Why You Need A Vehicle Service Contract

By: Jeff Hatch

October 19, 2017

Contemplating a vehicle service contract, but unsure of how it works or how it differs from an automotive warranty? You’re not alone. A lot of consumers tend to get the two mixed up or fail to understand just what they cover. But seeing as how your vehicle is usually the second most important purchase you will make right after your home, it is in your best interest to do your homework and make sure that you are protected.    
 
What exactly is a vehicle service contract? 
It is an agreement to cover costs associated with repairs or services made to your vehicle. A manufacturer’s warranty, on the other hand, is a promise from the manufacturer to stand by their workmanship for a limited time after you purchase the vehicle. Once this warranty expires, a vehicle service contract becomes valid and provides you with much-needed coverage on your vehicle’s most important systems and components. 
 
Is a vehicle service contract right for you? 
Here are a few things to consider:
 
Keep in mind that the average hourly rate for a mechanic is $100 an hour. A vehicle service contract can help do away with this cost, save you money and keep you from paying any unforeseen and unexpected repair bills. 
 
If you plan on owning your car for an extended period, it’s definitely in your best interest. A vehicle service contract can keep your car running at its very best and on the road for a long time. 
 
Even if you don’t intend to keep your car for long, a service contract can increase your vehicle’s resale value once you decide to sell. But before you do, make sure that the service contract you’re purchasing is transferable.  
 
Do some research into the make and model of the vehicle you plan on purchasing. Is it likely to need repairs and, if so, what are the costs? Weigh this against the price of the service contract to determine if it is worth it to you.
 
Does the contract include extras such as discounts on hotels and restaurants, rental car benefits, locksmith services and 24-hour roadside assistance? Not only do these add to the value of the service contract, they can provide you with added peace of mind in the event that something goes wrong while you’re on the road and away from home. 
 
Take your driving habits into account. Will you be on the road a lot? Is there a lot of stop-and-go traffic? What are the road conditions like? Do you park outside where the weather is extreme? These can all have an adverse effect on your vehicle. 
 
Check the terms and conditions carefully. Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting and what is covered specifically. 
 
In addition to the type of coverage, be mindful of the length of coverage, miles of coverage and deductible. 
 
Research the company providing the service contract. Are they reputable? Some guidelines to help determine this might include checking their Better Business Bureau rating to see how they work with consumers and finding out what their A.M. Best rating is to verify financial strength and stability. 
 
Have questions about a specific vehicle service contract? 
Don’t hesitate to ask your salesperson or agent for more information. Most dealerships typically provide you with a brochure or direct you to a website so you can review the plan in its entirety. Take time to make sure that you fully understand the scope of the service contract and don’t get pressured into purchasing something that makes you feel uncomfortable. With so many options currently available, you are sure to find something that is satisfactory for your budget and your vehicle’s specific requirements.
 
Visit us online to learn more about our available vehicle service contracts or call 800.833.8801 to speak with a customer service representative. We’re happy to help.

Filed Under: contract, service, vehicle, Warrantech, warranty

Sean Stapleton To Speak At Extended Warranty & Service Contract Innovations Conference

By: Jeff Hatch

September 01, 2017

The eighth annual Extended Warranty & Service Contract Innovations Conference opens September 13 at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville. Several hundred professionals from the extended warranty and service contract industry are headed to Nashville to talk about how changes in technology and regulations will impact their businesses in the years ahead.
 
Successful Partnerships 
 
On Thursday morning, Sean Stapleton, the President and CEO of AMT Warranty, will join with Kenneth J. Mac, the Director of Chevrolet-Buick-GMC-Cadillac Protection at General Motors Co., to deliver a presentation on "Successful Partnerships in the OEM F&I Space."
 
GM spun off its vehicle service contract, insurance, and finance business years ago into what is now known as Ally Financial Inc., but which used to be known as the General Motors Acceptance Corp. (GMAC). Then, of course, the great recession hit, and both GM and GMAC went through bankruptcy reorganizations. Afterwards, GM decided to re-enter the VSC business under its own name, and Mac's Customer Care & Aftersales unit decided to do it in partnership with an outside insurance underwriter.
 
