By Maura Keller
To help make a warranty policy as effective as possible, it is vital that auto recyclers qualify each customer and their warranty needs at the point of sale.
We’ve all seen them. Warranties that seem to have a life of their own in the minds of consumers. A product fails, even long after a customer made the purchase, and they expect the warranty to protect their purchase without having a solid understanding of what the warranty actually covers.
At a past convention in 2021, Pat Huesers and Mike Meyer of Pam’s Auto, discussed the nuances of establishing a “common sense warranty policy” that can protect both your customers and your company, while building a sense of trust and brand loyalty with your customers. And while the idea of implementing a strategic warranty policy seems daunting, especially with the wealth of auto parts auto recyclers deal with on a daily basis, creating a consistent warranty policy can be a simple affair.
As Pat Huesers explains, “Here’s one thing we can all agree on: Auto parts fail, including yours. Expect it and embrace the opportunity when it happens.”
“Everyone’s got a warranty. Everybody writes it down,” Huesers says. “You have exclusions and you have what’s included, as well as what’s not included. Again, auto parts are going to fail. Just like a return, you’re going to have returns. Parts fail. Your parts fail, it happens. The biggest part is what is your plan when it does happen. When that part fails, what’s the plan? What are you going to do?”
In addition, product failure and the subsequent warranty you have in place, can play an important role in your company’s brand image in the minds of your customers. “Let’s face it, customers don’t remember the 20 deals that happened without issue,” Mike Meyer says. “Customers remember the one deal that was painful. Unfortunately, not only customers, but pretty much everyone – we always remember the worst. We don’t remember the many times when everything went fantastic. We don’t remember the 20 times our flight was on time, the flight landed and everything was great. It is that one time that Delta failed. That’s what we remember. We don’t remember all the good. It’s no different in the case of auto parts.”
To help make a warranty policy as effective as possible, it is vital that auto recyclers qualify each customer and their warranty needs at the point of sale. Be sure to quote a customer one price with the correct warranty. “It is vital to qualify your customer back at the beginning, during the sales presentation and when qualifying the customer in the shop. Determine what their warranty needs are at the point of sale. It simplifies the sales transaction because tyranny of choice just complicates the transaction. It gets it really muddy for the customer,” Huesers says.
As Huesers explains, if the warranty discussion is too complicated and cumbersome, the customer simply won’t remember the nuances of the warranty. They will say to themselves, “Now I don’t remember what I was paying for? What did I pay for the 120-day warranty? Did I buy labor? Did I not buy labor for a one-year warranty? What did I even do? I don’t remember.”
“Warranty resolution is far easier if the salesperson outlines the key features of the warranty at the point of sale,” Huesers says.
For example, the salesperson can clearly define that the warranty on an engine covers the long block, heads, head gaskets, and internal lubricated parts. Your company does not warranty or guarantee any unbolt accessories, for example, wiring harness, manifold, external seals or gaskets.
“We are very policy driven. The example I gave was on one of our training sheets in our sales manual on major part components. This one is for an engine and what the salesperson says at the point of sale,” Hueser says. “Season staff have it memorized, but new staff have a sheet
as a guide. You may think it’s a lot of information but when you get to the point of a warranty and resolution, it’s very easy to resolve a warranty issue when all this is covered on the forefront.”
When the warranty information is covered after the fact, when there’s an issue on the table or there’s a problem and then you’re telling the customer the warranty doesn’t cover this issue – that never goes well.
“The reconditioning and remanufacturing providers often sell an option for a no-fault warranty. No fault doesn’t matter,” Huesers says. “Let’s just face it. It’s always your fault if there is a problem, so we extended that type of a concept to our used parts, allowing the customer to buy no fault warranty on a used part. It is crazy how much sell through there is on that option. But more importantly, our resolution is much better having the warranty policy discussion upfront on labor and offering some options at the point of sale. It’s just incredible.”
Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Maura Keller is a seasoned writer, editor, and published author, with more than 20 years of experience. She frequently writes for various regional and national publications.