2019 Warranty Roundtable: What Warrants an ESP Sale?
Dealerscope posed a short prompt to a number of major consumer electronics and appliance warranty providers, asking them to shed light on initiatives they're pursuing to help retailers drive sales of their extended service plans (ESPs). Here's what they had to say.
James Mostofi, Global Head of Business Development, Warranty & Services Div., AIG
AIG sees opportunity in (i) adding services that complement connected homes and advancements in the Internet of Things (IoT) and (ii) driving customers to subscription-based multi-product coverage. We see a strong demand for service contracts or standalone products that maintain IoT connectivity and protects our clients’ customers’ connected devices against security risks, including data breach and data loss. We also see significant economic value in shifting from traditional coverage of a single product (for a fixed yearly term) to enhanced coverage that covers multiple products in a monthly subscription-based fee model, such as multi-appliance coverage and whole home warranties.
Jeff Unterreiner, President, U.S. Connected Living, Assurant
In 2019, Assurant will continue to help retailers increase revenue while delivering a better customer experience. This starts with our industry-leading sales optimization program that is proven to increase attachment, both online and off. It continues in product design, offering solutions that include all the support and protection consumers need, without expensive luxuries they don’t. Then it extends to helping customers set up and connect their new products, educating them on how to get the most out of their purchases, and troubleshooting when something goes wrong. All this comes with greater size and scale, expanded capabilities and expertise, and more insights to help retailers innovate to meet the evolving needs of consumers, thanks to our acquisition of The Warranty Group in 2018.
Rob DiRocco, Senior VP, Asurion Client Services and Sales, Asurion
This year, we’re rolling out a new, simplified customer offering that bundles our protection plans with 360-degree tech help for the duration of their protection plan. This will help make retail customers’ lives easier by unlocking the potential of their technology through delightfully simple, actually helpful support and guidance for as long as they have their protection plan.
This new, simplified offering will provide customers with direct access our community of tech experts at the click of a button to provide guided setup for devices and smart appliances, tackle any number of tech questions, and keep customers’ tech running like new for the life of their device.
Our offering will also aid our retail clients in developing themselves as a destination for service and support, providing their customers support across all devices, whether it be connecting, protecting, or supporting. Retailers are increasingly wanting a convenient engagement platform—available to customers when and where they need it. We’re uniquely positioned in that we are the only provider that has the experience and capabilities to deliver on the promise of making people’s lives easier by helping them unlock the potential of their technology.
Jocelyn Getson, VP, Partnership Strategy, Centricity
Two growth strategies for 2019 are growing consumer demand for service contracts (both online and in-store) and increasing overall attachment rates.
Growing consumer demand is a direct result of providing value and having a seamless customer experience. One way Centricity is improving the overall experience is by introducing ServicePower’s ServicePortal, an extension of an 11-year partnership. This technology provides consumers a convenient way to manage the complete service lifecycle, including rescheduling appointments, checking coverage, tracking technician time of arrival and real-time job status, and delivering two-way communications via text message to improve visibility to both our service center partners and consumers.
Growing attachment rates is critical to the success of a program. Centricity is committed to complete transparency in reporting, so we can measure and grow sales based on product and claim trends. Centricity has upgraded our contact center platform, invested in a new telephony system, and is utilizing PowerBI, all of which enables us to deliver extensive and insightful data analysis. This detailed information is used to collaborate with our partners to improve overall program performance and increase customer satisfaction – you cannot grow what you do not measure!
Jennifer Monasterio, President, Mack Worldwide Warranty
Our philosophy is, “what is old is new.” This pertains to providing exceptional service to our customers each and every time. When a warranty is needed, it is all about the customer’s experience. How streamlined is the process? How easy is it for our customers? The goal is to eliminate our customer’s stress, reduce returns and avoid confusion.
Our dealers’ customers are our customers. We rely on each other with the goal to be a true partner. Our customers’ satisfaction creates repeat customers. The expense to market to new customers is much greater than keeping the current customers happy. Repeat customers are how our retailers will grow, and in turn, we will grow. The best marketing will always be positive experiences told to others by word of mouth.
Greg Gadbois, Senior VP, Business Development within Marsh’s Global Warranty Practice, Marsh
Marsh is a global leader in insurance broking and innovative risk management solutions. Our Global Warranty Practice specializes in warranty consulting, analytics, insurance brokerage, and support for large resellers and manufacturers of consumer and commercial products.
As consolidation continues in the warranty industry, more clients are looking to Marsh to validate their warranty underwriting and global expansion strategies. Large clients, in particular, are looking for program structures that maximize the financial benefits of complex warranty programs.
Our sophisticated analytics services provide insights into warranty program performance and product and pricing changes, giving our clients information they need to make more informed decisions. These analytics, coupled with our warranty brokerage and client revenue optimization services, provide us with the optimal strategy to meet the financial and customer retention goals of our clients.
Chris Smith, CEO, OnPoint Warranty Solutions
OnPoint is focused on driving repeat purchases for our retailer partners.
Research proves that positive service experiences result in a seven-times increase in repeat purchases from the original retailer.
Relying on our team’s product service expertise, we help retailers generate the highest levels of repeat sales through delivering great service experiences.
We drive revenue for clients by managing risk while offering contract programs which keep consumers connected and improve product longevity, not by focusing on claims avoidance.
We offer innovative, subscription-based and on-demand contract and service solutions which make routine configuration, maintenance and protection of consumers’ ever-evolving households of connected products easier and more enjoyable.
OnPoint asks our retailers and consumers, “How can we help you?” Then, we deliver great service and solutions which drive repeat sales and recurring revenue.
Michael Frosch, President, Personal Safeguards Group
For 2019, Personal Safeguards Group (PSG) is focused on two initiatives to support CE and appliance retailers directed at increasing sales through new product innovation and enhanced technology.
PSG has sourced new underwriting markets and administration providers that bring speed to market and complete transparency to the retailer channel. These new markets and providers allow retailers to quickly create unique customer programs without the long lead times that exist today.
In addition, PSG is leveraging new and innovative technology solutions to allow retailers of all sizes to easily sell service contracts online and solutions that dramatically increase online conversion rates for existing retailers.
Ahmed Khaishgi, President & CEO/ Co-founder, SquareTrade
As an Allstate company, we’re able to form deeper, multi-line relationships with our retail partners that include other Allstate products and services in addition to protection plans. With the recent acquisitions of PlumChoice tech services, iCracked on-demand repair network, and InfoArmor ID protection, we can offer end-to-end support and protection, from device and network setup to anti-virus protection, in-home IoT service to ID theft recovery. We also continue to lead the category in service innovation, a good example being two-day TV service appointments with a one-truck visit guarantee.
Jeannine Peterson, Senior VP, Client Experience and Business Development, Warrantech
Warrantech continues to expand its existing portfolio of protection products to provide best-in-class offerings. As a proud subsidiary of the newly formed Amynta Group, our team is committed to an open, simple and integrated philosophy. We are now able to leverage the combined strengths of our business partners to consolidate best practices, increase market penetration and deliver a comprehensive solution for each of our retail partners. This includes furniture care and protection, thanks to our recent acquisition of Guardsman.
We have also made several enhancements to our online claims portal to help improve business efficiency and customer satisfaction. Designed specifically to increase long-term customer retention, these updates will help optimize our business connections and allow CE and appliance dealers to become more competitive.