The Fourth Annual Extended Warranty & Service Contract Innovations Conference recently took place in Nashville, Tennessee. One of the major topics covered was the industry’s image problem. Warranty Week was there to cover the event and submitted an article regarding Warrantech’s involvement. The following is an excerpt.
Sean Stapleton, president & CEO of Warrantech Corp., part of AmTrust Financial Services Inc., also spoke at the conference last week.
His presentation in Nashville, entitled "A Holistic Approach to Warranty & Service Contract Administration," looked at a service call not only as an opportunity to fix a broken product, but also as an opportunity to cement a relationship with the customer.
"How the service provider responds to a claim will drive the customer's perspective about the underlying failure," he said. If it goes well, the customer will have a higher level of satisfaction than even cases where there was no claim.
Stapleton said service contract providers should never let the customer forget why they bought the coverage. In fact, he suggested that in cases where the customer's product failed soon after it was purchased, the service provider should really make a fuss about it.
Maybe an early failure requires a response with a heightened service level, and a heightened sense of urgency? Maybe the failed product should be replaced with an upgraded unit and a sincere apology? Or maybe it's just a matter of giving the customer a gift card, as some sort of compensation for their troubles?
Stapleton also suggested that service providers have to acknowledge that some of their social media activities need to go beyond just marketing, into actual problem resolution. And that can get tricky, because a service contract company such as Warrantech is really operating behind the scenes, supporting their retail and OEM clients and the brands they sell and manufacture.
For instance, a manufacturer or a retailer may post items to Facebook, and a disgruntled consumer may see one of those posts and take the opportunity to voice a complaint about a repair gone bad. Others see the complaint and add their own comments, and soon it's hundreds of follow-up comments that have nothing to do with the original post. The longer it sits there unresolved, the more abuse it attracts.
Alternatively, let's say there's a complaint, and soon there's a response from the company, and the problem is resolved. People read that and note the quick response, and they begin to form an image of the brand based upon its ability to respond quickly to problems.
Imagine, for instance, it's the lonely Maytag repairman, who seemingly has nothing better to do than to monitor the appliance company's Facebook page. When someone complains, there's nothing more urgent in the world than fixing that problem. And the conversation is there for all current and future customers to read.
Brand Image Protection
That can turn out to be even more important a service for an administrator to provide than it is to operate a massive 24-x-7 call center that responds to complaints over the phone. For while a phone call is private, a Facebook thread is public for all to see, much like an advertisement run on television.
"I'm a huge advocate of using your partner's brand versus building our own brand," Stapleton said. "We're the guy behind the scenes."
Another attendee wondered how that would work, since it would require the administrator to essentially speak in the name of the retailer or manufacturer.
"It’s their brand you’re messing with," he suggested.
"No," Stapleton responded, "it’s their brand we’re protecting."
Visit our blog frequently to keep up with the latest industry news and company updates. And follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn so you can learn more about our innovative products and services.
Filed Under: AmTrust, customer, Financial, Sean, service, Stapleton, Warrantech
October is Fall Car Care Month. The milder temperatures make this the perfect time of year to get out and make sure your car is road ready. After all, you don’t want to wait until a blustery winter sets in, do you?
Even more important to consider, AAA regularly anticipates coming to the aid of more than one million stranded motorists during the year-end holiday season. This can really put a damper on your holiday spirit when you consider that most of these emergencies are highly preventable. Some of the more common problems involve:
- Dead or corrosive batteries
- Tires with excessive wear
- Damaged brake systems that aren’t equipped to deal with wet and icy road conditions
- Limited vision due to worn wiperblades, low windshield washer fluid and defrosters that aren’t working properly
Alarmingly, a recent report by the Car Care Council shows that three out of four cars, roughly 77 percent, are currently in some need of service or repair. As you can see from the accompanying infographic, engine oil is the top culprit when it comes to vehicle trouble, followed closely by engine coolant. Brake, steering, and transmission fluids are also important to the performance or your automobile and should be checked regularly.
Eventually, of course, all cars require routine maintenance and service. A vehicle service contract (VSC) is a great way to plan for this inevitability and could save you time and money. In fact, a VSC can provide you with several value-added extras such as discounts on oil changes, towing, rental cars, locksmiths, roadside assistance and hotels in the event that something does go wrong. Plus, you’ll have 24-hour technical assistance and access to qualified service professionals.
If you still have questions about what to look for on your vehicle, the Car Care Council offers a free 60-page guide on their website which covers major car components and service recommendations. Plus, while you are at their site, you can set up service schedules, get DIY tips, use an online diagnostics tool to identify any car problems, locate a mechanic and much more. That way you are always prepared for what’s down the road and your vehicle is good to go year-round.
Filed Under: AAA, Car, Care, contract, Council, service, Vehicle