One Size Does Not Fit All When It Comes To Your Business

By: Jeff Hatch

April 20, 2016

Selling your customers something straight off the shelf can be fast and convenient. But it can also mean that you’re running the risk of offering a run-of-the-mill product that wasn’t necessarily designed for them or for your business. The best way to differentiate yourself and drive business growth is to offer something that no one else has — something that everyone will want. 

In concert with your team, Warrantech can build a truly unique set of protection offerings for your customers that provide value and drive loyalty. Our mission is to provide our clients’ customers with the flexibility to purchase service contracts and obtain service on their terms and on their timelines, while reinforcing the long-term relationship between our clients and their customers. 

Warrantech offers a full-stop solution for the various aspects of a successful program and can also utilize a “menu-style” approach where you pick and choose what functions we would provide — at the outset of a program or during its life cycle. Moreover, Warrantech can tailor a program with benefits and terms that meet the unique needs of your customer base. Alternatively, or in parallel, we can leverage our existing programs to ensure speed-to-market for the program. 

Lastly, and unlike many competitors in the service contract administration industry, we are able to provide protection solutions beyond the standard extended service plan solution, including, but not limited to: 

Missed point-of-sale/renewal programs
Loyalty/membership programs
Concierge services 
Price/return guarantee programs
Monthly payment/subscription plans 
International coverage and service
Deductible and no-deductible options
OEM programs 
Value pack options (multiple products under one service plan)
Identity protection and fraud resolution
Employee benefit packages 

Warrantech offers unmatched flexibility, complete administrative support and a holistic approach to service contract programs. So whether you’re a retailer, dealer, distributor, or manufacturer in the consumer or automotive market, we have a customized solution that will work specifically for you.

To learn more, visit warrantech.com or give us a call at 800.833.8801.

Filed Under: customized, flexibility, plans, service, solutions, unique, warrantech

Top 10 Ways To Improve ESP Attachment Rates On The Retail Floor

By: Jeff Hatch

November 23, 2015

In the world of extended service plans (ESPs), extended warranties, or service and parts replacement programs, many consumers have become immune to the common tactics used to sell these programs. In fact, if your sales team is still selling the “what if” scenario to today’s ultra educated consumers, your store is losing out on valuable sales that help drive high-margin growth and revenue.
 
According to NBC News, extended warranties help fuel a booming $15 billion-a-year business; therefore, it’s imperative that retail sales personnel hone their sales approaches for “add on” sales such as ESPs. Through ongoing training and education, sales teams are better able to overcome “new” objections to these profitable plans and figure out which plan best suits the consumer’s need.
 
The below selling strategies are simple, but effective ways to help your sales team illustrate the value of ESPs and therefore convert more consumers:

  1. Get consumers’ attention — By stating the obvious such as, “This product is covered under the manufacturer’s warranty for only one year,” you may pique the consumer’s interest enough to have him/her asking more about warranty coverage.
  2. Listen to consumers’ answers — It seems simple, but often sales representatives get so busy pushing sales out the door, they don’t hear what consumers really want to know more about. If a representative addresses some of the comments consumers share during the sales process, then consumers may be more inclined to listen to sales talk about protection plans. Remember, always address consumers’ objections and point out how ESPs overcome the objection.
  3. Give options — Often consumers may be more inclined to purchase extended coverage if they know they have options. This puts them in the driver’s seat to select the coverage that best suits their needs. For example, offer extended or standard warranty coverage and let them ask questions about the difference, which will lead to the sale of a plan that they believe in.
  4. Stay positive — Much like in life, if you focus on the positives, you’ll more likely receive favorable feedback. Focusing on the strong features and benefits of the ESP, consumers may find the up front fee is well worth the investment.
  5. Expert source — Provide consumers with sales representatives’ credentials or the training they receive prior to selling on the floor. (This is most effective if the store posts signs on the floor about the quality of its staff.) In doing so, when a sales member states, “In my experience, ESPs are essential,” the consumer has a frame of reference for why this is a quantifiable statement. Testimonials are another great way to communicate value and benefits (leverage your personal experiences, your customer, your store’s customer, etc.).
  6. Brands that matter — We’ve all fallen victim to the brand game at one point in our lives and consumers are no different. Consumers generally buy the brands they think represent quality or status and frown upon unknown brands. But while some brands make a great washing machine, they may not make a great TV and it shows in the manufacturer warranty details (especially parts and labor). Your staff needs to know the details of the manufacturer warranties just as well as the ESP to help drive home the value extended coverage offers.
  7. Explain the fine print — Helping consumers better understand what’s covered, what’s not and why makes your sales staff their ally. This type of dialogue not only builds trust, but also gives sales staff an opportunity to reveal some of the holes in the manufacturer’s warranty. 
  8. Think about it — Once consumers have all the facts about the warranties or ESPs, it’s okay to let them think about their options. Have them walk around the store, talk to their spouse/significant other or speak with customer service representatives about the items they see coming back or how much it costs to repair various products. Often, a different source can be a welcomed change of pace for consumers who don’t want to fall victim to “sales hype.”
  9. Recommend it — If you believe in it, your customers will too. Familiarize yourself with the features and benefits and remind customers how costly repairs or replacements can be if they’re not backed by an ESP.  
  10. Ask “why not” an ESP — Sometimes the most obvious questions go unasked such as “Why wouldn’t you want to protect your purchase?” or, “What’s holding you back?” Once your sales staff knows the answer to why, they may be able to employ any number of sales tactics to sell or attach an ESP. 

