NATDA Magazine Mar/Apr 2016 - Page 36

Being a warranty manager means that you have to operate as a double agent. You are first a liaison for the customer, and you are also a liaison for the manufacturer. Both sides have legitimate concerns. The customer wants a repair performed under warranty, and wants it to be free of charge to them. The manufacturer wants to mitigate unnecessary and sometimes fraudulent charges to them. You must have the best interests of both the customer and the manufacturer in mind, while at the same time, get your techs paid and make a reasonable profit for the company. This is not an easy task for sure. First, you must build a rapport with the manufacture and establish a high level of mutual trust. We are going to assume at this point that the dealership and the manufacture have mutually agreed upon procedure and reimbursement rates. If possible, always deal with the same person. It is important to build on both personal and 36 professional experiences. If at any point either of you feel like the other one is the enemy, then nothing will go well, ever. Make it very clear from the onset that you are there to protect the manufacturer, and will only allow legitimate claims get to them. You do this by walking the walk, and backing every claim up with facts and effective communication. The customer needs to know that you are going to bat for them, but the only way you can be effective, is to only present legitimate claims in a very ethical manner to the manufacturer. The same thing has to happen with the customer relationship as it does with the manufacturer, again it is important to build that trust. At this point we are going to assume that a thorough PDI and honest walk thru with the customer happened at delivery, and it didn’t come with any misguided promises from staff at your dealership. Don’t make promises that you will not or cannot deliver on, as this is how you loose trust from all parties involved. Having said that, the customer should know to have reasonable expectations as to what can be covered under warranty, and what won’t be. The bottom line here is to create solidified relationships based on trust and facts. One of the best ways to build trust is to have very clear and precise communication. Communication can take on many forms in warranty such as, face-to-face, telephone, fax, email, and texting. We use all of them regularly to manage warranty claims and customer expectations. When a customer comes in to us for a no charge claim, we execute on our warranty claim procedure. Document the customers request first, then submit the claim. The only promise that we make to the customer is, “we will get this submitted and go to bat for you”. The first thing you absolutely must do while the customer is present, is to take pictures of everything that you can while making the list of all the complaints. This serves several purposes and it lets the customer know that you are documenting visual complaints (if there is an exaggerated appearance claim, this will cause the customer to rethink the claim) and you now have before and after pictures for the file. Finally, you will want to send them to the continued on page 38 NATDA Magazine