PPG Industries announced at the International Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE) in Las Vegas that its CertifiedFirst Network, launched at NACE 2000, has grown significantly in its first year and continues to welcome participants.
CertifiedFirst Network shops are located in 42 of the 48 continental United States as well as in five of the nine Canadian provinces. In its first year of opeartion, the Network received more than 1,600 applications. To date, the CertifiedFirst Network has over 700 participating shops. Over 700 more are currently working towards verification.
The Network’s high standards for participation — backed by third-party verification — remain constant as the Program grows, with many shops making facility and customer service improvements in order to qualify to participate. Overall, 30% of shops that applied to participate in the CertifiedFirst Network did not qualify on their first attempt.
“The CertifiedFirst Network is built on the idea that superior customer service and facilities are key factors in providing consumers, fleet clients and insurers with positive collision repair experiences,” says Mary Kimbro, director, the CertifiedFirst Network. “While it may seem that a number of shops did not qualify to join the Network on their first attempt, these numbers simply reinforce the high quality, excellent service and customer-oriented nature of CertifiedFirst Network shops.”
The Network recently announced an agreement with American International Group, Inc. (AIG), the largest underwriter of commercial and industrial insurance in the United States, which will make Network shops automatically eligible for acceptance into AIG’s Direct Appraisal Program (DAP) through a streamlined application process.
The CertifiedFirst Network supports participating shops through a variety of marketing efforts, including advertising and online promition. By the end of 2001, 104 million consumers will have been exposed to the CertifiedFirst Network logo and message through advertising in Good Housekeeping, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek and Better Homes & Gardens. Additionally, the Network is reaching out to insurers through a series of ads in insurance trade magazines.