Product Protection

5 Ways Modern Protection Plans Help You Retain Customers

Aaron Sullivan
March 8, 2022

For consumers and merchants alike, product protection plans are advantageous. They add to a merchant’s bottom line, and they reassure consumers who want to protect their investments.

But keep in mind, consumers won’t invest in just any protection plan. The experience of purchasing a plan and making associated claims needs to be smooth and simple.

While many service contract providers make customers work hard to resolve claims, modern product protection plans make the customer experience easy and hassle-free. These providers offer superior post-purchase experiences that drive the customer back to the merchant.

Modern protection plans offer more flexibility

When a customer accidentally damages a product that’s covered under a protection plan, they expect their provider to replace or repair the item as soon as possible. But legacy providers don’t have the same flexibility that modern providers do in designing custom product protection programs.

For example, BlendJet, which is changing how people approach healthy eating through its powerful portable blenders, worked with Extend to add partial replacements to its protection program. Previously, anytime a customer had an accident like dropping and cracking their blender bottle, they would file a claim for a full product replacement — a solution that was impacting profitability. A traditional provider would not be able to introduce such a custom modification to a merchant’s existing program.

Why do these providers offer more limited coverage? A number of factors are at play, including how they’re risk-averse and inflexible when it comes to developing programs and going to market with a merchant. They’re also often bogged down by their own internal processes and red tape, which adds to a slow go-live process and offers little motivation to negotiate rates or customize plans for individual merchants. 

Let’s unpack that a bit further. Modern product protection plan providers differ from others in a number of ways:

  • Plan customization: Traditional providers are unable to work with a merchant to develop custom programs to fit their needs. Modern providers like Extend can.
  • Tech-first approach: Many traditional providers rely completely on the merchant to develop online & in-store tech to support the program. Modern programs are rolled out with a priority focus on technology, and merchants aren’t left to do the heavy lifting on their own.
  • Optimized program performance: A traditional plan places all the responsibility for monitoring and improving program performance on the merchant, whereas modern providers like Extend are always looking for optimization opportunities. That includes plan pricing to find the sweet spot to drive attachment and profitability, messaging, visuals, and plan placements.
  • Clear pricing: A lot of these plan providers rely on annual pricing reviews as opportunities to increase pricing across the board, no matter a merchant’s vertical focus or program performance. Because a modern provider like Extend always has optimization in mind, there are no surprises with pricing.

Moreover, our diverse and experienced team enables Extend to blend the expertise of legacy models with our modern approach. Extend owns the customer journey from the initial plan purchase all the way through the claim filing process, and we do so with customer convenience top of mind. 

Traditional providers that don’t take a modern approach typically deliver one-size-fits-all plans rather than something tailored to what a merchant needs and customers want. Because Extend has our own obligor in the family, we’re able to innovate in a way that these traditional players can’t.

Customers benefit from a hassle-free claim process

When filing claims, customers don’t want to fuss with outdated processes in order to access the plan benefits they paid for.

The warranty provider Consumer Priority Service (CPS) requires customers to register their protection plans within 30 days of purchase. The process involves four steps, including creating an account and confirming it via email. 

With modern protection plans, customers don’t have to worry about plan registration or acting within a certain period of time to get the full benefits of their coverage. They can simply enjoy their product knowing that they’re protected. If anything happens, they can file a hassle-free claim online and, in most cases, receive a decision within minutes.

Unlike CPS, Extend customers can start and finish claims online and in one smooth motion. Our online assistant Kaley adjudicates 95% of claims in 90 seconds or less — without requiring any extra steps. 

Our hassle-free response is primarily due to the fact that we are the administrator for our plans. Many other providers need to wait for their obligor to respond, which can result in delays.

Customers don’t need paper receipts or obscure info to begin claims

Say you’re a merchant who sells computers. Your customer’s dog knocks their laptop off the table, breaking it, and the receipt is nowhere to be found. What happens next?

If SquareTrade held the computer’s protection plan, your customer would need more than basic information to file a claim, including the IMEI number located on the device as well as a copy of their receipt. 

Modern protection programs don’t require a customer to jump through such hoops. Extend’s virtual claims specialist Kaley only needs an email address to locate orders and begin the claim process. We already have all your customer’s info on file, saving them time and frustration.

For shoppers, returning a damaged product is another chore to check off. The experience shouldn’t be made worse by requiring an old receipt and other specific product information. Opt for a service contract provider with simple and modernized claim handling so you can keep the customer happy and win more business from them.

Getting a damaged product repaired is a cinch

Both traditional and modern plan providers can determine whether product repair makes more sense than a return or refund. The difference in the plans? How long the customer has to wait for the repair.

Once a customer initiates a claim, some providers will make them print, fill out, and mail forms with receipts to a contact center. Even if they enable online claim filing, they still require a lot of info to proceed. A customer support agent then manually reviews and enters the form information into their database. If the claim is approved, the agent manually generates a work order. They then send out a cleaning kit, schedule an onsite repair, or ask the customer to send the item to a repair center.

According to our Senior Vice President of Insurance and Strategy Pedro Rodriguez, an industry expert with 20 years of experience in both the legacy and modern sides of the service contract business, the legacy process can take months to resolve.

A modern provider such as Extend cuts that response time down to a fraction. Most claims are processed online in less than a minute, and if repair is necessary, we can either send the customer a shipping label for transport to a repair center or send a technician to the customer’s home.

While we may require the customer to ship the damaged item to a repair center, we set appropriate expectations and make the process as easy as possible. Customers can then enjoy their repaired item in a matter of days (in many cases).

You can easily integrate product protection plans on your site

It doesn’t matter how great your product protection plan is — if it’s hard for customers to purchase, they’ll probably skip out on it.

Legacy providers often direct customers away from merchants’ sites and make them enter their information again to enroll in a plan. Consider Olive Avenue Jewelry’s ecommerce experience: for customers who want coverage beyond the brand’s three-year extended service plan, the retailer sends them to legacy insurer Jewelers Mutual Group's site.

Modern service contract providers use API technology to integrate seamlessly onto ecommerce product pages, so customers don’t have to leave merchants’ sites to purchase a plan. Extend, for example, makes adding a plan as easy as buying one of your products. You can nestle the plans near your “Add to Cart” button, use a pop-up, or a combination of the two. Customers only leave your site if they want to read a plan’s easily digestible fine print.

Modern plan providers understand that merchants have to acquire customers before they can retain them. By helping merchants keep customers on their sites, providers like Extend help pave the way for retention and increased loyalty.

Offer a headache-free claims experience with modern product protection

Modern protection plan providers understand that any type of damage to a valued product is emotionally draining for a customer. The best way to get that customer to return to your brand? Provide seamless product protection, from quick claim response times to a straightforward repair and/or replacement process.

Extend helps merchants keep their customers happy through the entire product protection process. To learn more about how we can help you stand out, contact us here.
Aaron Sullivan
Aaron Sullivan is senior content marketing manager at Extend. He specializes in writing about e-commerce, finance, entertainment, and beer.

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