Warranty registrations. Words that might bring about a long sigh and an eye roll for OEMs and dealers in the recreation industry. Warranties can be a great consumer benefit: they are a huge selling point and can make a one-time buyer into a lifelong customer. Submitting Registrations, on the other hand, is an extra step in the sales process and typically the last thing dealers want to think about after making a sale. However, the secret we all know is that registrations play a huge role in warranty claim management, continued customer satisfaction, and a healthy marketing ecosystem between OEMs and dealers.
So, why is it so difficult to capture registration information? In this article, we are going to discuss the benefits of collecting warranty registrations and some strategies OEMs can utilize to encourage their dealers to collect and return the information to better serve the customer.
As an OEM, you have a unique separation from your product once it leaves the factory. You trust your dealers to represent and sell your brand on your behalf, which is why communication between you and your sales channel is key to fostering a memorable customer experience. Gathering as much information as possible about your customers will not only support the warranty claim process, but it will help you and your dealers develop marketing strategies that will influence and predict repurchase in the future.
One of the easiest ways to predict repurchase intent is through customer feedback. Putting survey programs in place to understand the sales and product experience, and customer satisfaction is paramount to your future customer acquisition strategy -- and it all starts with warranty registrations.
In addition to understanding how customers feel about your product and their overall experience, knowing your customers’ email address and/or contact information allows OEMs to keep a direct line of communication open with customers. OEMs can put customers in dynamic and personalized owner nurture programs to remind them to come in for service or check out the latest model of the product they own— always keeping your brand top of mind and in good standing with the customer.
Lastly, collecting warranty registrations gives OEMs incredible data. You can use the information from the warranties to keep track of dealer closed sales (matching leads in your Aimbase install), customer lifecycles, and high/low performing products in your inventory.
All the benefits mentioned above sound great, right? Key insights, customer satisfaction, direct and continued communication — all great. The trick is to actually get the registrations. Due to direct sales separation in the recreation world, OEMs themselves often struggle to incentivize dealers to capture and record customer registrations. The benefits are intangible to dealers who already have the customer’s information stored, so the OEM needs to provide a structured process to motivate dealers to turn in the registrations.
Here are a few tips to consider:
Dealers are familiar with the process of submitting warranty registrations, but as the OEM, it’s your job to communicate the expectation upfront. However, since dealers work with many different brands, sometimes the process of delivering registrations is unclear, which can lead to a lack of participation from the dealers.
To alleviate this problem, we recommend creating a simple and straightforward process that dealers can follow every time they sell one of your products. Our friends over at DealerCircle have a fantastic process and platform that’s easy to use for both OEMs and dealers that happens to seamlessly integrate with Aimbase.
Also, create a timeline, provide the paperwork and a method to deliver the warranty to you, and most importantly, express the expectation that a warranty registration is sent to the OEM with every sale. Make delivering the warranty registration a routine habit for dealers and engage your OEM territory reps to follow-up weekly to support the process.
When you determine and communicate the process for submitting new warranty registrations to dealers, make sure you require dealers to include registration information in the paperwork they give to the customer.
Additionally, consider setting up a warranty registration form on your website. Setting up an online submission is actually a huge ‘win for all’ solution. It is more accessible for the dealer, customer, and OEM, and the information will seamlessly populate in Aimbase.
Pro Tip: If you are having trouble getting dealers to deliver warranty registrations, have a look at the dealer operating agreement. Submitting registrations should be a part of this process to kickstart the warranty claim process, which benefits the dealer and the customer directly (The key is to provide a tangible incentive to the dealer as well).
If you are not already doing so, start actively tracking what products are shipped to each dealer. After units are shipped out, it can be difficult to know which products are selling, how quickly, and how many.
We recommend implementing an inventory management system and tasking your inside sales and/or regional sales representatives with communicating with each dealership monthly to request the status of HIN numbers sold to customers. OEMs can use this data to compare the inventory they sent and what has been sold.
The data can give you insight into what is selling as well as a tool for understanding how good your dealers are at submitting warranty registrations. If you know products have sold and haven’t received a warranty registration in over a month, you can reach out to dealers directly with concrete information to request the registrations.
Pro Tip: Find a way to remind the dealer of the benefits they receive by completing the warranty process. (i.e., customers go to the dealer to get warranty work done and then submit the cost of the work to the OEM for reimbursement — so without the registration the dealer may not qualify for reimbursement.)
One of the most direct ways to increase warranty registrations is to offer incentives to dealers to deliver registrations. There are a couple of good ideas for incentive programs, including:
Co-Op Marketing for Dealers
Offer to pay a monthly or quarterly stipend to the dealerships who qualify by way of providing a determined percentage of warranty registrations per sale.
Annual Purchase Rebates
Offer a pre-determined rebate off an annual purchase of units the dealership makes from your brand, if they qualify by way of providing a certain percentage of registrations per closed sale.
The last idea to boost warranty registration collection from dealers is to try to make the process fun. Yes, it is possible! Utilize your dealer portal or a separate sales system to make the warranty registrations a (friendly) competition. Offer to donate to a charity, cash prizes, awards, or merch to the dealer who submits the most warranty registrations each quarter. Use fun graphics and interactive websites and emails to show results and progress along the way.
Continuing to change the incentives frequently will keep warranty registrations top of mind for dealers throughout the year and will promote some fun into a usually tedious process.
The key to a successful warranty registration process is trust and communication with your dealers. Nobody wants to be forced into doing something by their business partners, so it’s important to communicate the benefits and why you are asking for the information. Warranty registrations are an important part of doing business in a two-tiered environment, so making the process painless and fun will only enhance the relationship with your dealer network
Buying online has become common practice for both customers and retailers. With 79% of smartphone users making a purchase online within the last 6 months, finding ways to make shopping for an RV more mobile and e-commerce friendly is one of the best ways to differentiate yourself as a retailer in the RV space.
Consumers today have been trained by leading eCommerce and tech companies that anything can be delivered to them in an instant. When shopping on Amazon, buyers can point, click, and have items shipped within a couple of days, and in some cases the same day. Ask Alexa where the nearest boat dealer is located, and she immediately provides the distance to get there, directions, and will even call the dealership for you. Information is endless and easily accessible to make informed purchase decisions. However, when examining today’s retail experience in the recreation industry, the buying experience is counter to what consumers expect, especially when purchasing a big-ticket item, such as a boat.
While the pandemic has created some uncertainty in the world, it has also created a selling opportunity for OEMs and dealers selling outdoor recreational vehicles and boats. As we enter the summer months, we are seeing a shift from summer vacations and travel expenditures to more investment in local, outdoor lifestyle activities where social distancing can be easily monitored.