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The Warranty Group: Simplifying your life

At a glance

The Warranty Group had a vision: create a single online place for people to purchase protection plans, report product issues, and track claims. Together, we built ProtectionPlace, an easy-to-navigate one-stop-shop for consumer electronics protection plans where people can easily track warranties from purchase to claim.

What we did

  • User experience design
  • Streamlined operations
  • Heroku development
  • Salesforce integration
  • FedEx TechConnect integration

Warranty wrangling made easy

We all have a version of that folder. If we’re lucky, it’s neatly labeled and contains an organized stack of receipts and warranty paperwork. Or, there’s the more likely scenario: a chaotic jumble of paper and receipts housed in various drawers that defies order and reason.

Either way, one thing is certain: Warranties and protection plans would be considerably easier to wrangle from a single online location. That one-stop warranty shop exists with ProtectionPlace.

The brainchild of The Warranty Group, a leading provider of extended warranty solutions, ProtectionPlace offers coverage for a range of consumer electronics. There, consumers can purchase coverage, manage protection plans, and submit and track claims—without ever having to pick up the phone or wade into a sea of paper.

With ProtectionPlace, says Robert Bean, The Warranty Group’s VP of Marketing, “customers can not only get a quote on an extended warranty and purchase it online, but the entire lifecycle of the warranty … can all be done online. Before there was not a source where they could manage all of the warranties for their home from a single site.”

And it’s more than convenience—it’s peace of mind, says Danny Varghese, Slalom consultant and solution owner for the project.

“Five years ago, no one had insurance for their cell phone. Now, everyone has it,” says Varghese. “Consumers want that comfort.”

From vision to reality

Though The Warranty Group knew what it wanted, it needed some help getting there.

Taking the first step

“We’re really good at the ‘step one’ process,” says Jim “Buzz” Buswell, Slalom lead on the project. “You have a problem, but don’t really know how to solve it”—that’s where the team’s accelerator model excels.

Companies don’t want to spend a bunch of money pursuing an idea only to discover that it’s the wrong one, says Buswell. Instead, the team quickly creates a functional model and iterates on it until everybody feels like it’s the right product. If the idea gets validated by consumers and the business, it’s time to build. If not, the feedback generated from the validation is used to pivot the project.

In the case of ProtectionPlace, that initial model was vetted and quickly progressed from concept to build.

Speaking consumer

“They know all the information they need to underwrite,” he adds, “But we walked them through how to think about what goes first and progressively get information and provide value to the consumer.”

Effectively reaching consumers requires an understanding of what they want and what resonates with them. The result, says Buswell, marries design, language, and information flow in a much friendlier experience—ranging from the site’s cool color palate to its rounded buttons.

For example, the terms and conditions that accompany the extended warranty purchase process were initially eight pages. Legally binding, yes; consumer-friendly, not so much. The team focused on making those contracts easily accessible within the existing member experience, and making pertinent information, such as "what's covered," visible on the site.

Another hot topic was information flow. Consumers don’t want to hand over their personal information, such as an email address, before seeing a price, says Buswell. They want to feel like they’re getting value first.

We wanted to get as simple and efficient as possible.

How it works

ProtectionPlace features a crisp, minimal, and responsive design that’s simple and action-oriented. Want a quote? Click here. Just select a product, purchase price, and preferred coverage, and you’re nearly done.

“We wanted to get as simple and efficient as possible,” says Bean. “A customer literally could click on three pages and have enrolled themselves into a product, as opposed to a much more complex navigation and time-consuming process on other warranty websites.”

Submitting and tracking a claim is just as simple.

“You don’t care how it gets fixed,” says Buswell. “You just care that it gets fixed.”

Before submitting a claim, ProtectionPlace walks the consumer through a quick self-diagnosis process, things you’d normally troubleshoot over the phone. If the problem can’t be quickly solved, a claim is initiated and it’s off to servicing—under the speedy, reliable jurisdiction of FedEx TechConnect.

“It made all the sense in the world to have a branded service provider,” says Bean of ProtectionPlace’s integration with the FedEx technology repair business. “Someone you know and can trust, and clearly someone that you can take product into any one of their several thousand locations around the country to drop it off, have it shipped, and then be repaired and returned by them.”

Throughout the process, consumers can track the progress of their claim from the site.

They get a really good product at a very competitive price and service from someone they know and trust.

Backend integration

ProtectionPlace is hosted in Heroku and integrates with Salesforce—part of a larger effort by The Warranty Group to run its business on the CRM platform.

“We separated out this very lightweight presentation tier [that’s] really focused on user experience. Running that in a Heroku environment requires very minimal maintenance and overhead,” says Tim Knapp, Slalom solution architect. “And we were able to do that because we were using Salesforce as a backend to manage all the business logic.”

And, thanks to the technical team’s “boilerplate” foundation, they were able to start immediately.

“Within the first day we already had something up and running in Heroku,” says Knapp. “We were able to get started on development right away—day one.”

ProtectionPlace relies on FedEx TechConnect to monitor the status of an item undergoing service, as well as the FedEx shipping and tracking ecosystem to get products to and from customers.

We worked closely with FedEx to ensure a cohesive, logically-flowing customer experience. Doing so involved identifying what the user needs to know about their claim at any point throughout the journey, and then reconciling those needs with the digital touchpoints afforded by the FedEx ecosystem.

Competitive price. Competitive advantage

With ProtectionPlace, consumers get convenience, ease, and support from two of the most trusted names in the warranty and logistics businesses.

“Consumers get a really good product at a very competitive price and service from someone they know and trust,” says Bean.

“The comprehensiveness of the customer experience—in terms of being able to quote, buy, and manage your extended warranty online—is unique,” adds Bean.

The Warranty Group now has the technology and the expertise needed to unlock new revenue streams by providing consumers with extended warranty coverage, and the new platform offers a competitive advantage for its existing business partners, too.

“If they are looking to grow non-traditional revenue and provide a best-in-class experience around extended warranties, ProtectionPlace is the only option that really meets all of those particular needs,” says Bean.