How to Use Remote AV Support to Reduce Your Warranty Exposure
Don’t lose your shirt on warranties
“Free” is a dangerous word, especially for business owners with ever-shrinking profit margins. But it’s often a fact of life for technology integrators who provide service-after-the-sale.
As an example, standard warranties state that the installed equipment and materials will be free of defects and that the equipment will perform as it is expected to for one year from installation. That’s pretty straightforward if you’re a contractor hanging sheetrock or laying a roof. But even a limited one-year warranty can get expensive for technology integrators if they need to roll a truck every time the customer’s Netflix won’t load.
But if you don’t answer every service call and solve the problem within the first year, you risk a lawsuit, bad reviews, and your company’s reputation. It’s not worth the risk, so you send out a crew and you make it right – no matter the cost in parts, labor, and overhead to your company.
The Good and Bad of the Free Initial Warranty
When you offer a customer a free initial warranty, now you’re putting yourself in this difficult spot by choice. You’re essentially offering “free” service if the work you have to do costs you more than the warranty – and that’s just after your first visit to the home! Another relevant factor is simply that many dealers continue to deliver free warranty support even after the 12 months have expired. This is an even worse scenario because you are “paying” to deliver free warranty service for a client who does not even qualify any more. A big help in managing expiration dates for warranties is Ihiji ServiceManager.
The goal is reaching a point where you can provide your customers fast, easy service-after-the-sale that keeps them happy and doesn’t cost your company much money. You’ll reduce your warranty exposure, and may actually start making money off extended warranty plans. You’ll be able to offer those warranties with the peace-of-mind that most of your service calls won’t result in a truck roll and you’ll be able to create satisfied customers remotely, from any location with secure Internet access.
Set Up Remote AV Support for Your Customers
The first step to reducing warranty exposure is setting up remote device and network support using Ihiji Invision. Then you can offer the standard one-year warranty, plus an extended (RMR) warranty of 3 or even 5 years, and know that you’ll be able to solve most problems remotely on the phone while your customer waits. With our monitoring systems, you can even be proactive, noticing a problem and fixing it before the customer even realizes anything was wrong. That’s customer support!
If you’re retrofitting systems with Ihiji Invision, you’ll want to establish priorities. Look back at your past service records to identify your “squeaky wheel” customers. Who costs you more than two truck rolls per year? Who has received service and support past the price of their extended warranty (if they have one). Then there are those tricky customers who call with problems, and their system is out of warranty, but because they are famous, or vocal, or have sent referrals your way in the past, you feel compelled to take care of them without charging. All of those customers should have Ihiji Invision. We can’t say this will eliminate those “free” service calls, but with remote AV support, you’ll be able to solve most problems faster, for less money, without a truck roll.
With monthly flat rate pricing for Ihiji Invision, you may find it very cost-effective to put all your customers on the Ihiji platform. You can spread your costs more evenly, hedging your bets on which sites require remote support more frequently.
Don’t Be Afraid to Offer Warranties
Once you have Ihiji Invision set up for all your sites and you also subscribe to Ihiji ServiceManager, you can offer warranties without fear. You’ll be able to solve most problems through remote support and you will have the service operations tools required to automatically bill, keep track of client contacts with child sites, track trouble tickets, keep project documentation and more.
Remember, a warranty plan is, effectively, a service plan, except that integrators can earn money from service plans while warranty plans tend to cost money. The concepts of service and support don’t have to sit in the “loss” column of your profit and loss statements if you leverage remote AV support to take care of most customer service calls without rolling a truck.
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