Safelite AutoGlass Leverages Yext to Optimize Business and Operations
Founded as a single location in Wichita, Kansas circa 1947, Safelite AutoGlass has grown to become the largest auto glass specialist in the United States. Today, the company provides convenient mobile vehicle glass repair and replacement services, and it fixes more windshields than anyone else in the United States.
“We’re really a model of vertical integration,” states Bruce Millard, Vice President, Digital & Customer Innovation. “We have a glass wholesale business called Service AutoGlass that imports, distributes, and sells glass to our own stores as well as to our direct competitors. Then there’s our Safelite Solutions business, which partners with insurance and fleet companies, and of course, we have the retail glass repair and replacement business. We’re the guys in vans who come to your office or home to fix your windshield. And we have stores, too,” he adds. “We are owned by Belron, based in the UK, which operates auto glass businesses all over the world. So when you look at who consumes the most auto glass on the planet, we are one of the three largest consumers — right after Toyota and Volkswagon.”
Servicing the auto industry, Safelite is extremely aware of how influential mobile technology can be on consumers’ choices and how powerful it can be for its operations. “Mobile is key to our business,” says Millard. “More than 60 percent of the people who visit our website are on a mobile device. Moreover, all our techs are dispatched through smartphones with custom software that we created to route them, get the jobs to them, manage work orders, and so forth — so we know where they are and who’s available.”
Safelite has a history of adopting leading edge technologies to help power its business. When Millard first joined, he swiftly recognized that the company’s information needed cleaning up across the web.
Safelite uses Yext to manage the public facts about its brand. The Yext platform enables businesses like Safelite to manage important brand information across their websites, mobile apps, internal systems, and the entire Knowledge Network — over 150 maps, apps, search engines, GPS systems, and social networks including Google, Apple, Facebook, Bing, and Yahoo. “Yext gives me the catbird seat,” says Millard. “I can see how my content is being consumed across multiple providers. I couldn’t have that visibility without Yext.”
“We are absolutely seeing the value here — incremental conversions because of Yext are in the 10–20% range,” estimates Millard. Since launching with Yext, Safelite has increased its overall listings presence to more than 48,000, and the listings it has created using Yext have driven more than 942,000 search impressions for the brand’s locations. Safelite has driven close to 13 million clicks to their listings, experiencing a year-over-year growth rate of 61%.
“Getting started with Yext was insanely easy,” Millard says. “With Yext, we went from zero to fixing listings in a boatload of places in about two weeks. That doesn’t normally happen! It’s a huge point of differentiation between Yext and anything that would even try to claim to be a competitor. And beyond its powerful technology, Yext’s people are exceptional. When they promise to do something, it actually gets done.”
Looking ahead, Millard sees managing, verifying, and powering brand information across the web as increasingly integral to businesses in any industry — though particularly critical for those in the services industry. “People are not going to look us up and map out directions to our address. They will go wherever Google tells them to go! And if you look at our business model, it’s not really just auto glass. Our business is more akin to that of a hotel’s. We have the capacity of our technicians to do the work. We are selling time. If we have a no-show because an address wasn’t in Google, or because the person couldn’t find the shop, or is three hours late, or is frustrated and drives by competitor’s shop and gets the job done there instead — then not only did we lose that job, but we also have to pay for the technician’s time for doing nothing. Essentially, search experience impacts our bottom line in the most fundamental of ways, and Yext helps us to ensure that the impact it has is a positive one.”