Warranties have a long - and some might say - interesting past. But the future is even brighter. New technologies and data sources are transforming our understanding of field quality, enabling deeper insights into product performance and customer preferences. These breakthroughs are accelerating the quest to reduce defects and satisfy customers.
The concept of a product warranty has been around for centuries. The earliest record of warranty can be found in the Babylonian and Assyrian tablets of the twenty-first century B.C.[i]However, for most of that time, it was buyer beware. Following WWII, consumer pressure and legislative action like UCC in 1952 forced manufacturers to start consistently offering warranties on their products.
In the decades since, warranty has been largely viewed as a necessary evil, a cost of doing business. Sure, extended warranties and service contracts provided a little extra revenue, but still rarely are viewed as a strategic part of the business.
For years, the warranty claim has been one of the few windows into understanding the customer experience and product performance in the field. Adopters of warranty analytics, like Sub-Zero Wolf, have dramatically shortened the detection to correction cycle, reduced costs, and increased customer satisfaction.
Now the hype is all about the Internet of Things, Social Media, Big Data Analytics, and The Cloud. But these technologies are more than just buzzwords. They are having a real-world impact on the problem-solving process. In today’s connected world, new data sources and analytic capabilities provide even earlier indicators and more precise levels of detail on the performance of products in the field.
Companies like the top PC maker, Lenovo are analyzing data from social media, online forums, reviews, and other sources to gain insights and make predictions into what issues are coming next. And our heavy truck and automotive customers are starting to blend streaming telematics data from vehicles with traditional sources of warranty data to provide revolutionary new insight into field quality.
Join me at Warranty Chain Management on March 12, 2015 in Miami. There I will present these use cases studies and more to illustrate how companies have utilized new data sources and technological advances to cut months out of the problem resolution process, while increasing customer satisfaction.
[i]D.N.P. Murthy, Product reliability and warranty: an overview and future research
Photo credit: Howard Lake