Stapleton said AMT won the bidding after an extensive vetting process. "The relationship with GM has been truly phenomenal," he said. "We've been in business for many years now." He said they started working together in 2014, after AMT Warranty won the bid in late 2013.
 
"The program has grown tremendously since then," he said. "And it continues to grow. So I'm really proud of what AMT Warranty and GM have put together." Their joint presentation in Nashville will explain how the relationship works, how they strive for continual improvement and innovation together, and what advice they can offer to others looking to create similar partnerships for their service contract programs.
 
"It's a unique partnership in so many ways," Stapleton said. "This isn't a vendor relationship with them. We're not order-takers. It's very collaborative. We meet every Monday. We have our quarterly calls. We have update calls. We're living and breathing and looking at the same things."
 
Fear-Free Communications
 
Stapleton said he and Mac will outline some of the best practices that seem to work for them in their partnership, while acknowledging that things may be different for other partnerships. First, he said, the partners employ what he called "fear-free communications" between the two teams.
 
"We empower our teams to build these relationships amongst themselves," he said. "They fight for each other. It's almost like one organization. It doesn't feel like finger-pointing. It feels like we win or lose together."
 
The teams also are encouraged to ask a lot of questions, particularly around reasons why they're doing something a particular way. "Some of those things are hard to discuss, whether it's personal or professional, but we have that openness. And it's been really beneficial."
 
Stapleton said the partners started out in 2014 with just a handful of auto dealers selling their vehicle service contracts (most were still loyal to GMAC/Ally). Ally still had rights to the GM name. So the partners decided to sell Buick, Cadillac, and Chevrolet-branded VSCs, and gradually some of those dealers decided to come aboard.
 
"It was a huge challenge," Stapleton said. "But it was also a pretty exciting time -- to know that we were doing things differently, to do things that were intended to drive retention and loyalty. That's one of the biggest differentiators I think that the program has."
 
They also offered disappearing deductibles, and introduced a "white glove" level of service within the dealerships to boost loyalty and turn what could be a real negative (getting a defect repaired) into a real positive (cementing the relationship with a phenomenal experience).
 
"Issues create long-term relationships with these customers," he said. "Their alternator may have blown. And that stinks. But they had a great experience. They were put into a loaner car. And there's a disappearing deductible, so there's no money out of pocket. It makes it a whole lot easier, and it builds that level of trust. Challenges can actually result in longer-term relationships with customers."
 
GM could have done it alone, essentially remanufacturing GMAC all over again. But instead it decided to work with AMT. Stapleton said this allows the partners to share data about both the products and the risks, with each bringing their expertise to the table.
 
"We support other large OEM programs," he said. "So we know what's been successful, and we know what's been a failure." And it helps the partners to properly price the service contracts sold for not only for new GM vehicles, but also the used vehicles that dealers have on their lots. "We have a depth and breadth of understanding of this space that's hard to compete with, because this is our core."
 
Visit warrantyweek.com to read this article in its entirety and for more industry insight. 
 
And be sure to follow Warrantech on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn so you can keep up to date on company initiatives as they happen. 

Filed Under: AMT, conference, contract, extended, innovations, Sean, service, Stapleton, Warranty

3 Keys to Customer Satisfaction: Speed, Efficiency, Knowledge

By: Jeff Hatch

July 24, 2017

Customers want fast service or support from knowledgeable people where, when and how they prefer to receive it, based on results of a study the CMO Council published Tuesday.
 
Together with SAP Hybris, the CMO Council last year conducted an online survey of 2,000 respondents, equally divided between men and women. Fifty percent were in the United States, and 25 percent each resided in Canada and Europe.
 
