CCC News & Insights

June 7, 2022

An Influential Woman’s perspective on the Collision Repair Industry

CCC sat down with Client Engagement Manager Jennifer Hubbard to hear her perspective on the collision repair industry and celebrate her nomination as one of the Women’s Industry Network’s (WIN) Most Influential Women for 2022.How long have you been in the collision repair industry? I’ve been in the industry 28 years. In that time, I’ve had multiple roles and worn many proverbial “hats.” But working together with shops has always been a passion of mine.What drew you to this field, and what do you enjoy about it? Early in my career, my role in a shop was to work with insurance companies for billing and with our customers as a customer service representative. That’s where I really learned about the importance of being "guest-centric" as a shop – it’s something I encourage to everyone I work with to this day.I love that this industry is always changing and evolving. There’s always something new to learn, and always a unique chance to help shops solve problems. Plus, I’m a huge people person, so getting to work with people from all walks of life is something I look for.What’s changed the most since you started out in this industry? In one word: technology. When I started, I was writing estimates out of crash books or handwriting notes on carbon copy paper. If we needed a photo, we’d use a handy Sony Mavica or a Polaroid. Now you can literally write an estimate anywhere and take photos with the tablet you're using to write the estimate!It’s not just the convenience that technology offers shops, though. I’ve also seen it help train new technicians faster, evolve to meet the complexity of new vehicles, and improve the customer-shop relationship by providing transparency. If I’m being honest, technology has really helped the industry take a stressful time for consumers and instead make it memorable in a positive way.We tend to think of collision repair as a male-dominated industry, yet there are a lot of women like you working in it and doing incredible things to advance the industry. Were there any women who mentored you through your career? I have been inspired by many people and tried to take advantage of opportunities which have presented themselves. While I’m absolutely honored to be a WIN 2022 Influential Woman, I know that I’ve been fortunate to have been supported by both men and women in my career.For Women’s History Month this year I wrote about the importance of under-represented demographics in collision repair as we face labor shortages. But I would be remiss here if I also didn’t mention the importance of allies, including men, to supporting the growth of women and other minorities. I’ve been fortunate in my career to have male leaders see my potential and advocate for me.Like a lot of industries, the collision repair world has faced significant challenges during the pandemic. How has the industry responded, and what gives you hope as the industry finds its “new normal”? During the pandemic, the industry had to make swift changes to accommodate their customers. People were uncomfortable leaving their home, so alternatives had to be made to keep business moving. From the ability to request an estimate with a link sent from the shop to their phone, filing a claim via mobile app, completing paperwork online, or having their vehicle picked up via towing service and brought to the shop for repairs, this allowed for the customer to feel safe and taken care of.I know the future of this industry is bright because of its response to the pandemic. Shops were willing to pivot, to try new things, and get people back on the road.When you talk with your colleagues at organizations like WIN, what are the other challenges that the industry is facing? Where do they see the industry headed? Parts, People, and Progress!It’s no secret that parts are difficult to get right now. Between shipping and supply chain delays and factories that make parts shutting down – finding certain parts right now is a bit like finding the Golden Ticket.Making sure people feel safe in the shop – both as customers and employees – is also a hot-button topic. Shops are fighting for top talent, while working to try to grow new talent bases to create a pipeline for the future.Lastly, I call it “progess” but what I mean is ongoing education. Cars are basically moving computers now, and there always seems to be new tools and new processes for repairs. Shops need to keep the same mindset they had at the start of the pandemic and be willing to try new things and pivot their business as the industry continues to change.