ESPs add significantly to a retail organization’s bottom line because they don’t require inventory space or carrying costs and they offer high margins. Many consumers are receptive to buying ESPs, but they do need to be convinced to add a plan to their basket and are looking to your sales staff to communicate the features and benefits of the plans, as well as your organization’s commitment behind the plans. Sharpening your sales strategies — on and off the sales floor — is a critical step to increasing ESP sales and enhancing the value these plans bring to consumers.

Filed Under: benefits, extended, plans, retail, sales, service, value

“Everything Must Go” — Including Warranties?

By: Jeff Hatch

July 09, 2015

Losing a favorite place to buy a book, procure the latest electronic gadget or update the home can send passionate shoppers into an emotional spiral much like the stages of grief. 
 
Denial sets in first. “They can’t go out of business; they are always so helpful and sell only the best products.” 
 
Soon after comes the inevitable anger stage. “Great, they went out of business. Now my extended service plan (ESP)* won’t be any good. How could they do this to me?”
 
*NOTE: While many store associates and consumers consider the purchase to be an extended warranty, this is often not the case. Many extended plans are not truly adding on to the original manufacturer’s warranty, but rather, extend the post-warranty service options and are therefore more appropriately referred to as an extended service plan, or ESP.
 
Retailer bankruptcies have been an unfortunate reality, as almost 3,000 stores in the U.S. closed, were downsized or went out of business in the 2013 calendar year. While many analysts believe that the worst is now over, many consumers are still left wondering what will happen to their ESPs. The truth is there are a number of ways it can go.
 
In a worst case scenario, extended service contracts are voided when the company files for bankruptcy. This is often the case if the retailer underwrites its own ESPs. On a positive note, manufacturers’ warranties are in no way affected when a retailer closes. So, some repairs and replacements might still be covered.
 
In a better scenario, the retailer outsourced its warranty underwriting to a reputable third party.
 
“The end of a retailer doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the extended service plan,” said Sean Stapleton, CEO of Warrantech. “Responsible companies have safeguards in place, such as third-party contract underwriters, that protect their customers, even after bankruptcy.”
 
So, the first step is to read the service contract papers if a store closes. Chances are that the ESP isn’t actually owned by the retailer, so there’s no reason to panic. But, rather than waiting until the unthinkable happens, Stapleton advises to read the service contract before it’s purchased to avoid potential problems down the road.
 
“Check the fine print for a third-party provider and consider the reputation of the company,” Stapleton said. “Look for an address to write to or a phone number you can call if there are issues.”
 
Consumers are spending more on electronics and other big-ticket items than ever before, so ESPs are becoming increasingly important — as long as they will be there when they are needed. On its consumer protection website, the Federal Trade Commission urges shoppers to read warranty and ESP paperwork and look for answers to the following questions:
 
- How long does the warranty and ESP last?
- Who do I contact to get warranty and ESP service?
- What will the company do if the product fails?
- What parts and repair problems are covered?
- Are there any conditions or limitations on the warranty or ESP?
 
