Streamlining Repair Management in Your Reverse Logistics Process
A product warranty is a common way that companies show customers that they can have faith in a product. If something is under warranty, consumers have less risk that they will spend money on something that breaks or gets damaged within a short time after the purchase. They aren’t appropriate for every type of product, but warranties can:
- Set consumer expectations so people know that they are getting something that is high quality and if for some reason the quality isn’t up to standards, it will be fixed or replaced.
- Protect both the consumer and the company by spelling out in specific detail exactly what is covered (and what is not) so people cannot make claims that are outside the scope or timeframe of a warranty.
- Provide a competitive advantage over products that don’t have warranties included; if someone is deciding between two items, the warranty can sway them to go with your product.
However, a warranty isn’t something that a business can (or should) take lightly. Committing to warranties means that you will need to provide repairs if something goes wrong. Those repairs must be completed quickly and the product returned to the customer to avoid negative consumer feelings for a damaged product or a lengthy delay.
To follow through on these commitments, your business needs a streamlined repairs management process. You also need a repairs management software solution that can keep everyone up to speed on what’s happening, why, and when so you can move the repair through your internal process and get it back to the customer. Here is how the right reverse logistics software platform can help.
1: Verify Warranty Eligibility
The first step in a warranty claim is to ensure that the product the consumer wants to submit is eligible under the terms of your warranty. You may require that customers register their product when they make the purchase, or use information like the purchase date, order number, or other identifier that helps you look up the transaction in your system. Reverse logistics repair management software can use that information to verify that the customer purchased from you, and that the item is still under all the eligible warranty periods. You can also ask questions to verify eligibility based on things like the cause of damage or defect.
In some situations you may be able to automate this entire process—for example, if the repairs management portal identifies that the product is outside of the covered warranty timeframe, there is no need to send this to someone for review. If necessary, an internal team member can review the information that the customer submitted to approve a warranty repair.
2: Receive Warranty Item
For eligible items, the next step is to create a warranty claim and issue a shipping label or provide instructions on how the customer can get it back to your facility. This is one of the most important steps, because customers may be concerned that their item will not reach your facility (it will get lost in transit). Regular communication and tracking capabilities during this time can minimize consumer concerns and the need for them to contact your business, taking up the valuable time of your customer service team.
Your team will also need to verify the shipment when it arrives, and may need to inspect it by hand to ensure that it’s eligible for repair and that the claim is accurate. This is a critical first step and should be completed as quickly as possible once the item arrives. Regular reporting that helps track items upon arrival can reduce downtime or delays in this process.
3: Make Repairs
After the item passes through receiving and inspection, the next step is to move it through the repairs process. This includes several smaller steps and the need to track:
- Warranty claim information from the consumer
- Date you receive the item
- Reason for the repair
- Cause of the issues (to track broadly and identify trends or issues with suppliers, parts, etc.)
- Internal team workflow to get it repaired
- Current location and progress of the repair
Some items will require the work of more than one department or repair management employee, so it’s essential that you have a software program that can track it at every step. Automated communications at regular intervals are also helpful so customers can see that you are addressing the problem, and when they can expect resolution. In the absence of this information your customer service is likely to be inundated with calls requesting status updates.
You can also track and report on essential information like the total cost of parts, labor, other charges, and store internal and external comments related to the repair in a single place.
4: Send it Back to the Customer
The final step in the repairs process is to get the item back out for delivery to the customer. Your internal team is finished, but this is still a very critical step to ensure that the customer receives the item in a timely manner through simple shipping or delivery channels. Tracking the item to its final destination with a record of that delivery also prevents fraud.
Learn more about the comprehensive repairs management platform from ReverseLogix and how we can streamline your warranty processes today. Schedule a demo to see it in action.