Asurion pulls the plug; top tips from servicers; ServiceSource Thursdays 

By Paul MacDonald, ServiceSource

Two years ago I penned an opinion piece, “They’re Coming for Your Service Business,” in which I recounted several past attempts by Sears, A&E and Direct Energy at creating national service network.

In that column, I went on to warn of Asurion’s turn at bat, and questioned whether they would succeed where the others had failed.

Nine months later we followed up with another article, “Asurion’s Pain is Dealers’ Gain.” We reported that the warranty provider’s dream of a national service network was starting to fade, after it let go 5% of its workforce.

I hate to say I told you so, but this past May 17, after investing two years and approximately $160 million, Asurion pink-slipped its 48 remaining appliance repair technicians.

The point is, there is no need to create a new national service grid when a network of self-service dealers and independent servicers is already in place. If manufacturers offered a fair and equitable warranty rate, many service companies would gladly accept warranty service dispatches and the existing national network would flourish.

Roundtable Tips from Summit 2023

During the AVB Summit in March, ServiceSource held roundtable discussions with 150 self-servicing dealers. The goal was to uncover the industry’s best practices in four crucial service operation areas. Below are the top five suggestions for each category, and here’s a link to a summary of all the shared ideas.

Where are you finding technicians for your company?

  1. Hire from within (mostly install/delivery)
  2. Offer good pay
  3. Use CareerPlug, Indeed.com, ZipRecruiter
  4. Facebook
  5. Community college

How do you incentivize customer service reps (CSRs) to book more calls?

  1. We’re already too busy to take any more calls; don’t want more
  2. Offer CSRs a commission
  3. Use a script
  4. Hire CSRs with some technical skills/experience
  5. Maintain a proper ratio of CSRs to service techs

What are you doing to collect more online reviews?

  1. Business card that thanks customer and requests review via QR code
  2. Use online reputation services like Podium, Broadly, Package.ai, Birdeye, Fluid Local
  3. Pay techs for positive reviews
  4. Leave a document behind
  5. Send a follow-up thank you note or email

What are you doing to grow your COD service business?

  1. Too busy to take on any more business
  2. Refrigerator magnets
  3. Leave a company sticker on the appliance
  4. Paid search
  5. Facebook ads

The two-hour roundtable was the highlight of the ServiceSource education series at Summit and was enjoyed by all. In fact, it was such a hit with the members that we will hold a similar event at the 2023 Convention this summer in Nashville. This time, we will have a panel of successful self-servicing dealers share their success in service and take questions from the audience. Registration is open; sign up today so you don’t miss out.

Until then, join me for ServiceSource Thursdays, a new weekly value-add from BrandSource to help you focus on your service operations. The second Thursday of every month is ServiceSource Coffee Break, featuring a live video call-in from a service vendor partner, and the third Thursday is Ask the Factory, where you can ask a manufacturer’s national service manager hard-hitting questions about their warranty policies and procedures.

I look forward to seeing you!

Paul MacDonald, AVB’s senior ServiceSource lead, ran his own 38-tech service business and is a past president of the UASA. He currently operates The Expert Service Program, which helps servicers run their operations more efficiently and profitably. You can reach Paul at (647) 500-7785 or at paul.m.macdoanld@pmdgroup.ca.

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