By asking these questions upfront and ensuring that their ESPs are backed by a reputable third party, shoppers can gain peace of mind that their purchases will be covered — even if a favorite retailer permanently closes.

Filed Under: extended, plans, purchase, retailer, service, store, Warrantech, warranty

Extended Service Plans: More Value, Less Uncertainty

By: Global Administrator

July 30, 2013

Everyone understands the importance of savings. We’ve been taught from an early age that the sooner you start saving, the better off you’ll be later down the road. Setting aside funds can increase your purchasing power when buying a home, prepare you for retirement at an earlier age and cover your expenses should you need emergency funds — all smart investments toward getting ahead and staying ahead.

However, a recent nationwide survey by Hart Research Associates shows that 48 percent of Americans say that they do not have the savings they need to achieve financial stability. In today’s economy, it is especially challenging to set aside rainy day funds for those unexpected moments that can drain your bank account and set you back even further. That is why it is in your best interest to consider an extended service plan (ESP).

Designed to help customers manage the cost and inconveniences of product failures, an ESP can be purchased for just a fraction of what you would normally pay for service repair. In some cases, the savings can add up to hundreds of dollars and even mean the difference between paying just a little extra cash as opposed to purchasing an entirely new product. Plus, there are several other advantages to consider with an ESP.

  • Today’s plans and service programs are more affordable than ever before
  • You’ll have added peace of mind knowing that your purchases will be fixed or replaced if something goes wrong
  • If you are having trouble with a product, you’ll have immediate access to a qualified service professional who can diagnose the problem, saving you time and money
  • A Warrantech ESP can readily be customized to fit your wants and needs

Above all, an ESP can protect you from incurring deeper debt and help save you money in the long run. This in turn can free up your finances so that you are able to accumulate greater wealth and maintain a respectable savings. And as most financial-savvy individuals view their major purchases as an investment worth protecting, an extended service plan should be considered a smart addition to your savings account.

Filed Under: Extended, plans, service, Warrantech

Market Trends to Consider in 2013

By: Global Administrator

July 01, 2013

Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of the U.S. economy. So it is understandable to think that in a sluggish market retail sales would be trending downward. However, despite actual product sales declining in 2012, more customers purchased extended service plans (ESPs) last year than in 2011.

A large reason for this trend is due to the fact that with tighter budgets, consumers are forced to make smarter decisions with their money. That means that instead of going on frivolous, spur-of-the-moment shopping sprees, purchases are now more carefully researched, thought out and viewed as long-term investments.

With this in mind, retailers were more focused on their ESP programs and receptive to initiatives that improved awareness, incorporated loyalty programs and improved website research and shopping capabilities for their customers. The result of these strategic endeavors helped play a big part in shaping the following industry trends:

  • The top products on which ESPs were sold included appliances, televisions, computing devices, audio/visual equipment and mobile devices
  • Attachment rates were up, particularly on big ticket items
  • Sales of ESPs on new tablets, ultrabooks and notebooks have observed strong growth and outpace the attachment rates of other products
  • Mobile phone ESPs have also observed significant growth, particularly for programs offering monthly payment options that provide for an effective competitive model relative to carriers
  • Furniture programs continue to gain volume as well

In addition to the aforementioned, Warrantech ESP offerings specifically had greater success thanks to a renewed focus on simplified terms and conditions. This made them more accessible/understandable for customers, compatible with OEM warranties and more comprehensive in coverage. Additional customer support was also viewed as a prominent factor in ESP growth as was product bundling, which allowed customers to customize and add multiple products under a single plan for even greater value.

During the next six months, we anticipate even more innovations in plans, stronger customer support solutions, and growth in ESP sales as 2013 is expected to be a much better year overall financially. Also, look for increased consumer confidence, coupled with stronger retail partnerships that focus on ESPs. Warrantech stands ready to deliver with our own dynamic ESP platform, which will collectively yield improved value for customers and more brand loyalty for our retail partners.

Filed Under: Extended, plans, service, Warrantech