CIC survey reveals attendee goals, interests, perceptions

April 8, 2015
CIC offers attendees opportunities to network, learn and influence change — as long as industry members know about the meeting.

ATLANTA — CIC offers attendees opportunities to network, learn and influence change — as long as industry members know about the meeting.

The CIC Marketing Committee launched a new email survey format to understand what compels industry members to attend meetings and how the content can be better structured to address interests. The committee presented the survey methodology and findings at CIC Atlanta, April 8-9. The next survey will be deployed to meeting attendees via email immediately following CIC Atlanta to gather input and feedback on the event.

The inaugural survey was launched in March and garnered 159 responses, the majority of which were repairers or in the parts and materials segment, which included aftermarket suppliers, equipment manufacturers, jobbers, OEMs and paint.

Seventy percent of respondents have attended a CIC meeting in the past year; of those who have not attended, the top four deterrents were location, other time commitments, relevancy and budget. Some also noted a lack of information about the event — they did not receive an invitation, did not know when the meeting was happening or how to register.

The main goals respondents hope to achieve at CIC are networking, building industry knowledge and promoting industry change.

Respondents said they want to improve their existing industry relationships while also building new contacts. Learning more about and having the opportunity to interact with major decision makers in the industry and understanding the different challenges and perspectives of the industry segments will help attendees do their job, according to the results. 

Respondents aim to better understand the industry as a whole, stay in touch with current issues and improve their education and skills across many areas, including shop management, technology and insurer relations.

Improving the collision industry by helping build collaborative solutions that meet common goals was also a respondent focus.

CIC makes respondents more effective at their job by providing information, education and training, offering a forum for discussion and networking opportunities, results show.

OEMs, shop management, industry trends and current events, technology and technical issues and insurer relations were the most relevant topics to attendees today.  Respondents were excited by new materials — specifically aluminum — new vehicle technology, consolidation and its impact on the industry, and the demand for improved repair and shop processes.

Conversely, respondents expressed frustration with a lack of correct repair information and lack of information sharing and repair standardization; a refusal to change, adapt and unify as an industry and moving past the same complaints; the lack of consumer knowledge on the repair process; a poor industry reputation that can lead to a lack of quality technicians and other industry recruits; and lastly insurer relationships including steering, their involvement in the repair process and unrealistic KPIs.

Respondents also had the opportunity to criticize the CIC format. Respondents found the open microphone sessions to be intimidating, and others commented that the meetings can be negative and a venting opportunity for those critical of the industry, as opposed to being a positive working environment. They also cited repetitiveness in the program and presentation topics.

About the Author

Krista McNamara

Krista McNamara is the former Editorial Director for the Vehicle Repair Group at Endeavor Business Media. She oversaw five brands  — Motor Age, PTEN, Professional Distributor, ABRN and Aftermarket Business World. She worked in the automotive aftermarket industry for more than 15 years. 

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