Value-added features on many of today’s vehicles are so unnoticeable that they often don’t exist in the mind of the vehicle owner.  When auto glass technicians say “rain sensor”, or “wiper park heater”, or “third visor”, we know exactly what we are talking about because we work with these items every day. The customer may be completely unaware what they have included in their vehicle.  How do we help the consumer narrow down needed features so we can supply them with the proper glass parts?  As a technician, I tend to talk in literal terms while my wife, who trained CSRs for many years, has the ability to paint a picture for the customer that helps determine the actual needs.

First of all, let’s get to basics.  The right side of the vehicle to a technician feels like the left side of the vehicle to the customer who is on the phone with you.  The first rule of customer service in the auto glass industry is NEVER use the terms right or left when talking to the customer.  The preferred terms are “driver’s” side or “passenger’s” side.  Make sure the customer understands that right and left side is determined as if you are sitting in the vehicle and not looking at the vehicle from the outside.

The simple question to determine if a vehicle has an electrochromic mirror is, “does the mirror have wires going to the headliner?”  If it does, it is an electrochromic mirror.  If the windshield has two options, the presence or absence of wires should make you choice obvious.

How can I tell if my vehicle has a rain sensor?  Turn on your wipers to the intermittent setting with the window dry.  Some wipers will make an initial sweep but if the wipers do not wipe the dry windshield again after the initial swipe, it has a rain sensor.  You can also ask your customer to look at the windshield from the outside of the vehicle.  Is there a small window visible at or near the rear-view mirror mount that looks like a camera lens?  If so, it has a rain sensor.

How can I tell if there is a wiper park heater?  Are there defroster grids at the lower part of the windshield?  If so, it has a wiper park heater.  If the customer cannot see grids, ask them to look very closely at the lower paint band under the wiper arms from outside of the vehicle.  Do they see some faint gold or copper colored lines running along the bottom of the glass?  If so, there is a wiper park heater.

Usually, any large decorative cover at the base or side of the interior rear-view mirror mounting area indicates some added features.  They could be light sensors, condensation sensors, remote starters, lane departure systems or antenna systems.  Customers usually know if they have remote starters, heads-up-display or other popular features that they use often.  You may have to explain how these items show themselves.  For example, “a hologram on your windshield with your displayed speed”, is a good way to describe the heads-up-display feature on a windshield.

The easiest way to learn and understand the many visible and invisible features included in vehicles is to visit you local car dealers and/or ask your technicians for how to recognize the featured options.  Then construct a visual explanation of the how it works and how it shows itself in everyday driving.  After you know that, you can compose questions to guide your customers to the answers you need.