If you’re looking for ways to increase your net promoter score, look no further than your dusty, outdated, manual, old product registration program to find new value.
Yep. I’m talking about the manual product registration process where you ask a customer to mail you a postcard with their sometimes all-to-personal information like age, gender, weight, height, income, name of firstborn child (or cat), mother’s maiden name, religious preference… oh and product ID, date of purchase, etc. It comes a no surprise that – without digitization- an estimated 10% or less of purchasers actually complete the process. 1
Standalone programs like manual product registration are on a sharp decline – and for good reason. Buyers are uncertain about the purpose of product registration cards and even more skeptical about how their personal data is being stored, used, protected, and – gasp – sold. Even with some moderate digitization (like offering a landing page to digitally enter the registration), up to 72% begin the process, but less than 44% actually complete it. 1
There are modern, more transparent approaches to collecting monetizable data from product purchasers. Customer-centric solutions that focus more on the customer experience but also serve the same function of tracking purchase and warranty data are on the rise, though. This is largely due to the success of one of the biggest technology companies in the world (hint: AppleCare).
Let’s explore some reaons why – and how – product registration programs can be successfully re-vamped.
Why Should Manufacturers Update Their Product Registration Programs?
Who’s voice is the loudest: the voice of the business or the voice of the customer? A product registration program – especially if it’s tied into a customer-centric portal for service and support – can bridge the gap between your needs and the customer’s needs. We see it frequently from our customers – customer acquisition costs can increase dramatically when the gap of what we think our customers want versus what they think they need is widening (organization: “they don’t know what they need” versus customer: “they don’t know what I want”).
Before you look into other models and tools to support a more modern approach to product registration, here are some potential benefits to consider for a blended customer-centric, product-centric approach.
What’s in it for you?
What’s in it for the customer?
|Improve insights on customer’s buying behavior||Track and manage purchases, user guides|
|Inform future product development decisions||Better customer satisfaction and access to reviews|
|Create additional revenue channels: monetizable data, accessory or product sales, expanded warranties||Automate the product registration process|
|Detect or reduce warranty fraud||Improve access to technical support and customer service|
|Reduce friction and costs to centralize and deepen the quality of technical support and customer service||Gain access to a community of other customers / users|
|Improve consistency and completeness of customer on-boarding||Organize and track and potentially purchase product upgrade options|
Let’s explore a few different avenues for redesigning and managing a customer-centric program to replace outdated standalone product registration programs, potential barriers to implementation, and how to mitigate those problems for short and long term success.
4 Ideas To Breathe New Life Into Your Product Registration Program
How much do you value a direct link to your customer’s success and retention? How could having deeper insights in your data collection impact your bottom line? How could product development be impacted by real-time insights into customer demand and support issues?
Here are some solutions to discover your “why” and help reignite a modern-day approach to product registration that benefits both you and your customer’s satisfaction.
- Explain to the users what’s in it for them – and in a transparent way. Reassure consumers about the benefits of registration; the key to consumer adoption is one part education, one part ease of use. Most importantly, if you plan to offer a benefit in exchange for their data, let the customer know how to get the benefits, and make it easy to obtain. If you plan to use this data in any way, tell them simply how their data will be used, how they can see what information is collected on them, and what they can do to opt-out or erase the data and be removed from the system. This is a must-have regardless of what approach you select for a customer care and product registration program.
- Assign internal marketing resources to manage the program to generate awareness and increase conversions for product registration. Find out what your customers genuinely value and use that as an incentive to drive registration. There are so many possible incentives to consider. To name a few: free live customer support, discounts on technical repairs, discounts on affinity products or accessories, early access to future sales, access to your information library or forums, exclusive forum access from technical experts, free extended warranty coverage, free updates on recalls, etc.
- Investigate how other companies have progressed their product registration programs and what impact – if available – it had on their net promoter score or customer retention. Not sure where to start? Check out Apple. The company folded its stand-alone product registration into the AppleCare program, for which there is a fee for a limited duration of service. GE and Samsung also have made progress in this area. Each includes a QR code on their appliances to digital collect product warranty information.
