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An inside look at best practices in marketing and selling extended warranties

Mar 8 • Features, Management • 1805 Views • No Comments on An inside look at best practices in marketing and selling extended warranties

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Michael Blumberg, President of Blumberg Advisory Group gives us an insiders view of how to ensure our customers understand the true value of extended warranties and service contracts…

Warranty Attachment and Renewal rates are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that measure how successful a company is in marketing and selling extended warranties and extended service programs. Ideally, a company would want to achieve attachment rate of 50% or higher and renewal rates of 75% or better. This is considered best in class performance.

Only a small percentage of companies have been able to achieve these targets.

Key findings from Blumberg Advisory Group’s recent survey on extended warranty benchmarks and best practices indicate that only 30% of companies have achieved attachment rates of 50% or more. In fact, 16.7% have achieved attachment rates of 70% or better. While the majority (59.5%) of companies experience renewal rates of 75% or more, only 22.5% have achieved renewal rates greater than 90%.

There are several best practices that companies can pursue to achieve best in class performance on KPIs related to marketing and selling extended warranties and extended service program.

There are several best practices that companies can pursue to achieve best in class performance on KPIs related to marketing and selling extended warranties and extended service program. Most significantly, service portfolio design plays a critical role in influencing attachment and renewal rates. The truth is that customers will purchase these programs if they feel that they will effectively meet their needs. That’s’ why it is important to specify what’s included in the program from the perspective of features, resources, and coverage.

It important to include both basic and value-added services as part of the program. The more extensive and focused the services, the more likely the customers will be to buy. Nearly all the companies surveyed (93.2%) provide basic corrective failure as part of their program. Only 50.4% include preventative maintenance. Less than 40% offer a broader array of value added services such as calibration, inspection, recalls, and disaster recovery as part of the portfolio.

Indicating the level of service commitment, the customer can expect to receive is also important when it comes to selling extended warranty and extended service programs. Only 58.1% of companies have defined onsite response times as part of their programs, 39.3% specify parts delivery times, 29.9% and 31.6% respectively commit to the repair time and remote resolution times, and 15.0% will provide a loaner unit if repair time target is not met.

Almost half (49%) of respondents indicate that they sell extended warranty and extended service programs any time after the original product sale

The way in which these programs are promoted can also impacts KPIs. Most companies surveyed rely on direct mail (74.8%) and brochures (68.0%) to sell extended warranty and extended service programs. Most respondents (58.5%) indicate that direct sales have been very effective when it comes to impacting attachment rates while only 26.6% believe that brochures are as effective. Interestingly, survey respondents agree that other tactics are just as effective. For example, 50% of respondents indicate that endorsements and testimonials are very effective as is reputation management (49.1%), telemarketing (32.0%) and public relations (28.9%).

Frequency of communication is also a critical driver when it comes to influencing attachment and renewal rates. Almost half (49%) of respondents indicate that they sell extended warranty and extended service programs any time after the original product sale which means the capture revenue at any point in time during the product’s lifecycle.

Only 28.0% notify customers 90 days or more in advance of when their programs are up for renewal and 36.0% provide more than 3 notifications that there contracts are about to expire. More importantly, most (60%) respondents upsell their programs during the warranty entitlement process.

The survey findings suggest that best in class companies follow a structure and disciplined approach to marketing and selling extended warranties and service programs

As result, they experience incremental improvements in attachment rates; 36.5% indicate they have experienced a 10% to 25% improvement and 20.1% have experienced a 26% to 50% improvement from pursuing this tactic. In summary, the survey findings suggest that best in class companies follow a structure and disciplined approach to marketing and selling extended warranties and service programs. They do not view sales of these programs as a one-time even to be made only at the product point of sale. Indeed, they sell beyond the original point of purchase and align attachment and renewals with the customer entitlement process.

Furthermore, they promote their programs through a wide array of marketing communications tactics and rely on frequent and timely communication to get their message across. Most importantly, they ensure their programs are designed to meet the needs of their customer and are very specific about what the customer can expect to receive in terms of service feature, resources, and coverage.

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