Among the findings:
 
52 percent mentioned fast response time as a key attribute of an exceptional customer experience;
47 percent said knowledgeable staff, ready to assist whenever and wherever needed, was key;
38 percent wanted an actual person to speak with at any time and place;
38 percent wanted information when and where they needed it;
9 percent wanted brand-developed social communities; and
8 percent wanted always-on automated services.
 
Consumers have a shortlist of critical channels they expect to have access to, the survey found, including the company's website, email, a phone number, and a knowledgeable person to speak with.
 
"The mindsets of consumers -- whether B2B or B2C -- are shifting, said Liz Miller, SVP of marketing at the CMO Council.
 
Marketers "have to start asking, 'Are we set up to be a responsive organization that looks at data, looks at analytics, understands what's coming in through CRM and is able to reflect that back through all touchpoints, including physical ones, quickly? Or are we simply waiting to react?'" she told CRM Buyer.
 
Serve Us Well or Die!
 
Angry customers hurt brands. The survey identified the following behaviors:
 
47 percent of respondents said they would stop doing business with a brand if they were continually frustrated;
33 percent were annoyed because of slow service or dealing with reps who knew nothing about their past history or purchases;
32 percent said they would email a company to complain; and
29 percent said they would tell their family and friends about their bad experience.
 
That's a possibility that Warrantech, which provides extended service plans and warranties nationwide, is well aware of.
 
The company on Tuesday announced a partnership with mobile workforce management ServicePower, which will let it instantly connect customers who have service needs with available repair technicians.
 
"Prompt response time is critical in our line of business," said Brian Weaver, director of service operations at Warrantech.
 
The teamup is expected to reduce overall customer turnover time by up to 10 percent across all verticals and "ultimately translate into commensurate lifts in clients' sales and customer retention," he told CRM Buyer.
 
The Customer Wish Conundrum
 
One problem marketers face is that customers appear to have conflicting desires, as shown by the survey results:
 
36 percent of respondents were angry about not being recognized for their loyalty;
12 percent wanted companies to recognize their history with the brand at any touchpoint;
10 percent wanted multiple touchpoints; and
23 percent felt they were being followed online.
 
That poses a conundrum for marketers.
 
"This survey did indicate the respondents wanted knowledgeable staff -- and for that, I'd argue part of the knowledge is knowing about the customer, not just the product, so that the advice can directly address the customer's unique problem," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.
 
"Knowing about the customer improves the quality of the engagement," he told CRM Buyer.
That said, consumers don't care how companies do what they do -- they only care about the results, the CMO Council's Miller noted.
 
"It's a sausage factory. Consumers don't care how you make them, they just want tasty sausage. At the end of the day, consumers want to be treated like persons," she said.
 
"Each firm needs to survey their own customers, assess the impact and costs of changes, then formulate a strategy that applies uniquely to them," Enderle suggested. "Some may find that the cost/benefit ratio is still better with automation." 
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. 

Filed Under: Consumer, satisfaction, service, ServicePower, Warrantech

Warrantech Improves Customer Experience by Reducing Service Time for Warranty Programs and Extended Service Plans

By: Jeff Hatch

July 18, 2017

Partnership with ServicePower Streamlines Repair Operations by Using Innovative Technology to Connect Customers to Technicians Instantly
 
July 18, 2017 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time
 
BEDFORD, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Warrantech, a leading national provider of extended service plans (ESPs) and warranties, announces a unique new offering that will improve the customer experience by reducing the amount of time it takes to service products.
 
Through a partnership with mobile workforce management platform ServicePower, Warrantech will now instantly connect customers who have service needs with available repair technicians. By using technology to schedule service appointments in real-time, Warrantech will dramatically reduce the average time it takes for repairs to be made to customer products.
 
Warrantech, a subsidiary of AmTrust Financial Services, Inc., provides innovative extended service plans, vehicle service contracts and warranty programs to retailers, dealers, distributors and manufacturers in numerous consumer and automotive markets.
 
ServicePower dispatches experienced third party contractors to repair product under contract through its contractor management solution, while improving warranty claim management through real time adjudication logic and collaborative business intelligence. Warrantech leverages improved visibility of each repair and real time data analysis to streamline and improve service operations.
 
