Autoguard Warranties’ ambition is to be the instinctive first port of call for pre-owned vehicle dealers when registering warranties for customers. This means providing an easy and seamless experience, including rapid claims processing and payment. A frictionless experience maximises dealers’ chance of returning.
The company’s warranty management system is key to all of this. Yet Autoguard Warranties’ original system, from a specialist warranty management system provider, had outgrown its usefulness and was holding the business back.
“Although it did the job we needed it to in 2009, the system had become archaic and clunky,” explains Operations Director John Wade. “It hadn’t kept pace with our needs, there was no flexibility, nor any reporting capability, and there was no real disaster plan in place.”
The experience for dealers needed modernising, too. “In line with market expectations, we needed something much more user-friendly, which would streamline the process of registering a customer or product, getting a vehicle on cover ASAP,” John says. “When you’re registering 200-300 units a month, the system must be slick and responsive. Swift and accurate claims payment was a further priority.”
In 2014, five years after Autoguard Warranty began operating, the management reviewed the company’s options. They discounted the option of a partnership with its existing application provider and, of the four new providers it looked at, Farnborough-based DCSL GuideSmiths stood out.
“We wanted a partner that was local,” John says. “We were looking to form a long-term relationship, with the ability to jump in the car and meet as needed. We liked the feel of DCSL GuideSmiths as a business. Owner Nick Thompson was very ‘hands on’ and we felt we would be getting a very personal service. Also, DCSL GuideSmiths’ use of Microsoft SQL and related technologies was well ahead of the competition.”
Without an internal IT team, Autoguard Warranties relied on DCSL GuideSmiths to interpret its needs to come up with a bespoke warranty management that could scale and adapt with the business and its clients. DCSL GuideSmiths built the new system – known as WarrantyLogix – using the latest Microsoft technologies.
Having the ability to adapt and bring new functionality on line is vital to our ability to keep pace with the needs of the market and emerging opportunities.
The initial system spec grew rapidly as Autoguard Warranties grasped the potential. It continues to evolve too. “In response to the market we’ve introduced payment routines so we can do bulk payments of claims,” John says. “We’ve also added bulk collections so that, when we invoice, we collect the majority by direct debit. And we’re now in the ‘pay monthly’ market, where customers can buy a product and pay monthly. Having the ability to adapt and bring new functionality on line is vital to our ability to keep pace with the needs of the market and emerging opportunities.”
The strength of the relationship between Autoguard Warranties and DCSL GuideSmiths today owes much to a personal support service from DCSL GuideSmiths that “goes above and beyond”. This has seen DCSL GuideSmiths allocate a dedicated developer to work on site for a set time each month to support WarrantyLogix’s now complex business logic and maintain the system’s stability.
When shared data centre hosting via Rackspace gave rise to performance issues, due to a clash with another heavy processing load at the same time each day, DCSL GuideSmiths worked with Autoguard Warranties to bring forward plans to move the WarrantyLogix to the Azure cloud, which would boost its performance, security and resilience. In the meantime, DCSL GuideSmiths liaised with Rackspace to add resource.
“The tech guys at DCSL GuideSmiths reacted quickly,” John notes. “Typically they’re able to avoid any issues because they’re proactively monitoring the system and its performance.”
On top of the ability to give dealers a great experience – which is key to them continuing with us – it lets us run the business day to day, and manage it more closely through advanced reporting and forecasting. We can now project where we’ll be in six, twelve or twenty-four months[...].
As Autoguard Warranties’ operations have expanded, multi-location access has become important, and Azure cloud hosting will help boost ‘anywhere access’. It will enable faster speed of deployment too, for new features and functionality.
For dealers, always looking for an enhanced experience to make their lives easier, WarrantyLogix now provides weekend support, a personal touch not offered by its competitors. Meanwhile, online claim submissions and management allows dealers to serve themselves 24/7, while also supporting customers who may have questions.
Of the impact of the WarrantyLogix system on the company’s top line, John says, “Our dealer retention rate is good, and growing along with our business as a whole.”
The DCSL GuideSmiths team’s ability to ‘put themselves in the shoes’ of Autoguard Warranties and its dealer clients, and work closely with the company to build the ideal experience, has proved crucial to the system’s continued value to the business and its customers.
Knowing that they can pick up the phone to the DCSL GuideSmiths team, and that ‘things will happen’, has created a strong sense of trust in the partnership for the management at Autoguard Warranties. “We have a good relationship,” John says. “We are not a software company, and it doesn’t make any sense for us to try to be one. We have a web and online marketing team, but beyond that we rely on our trusted partners like DCSL GuideSmiths.
“The WarrantyLogix system created and developed by DCSL GuideSmiths is a key part of our business,” he concludes. “On top of the ability to give dealers a great experience – which is key to them continuing with us – it lets us run the business day to day, and manage it more closely through advanced reporting and forecasting. We can now project where we’ll be in six, twelve or twenty-four months, and produce not only routine reports but also something more ad-hoc or complex that the CEO needs.”