So how does a person get the most from warranties on the products and services that they have purchased? It’s really quite easy.
Did you know that companies make an enormous amount of money on warranties, especially extended warranties, because of the huge number of people who never take full advantage of them or do not use them at all? Well, I am going to give you the 5 keys to getting the most from warranties. Here they are.
1. The first key to getting the most from them is to record the date that it ends on your current and future calendars. In addition, enter reminders in your calendar when you have 2 years remaining, 1 year remaining, 6 months remaining, and 1 month remaining on your warranty.
2. The second key to getting the most from warranties is to check the condition of your product on the reminder dates that you wrote on your calendar as described in the first key. You are looking for problems that you can get fixed using your warranty as you go along. You’ll be more successful in getting issues solved by doing it this way than trying to fix 10 problems during the last month. It’s important to know that it sometimes takes several months to fix a problem. So if you wait until the end you may lose out.
3. The third key to getting the most from warranties is the manner in which you approach representatives who are servicing your warranty. This is the most important key of all. Whoever you deal with, be positive about the company, enthusiastic about the product, and extremely polite and respectful. The only way this will work, however, is if you can find it within yourself to do these things with sincerity.
Consider the job of a customer service representative. Throughout each day, they are listening to angry, demanding, impolite customers who are ripping apart the company and the products they represent. Then someone (like you) comes along who speaks well about the company, and the products, and is polite and respectful. What happens is amazing. They will go out of their way to help you as much as they can.
If you sense that you are not getting a favorable initial response from the person who you are talking to, politely end the call so that you can call back and talk to someone else. If you are face to face, politely end your conversation and meet with another representative on another day or go to another location.
4. The fourth key to getting the most from warranties is to take the problem to a higher authority diplomatically. Many times frontline representatives are only given a narrow range of authority in how they can solve warranty problems. Therefore, it may be necessary to take the matter to their boss.
Here’s the secret. Ask for the representative’s permission, in effect, to speak to a supervisor or manager. If you ask for their permission, they are more likely to support you in discussions with their boss and not get defensive. Just say, “This has no connection to your performance, but I was wondering if I could talk to a (NOT your) supervisor or manager about this matter?” By the way, a customer service representative will usually give their permission without argument. If they don’t, tell them what you want firmly but politely. You might say, “I appreciate what you’re saying, but I want to talk with a supervisor or manager at this point.”
5. The fifth key to getting the most from warranties is to contact the manufacturer when the retail store is unable to secure approval on its own. This is particularly useful when dealing with an automobile dealer. Dealers are usually only given a certain range of authority in approving work on factory warranties. As mentioned in the fourth key, to get the dealer on your side, ask for their permission to call the manufacturer if you’re working closely with them on a particular issue.
Let the dealer know upfront that you have no issues with their performance, but you just want to see what the manufacturer might be able to do. Just say, “This has no connection to your performance, but I was wondering if you’d mind if I contact customer service at the manufacturer’s headquarters?” Dealers will never deny this request. It would not be in their best interest to do so since the warranty work will likely come back to them. Getting their support is crucial, however, because they may be asked by the manufacturer to inspect or diagnose the vehicle and submit a report on their findings.
When talking to customer service representatives at the manufacturer use the same strategies discussed in the third key to ensure success.
With the exception of automobile dealers and similar companies who provide warranty services at their retail facilities, I would recommend that you contact the manufacturer’s customer service department straightaway. Most retail outlets are not set up to provide warranty services unless you purchase their in-house and/or extended warranty.
To read about my warranty victories and to get more tips on dealing with customer service representatives successfully, I strongly encourage you to read my article entitled, “How to Get Good Customer Service and Save Money.” It goes into much more deal.