The following article by Shara Richter appears in the TWICE Guide to Extended Service Contracts, a supplement to the April 7 issue of TWICE magazine. For more information on the stories in that issue, be sure to visit www.twice.com.
The concept, image, definition and demographic of the extended service warranty have all changed substantially over the years.
Extended service warranties were meant to be insurance contracts that retailers sold to consumers to cover repairs on products that were either not covered by the manufacturer’s warranty or that went into effect after the manufacturer’s warranty expired. In theory this was and is still a great idea that should have protected consumers and increased profits for retailers. In the past however, the warranty business gained a mixed reputation for leaving some consumers holding the bag. Consumers were less likely to buy warranties on electronics and retailers were losing out on all the potential profits. But that is old news. Today, consumers and retailers alike are opting in on service warranties for a variety of reasons and benefits.
Today’s extended warranty service plans are an upgrade from the past and offer better services for customers — whether it be in customer service, product repairs or product replacements. Shawn DuBravac, CEA’s chief economist and senior director of research says “The whole service environment has changed. It’s no longer just about increasing margins, but also improving the customer experience. You want your customers to be happy and to come back,” he recently told TWICE.
This expanding definition may be raising the bar on consumer expectations of their warranty coverage. Some service contracts now include such perks as 24-hour/seven days a week technical support. Consumers can tap online resources that are at once intuitive and automated and give technicians remote access for real-time troubleshooting and fixes. Plus some contracts offer protection for previously uncovered circumstances such as accidental damage and typically exempt services such as installation, says the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).
These consumer-friendly upgrades appeal to a key CE demographic, millennials. The young consumers are dependent on their mobile devices, and those products have a greater chance of sustaining drops, spills and other accidental damage precisely because of their portability. As a consequence, millennials are more inclined than preceding generations to insure their products with repair and replacement plans. CEA research shows that these consumers are not only open to buying protection plans but want to buy them to protect their most important possession — their mobile devices.
For more information about service contracts and extended warranties from Warrantech, be sure to visit http://www.warrantech.com/partners/consumer-products/extended-service-plans/.