; then pivot to action as fast as you can.
  3. Stay true to your purpose. Never forget your brand promise no matter how pressing the crisis.  Respecting your brand and your customers matters more than ever during times of rapid change.

Since the start of the pandemic, Safelite AutoGlass has achieved its highest NPS score in the history of the business.  Anything is possible when you start with the customer, collaborate internally and follow your north star.

They say good things come in small packages. At 5 feet tall (in stilettos), Christina Pletnewski is a powerhouse marketer, leading new and innovative solutions around the end-to-end customer experience at Safelite AutoGlass. Given the average driver experiences a chip or a cracked windshield once every seven years, Christina knows the value of providing a positive, memorable experience. Behind every positive social media post and word of mouth recommendation is a finely tuned strategy that digs deep into the DNA of how customers want to do business in today’s world.

Christina was recently appointed Vice President, Customer Experience at Safelite to build and lead a team to create meaningful experiences for customers, associates and clients that drive business value. Christina joined Safelite Group in January of 2016 as the Vice President of Marketing leading TV creative and media, market research, B2B marketing, corporate communications, internal creative and ancillary products and services.

As a career marketer and customer advocate, Christina has worked for leading companies including Abbott, Nestle and SC Johnson.