- Consider replacing outdated stand-alone product registration efforts (like a mail-in postcard) with more modern initiatives for data mining that improve the customer journey, not burden it.
Option 1 – Replace stand-alone product registration with a “Reverse Logistics Automated Platform”. Companies like Wilson, Samsonite, and Electrolux have used a Reverse Logistics Automated Platform from a company called ReverseLogix that integrates with a company’s existing ERP or CRM. Product registration is one of the primary components of ReverseLogix, providing a customer portal wherein your customers can register their product, request returns and warranty service and obtain support.
Option 2 – Use QR code technology to reduce friction in the registration process and transition to a digital data collection method. The best use case I’ve seen is when you can click on a QR code from your phone, which loads ALL of the product info you normally need to, and if you have it saved in your browser, it will auto-populate. Then, the company can get other data from cookies when you click on the code without having to ask for it. This actually reduces friction / time for the purchaser and for your company as well, since it is automatically digitized.
This is an initiative that can be customized completely to your business – regardless of the size and complexity of your organizational structure. Perhaps rolling out a program like Apple could provide to be lucrative? Or perhaps a QR code pilot could be a less invasive way to test the effects on consumer behavior by offering a digital solution?
Barriers To Program Implementation
As with any program or initiative, during strategy development please consider what kind of barriers you may face internally and how you plan to mitigate – or address – those challenges. This is so critical to charter development and to transition (execution) planning. No need to watch this program execution get lost in translation! With some careful consideration and insights, you can have a solvent, actionable plan that prepares for complex problem-solving and success.
How to Mitigate
|Unclear benefits of registration. Despite the legal limitations, consumers largely don’t know why else a company would need to collect personal information such as their age, gender, race, or income in order to register a product if it isn’t for a warranty. (Imagine this was an episode of Family Feud in the final lightning round, and 100 people were asked about a benefit of product registration, 30 people may say “to register a warranty”, while 70 may say “I don’t know”.)||Make it clear what the benefits of registration are to the consumer as well as the company.|
|Consumer protection laws. At the federal and state level, consumer protection laws in some cases prohibit manufacturers from directly tying warranties to product registration surveys. In fact, 12 states directly prohibit this under the “as-is” statues. Federally, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act allows for a $50,000 in damages per instance for “breach of warranty” against companies who fail to clearly delineate the bounds of express warranties and to expressly state the requirements for maintaining warranty coverage, among other things.||Don’t directly tie product registration to the manufacturer’s warranty. While it is possible in some instances, it’s risky and consumer protection laws are on the rise. Instead, tie other benefits like tech support or customer service or discounts on future products and services like extended service plans.|
|Skepticism of data collection. The decline in product registrations closely correlates to the increase in consumer concerns for data protection. Manually filling out a one-sided notecard with one’s personal information and mailing it via the USPS is an antiquated way of collecting buyer data/demographics. It also poses the potential for information to be stolen or lost. The digitization of data collection has transformed this practice quite a bit.||Be transparent about how data is used and give the consumer a frictionless way to opt-out.|
|Upfront costs for resources to setup and manage the program. Product registration programs need resources from development teams, intake/data managers, legal, product management, and product marketing (for packaging insert design and printing) to maintain the registration program; growing the program takes additional, planned effort from marketing to ideate contests or other messaging used to promote visibility and conversions to the program.||Treat this program as a corporate-wide customer service initiative so that it gets the budget and resources it needs for oversight and success. Developing an internal charter and budget and resources to the program will increase potential for measuring expectations and the monetization of efforts.|
Manual product registration is out. Digital customer service programs that include registration are in. The sky is the limit here. Your business can increase your product registration sign-ups if it makes a concerted effort to digitize and socialize a registration program as a part of a modernized approach to customer service and support.
When you’re ready to talk about taking your customer-centric initiatives like product warranties and registration to the next level, give us a call. Any investment in customer service and retention could prove to be a valuable commodity for your business. Even if the upfront costs to setup and manage a digital registration-like program initially outweigh the value of the data collected, you’re leaving money on the table and a trail of unsatisfied customers if you don’t consider it.