“We are always looking to provide our large enterprise customers with an advantage in the competitive markets in which they operate,” said Ariel Gorelik, COO of Warrantech. “We believe this partnership with ServicePower will be positive for customers because it will make repairs quick and easy to schedule and we believe it’s positive for technicians because it eliminates the hassle of scheduling service times.”
 
“Warrantech operates in a complex industry serving many sectors and thousands of consumers,” said Marne Martin, CEO at ServicePower. “ServicePower prides itself on offering software solutions that minimize complexity, providing a real-time picture of field activities so that better-informed decisions can be made and executed to offer the best possible customer experience. That another project was delivered efficiently and on budget is further evidence to prospective customers that you can trust ServicePower to deliver.”
 
About Warrantech
 
Warrantech is a subsidiary of AmTrust Financial Services, a Fortune 500, multinational property and casualty holding company that is rated "A" (Excellent) by A.M. Best Company for their financial strength and stability. An innovative, technology-driven company, AmTrust brings its financial strength to Warrantech, enabling it to offer a unique, bundled approach that includes both underwriting and administration. This creates transparency and visibility to information that enables customers to change and create plans that are both highly customized and profitable.
 
About ServicePower
 
For companies providing field based services, ServicePower offers a field service and mobile workforce management platform facilitating hybrid workforce management, enabling organizations to save money, improve customer satisfaction and drive new revenue by efficiently managing both captive and 3rd party service providers. ServicePower uniquely combines customer entitlement and real time communications, schedule and route optimization, work order, asset and inventory management, service and maintenance contract management, contractor management and dispatch, warranty and claims management, field mobility, and business intelligence of all field service interactions, in a single solution.
 
ServicePower also offers a fully managed network of 3rd party service providers to enable rapid and high-quality on-demand “spill-over” servicing at peak times and in hard-to-reach locations across North America and the Europe.
 
For more information, visit www.servicepower.com
 
Contacts
Warrantech
John Eddy, 212-319-3451, ext. 648
or
ServicePower
Jenniffer L. Breitenstein, 703-287-8900

Filed Under: extended, plans, service, ServicePower, Warrantech

AmTrust Financial On Board as Diamond National Corporate Partner

By: Jeff Hatch

July 12, 2017

AmTrust Financial Services, a multinational provider of insurance and warranty services and parent company of NIADA Certified Pre-Owned program administrator Warrantech, has joined with NIADA as a Diamond-level National Corporate Partner.  
 
Operating through its partners and subsidiaries – Warrantech, AmTrust Specialty Risk, Warranty Solutions and NIADA Certified Pre-Owned – AmTrust offers dealerships unique, customized solutions designed to fit their specific business needs.
 
The AmTrust team includes automotive industry experts and vehicle service contract/insurance industry veterans, expertise that translates to a comprehensive perspective with insight that enables the company to uncover hidden growth opportunities and structure programs that offer a high-value proposition for dealers and their customers.
 
AmTrust’s real-world expertise guides its team of trainers to help dealers refine sales strategies and build customer loyalty and enhance brand image.
 
The company’s vertical integration allows it to provide any combination of program management solutions, from turnkey operations with full underwriting, marketing, dealer training, sales support and administration services to a la carte services and hybrid solutions. 
 
Last month, AmTrust announced it has been named to the prestigious Fortune 500 list for the first time. The list, which includes the largest companies in the U.S. by total revenue, is recognition of AmTrust’s financial strength and stability. The company’s revenue rose 18 percent in 2016, reaching $5.45 billion. 
 
AmTrust’s partnership with NIADA gives dealers access to the only nationally recognized independent CPO program, which lets your customers know your business and the vehicles you are selling are held to a higher standard.
 
For more information, visit www.amtrustgroup.com or call 800-723-1154.

Filed Under: AmTrust, corporate, Diamond, national, NIADA, partner, service, Warrantech, warranty

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