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- EXTRA EDITION
The Extended Warranty Solution is a Web-based system designed to help manufacturers establish, market, and manage extended service agreement programs for the products they sell. According to Michael Dering, CEO of ServiceBench, it is a hosted system, available on-demand, which users log onto via an Internet browser. “Everything is done behind our firewalls,” he said.
Dering noted that ServiceBench’s Extended Warranty Solution is ideal for manufacturers, such as HVAC, with distributors and dealers who don’t have a formalized extended warranty program. He explained that extended service agreements can be extremely profitable for a company. Citing a study by the Aberdeen Group, he said the report indicated that “companies that have a good extended warranty program can contribute up to 35 percent or more to corporate profits of the organization.”
Also, with a processing system such as ServiceBench with a good analytics engine, Dering said, companies can get a lot of information on products outside of the warranty period that they can feed back into product development, or into making fixes, that they wouldn’t otherwise have.
In many cases, with manufacturers, such extended warranty processes are paper-based. ServiceBench automates the process “to make it beneficial for the dealer, distributor, and manufacturer,” he said.
GOODMAN APPLICATIONRachel Cater, manager of extended services for Goodman, described the company’s previous paper system as a “very laborious process.” It utilized a four-part consumer application form with one part for the consumer, one for dealer, one for the distributor, and one for Goodman.
Once Goodman received its copy of the form, said Cater, “We had to key in all the elements of the extended service contract in order to assure that the proper coverage was set up for the consumer.” The entire process, she said, would take “anywhere from four to eight weeks to get that information keyed into our system.”
Cater remarked, “With today’s technical capabilities, it just seemed like an antiquated process.”
Besides being slow moving, with the old paper system dealers didn’t have visibility of contract entitlement throughout the process. The online ServiceBench solution will provide a more streamlined and up-to-date system that will enable dealers to service customers faster and also give dealers better visibility over the extended warranty. They will be able to pull up information at any time, 24/7.
Cater said that Goodman went live with the new system internally in June. It will be rolled out to distributors and dealers in September. The manufacturer will bring all distributors on board initially. Then the company will do a phased roll out to dealers.
ServiceBench is “basically a real-time system,” said Cater, which is expected to reduce Goodman’s extended warranty process down to just a few days. The automated system will enable Goodman to immediately reduce staff by 25 percent, Cater added, and eventually by 50 percent.
Goodman’s extended warranty program has grown tremendously, Cater said, and switching to an automated system will make it much easier to handle. “We can get more aggressive in our marketing,” she said, and go after more customers.
For more information, visit www.servicebench.com.
Publication date: 07/30/2007