By Mike Davey
Montreal, Quebec -- March 8, 2016 -- There are close ties between the collision repair business and the insurance industry, so it’s no surprise that the latest executive to join Fix Auto has deep experience on the insurance side of the business. Collision Repair magazine recently sat down with Jean Charles Dupuis, Fix Auto’s newly appointed Senior Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, to discuss what the future holds for the organization.
Dupuis has worked with a number of major insurance organizations in an executive capacity, including TD MelocheMonnex and MASS Insurance Brokers. He has also worked with auto glass giant Belron International, helping the company to expand its network in Canada.
“I’ve been in the industry for about 30 years,” says Dupuis. “My work with Belron International focused on expanding the network in Canada, implementing a claims call centre and strategic information plans. My work on the insurance side has given me an intimate knowledge of insurance company expectations. Having that knowledge will help me contribute to the existing knowledge base at Fix Auto.”
Meeting client expectations is a must for any business. It’s even better if you can exceed them. To do that, you need to know exactly those expectations are.
“When it comes to insurance, there’s a big focus on client satisfaction. Insurance policies are largely about giving people peace of mind. The insurer has to deliver a remedy when it’s needed, and client satisfaction throughout the process is very important,” says Dupuis. “At Fix Auto, we become an extension of the insurance company during the claim. We have to focus on the client experience, and part of that comes down to the quality of work. That’s why it’s important for us to have the best technicians in the industry, so we can offer the best quality of repair.”
Dupuis notes that conformity and consistency are very important to insurers and repairers who wish to be seen as progressive must rate these attributes just as highly.
“Insurance companies exist to mitigate risk, by design. Bringing conformity and consistency to your process is very important,” he says. “It’s paramount that we focus on cycle time and overall customer service experience.” Dupuis started his career in the insurance industry in finance, reviewing reports and systems and building a key performance indicator (KPI) dashboard. This has given him insight into how insurance companies view KPIs.
“Fix Auto is very focused on KPIs and on delivering operational excellence,” he says. “Now we have to keep on building those metrics and fully integrate them with the ones used by our insurance partners.”
Ask almost any repairer what the challenges facing the industry are, and they’ll agree that attracting talent and advancing technology are primary concerns. Dupuis echoes this sentiment, and notes that there is more that could and should be done to attract a diverse talent pool to the industry.
“We’re all facing the challenge of hiring, training and retaining Generations Y and Z. Fortunately, having brand recognition is useful for attracting new talent to the company,” says Dupuis. “There’s also an opportunity and a need to demystify our business. A lot of people still have the misconception that all we do is work with a hammer and bump out the dents. There are numerous other opportunities in modern collision repair, including estimating, quality control and other opportunities that aren’t directly connected to the repair itself. We need to highlight these opportunities more and attract more people into the industry.”
The other common challenge, that of advancing technology, impacts every repair company. Dupuis notes that there are ways to share knowledge that Fix Auto has put in place.
“We are working on initiatives to provide training specific to our operations, and we also have a centralized method for dealing with the complexity of today’s modern vehicles,” he says. “We’re working on a number of different processes and programs to help speed up information transfer. It’s important to use technology to its utmost to help facilitate this. Our operations team provides field support and they are available on the phone or in person to help our stores fill in any gaps in their knowledge.”
Fix Auto is not just one of the largest repair organizations in Canada. It is truly global, with arms operating in the US, UK, France and Turkey. Recent clinics held in Australia indicate the company may expand into the Southern hemisphere in the near future. What does the future hold for Fix Auto?
“Fix Auto is the only truly global collision repair franchise network,” says Dupuis. “We have an amazing opportunity to share best practices between organizations on a regular basis. New issues come up, but very often we know that someone in another country has already solved it. This global reach improves our competitiveness and benefits every single owner in our growing network."
For more information on Fix Auto, please visit fixauto.com.