A warranty specialist is a particular type of clerical officer who is specially trained to administer all aspects of the warranty policy of an organisation. Warranty specialists are professionals that can be found in almost any service industry but predominantly within the motoring sector.
A warranty specialist’s primary role is to administer warranty claims that are received in relation to the product the company produces. This can be anything anything which comes with an assurance from a company, from a motor car to an MP3 player.
For example, a car might be sold with a three year warranty. Under this, it may be the case that certain parts of the car, if they turn out to be faulty or break, are covered within the terms of the warranty and will be fixed free of charge. A warranty specialist is the person who handles the claim, assesses it to see if it complies with the rules of the warranty, and makes a decision as to whether the work is carried out on behalf of his or her employer.
Warranty specialist work is by its nature mostly office-based, with claims coming into the office via email or post. Occasionally, it might be the case that some travel might be required, perhaps to meet important customers who have a number of claims open with a warranty department, but this is the exception rather than the rule.
Working hours tend to be along the lines of the normal nine to five routine, although if a lot of work comes in there may be times when a warranty specialist will be asked to put in some extra work. Furthermore, if working in the automotive sector, evening and weekend work could be required, especially if working at a dealership.
There are likely to be certain in-house systems for processing claims that someone working within warranty might have to learn to use. A lot of the work will be computer based, writing letters and communicating with people about their claims.
This type of work can be carried out by males or females, with both occupying warranty roles in all sorts of organisations. Entrance is really open to anyone with administrative and customer service skills who are amenable to further training , though in the automotive and other mechanical sectors it might be desirable for warranty specialists to possess a certain amount of engineering training or knowledge. This is so that they can understand and process the claims better.
Like many positions, the pay for a warranty specialist is dependent on a variety of factors, namely location and experience. Someone working in warranty can expect to earn roughly £18,000 per annum, with anything up to £30,000 for more experienced candidates. Of course, if travel is required there are also allowances for that, and usually in-house pension schemes and bespoke benefits, depending on the individual company, are offered too.
Day to day work as a warranty specialist is, as mentioned above, predominantly office based, and as such the work fits in to a fairly steady routine. Tasks and responsibilities that a warranty specialist would be expected to carry out include –
- Being a point of contact for those who have sent in claims
- Assessing and then organising and filling out paperwork pertaining to claims
- Ensuring correct filing and storage of paperwork and records in case it is needed at a later date
- Liaising with accounting teams to ensure payment is received for any work commissioned
- Being in contact with any engineering or technical teams to schedule work carried out as part of a claim
- Arranging for delivery of parts or replacement items if a claim requires it
- Scheduling servicing or repair appointments
- Keeping abreast of company news and policies to ensure claims are assessed along the correct lines
As regards warranty work, there are no hard and fast qualifications you need to gain a position. However, a standard level of secondary education will be beneficial, and those with experience in engineering will find themselves at an advantage for some roles. Also, advanced computer and/or customer service skills are a distinct benefit as they are important elements of warranty work. Training on in-house systems and processes is almost always given so a candidate must show a willingness and ability to learn too.
Some of the aptitudes required to be a successful warranty worker include:
- Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, written and verbal
- Diplomacy and tact
- Patience and discipline to work to set rules and parameters
- Organisational ability
- IT skills
- Good level of numeracy
- Specific industry knowledge – e.g. engineering for a role at a car manufacturer
Warranty work is office-based, and so the vast majority of a warranty specialist’s time will be spent on their computer, and liaising with claimants and other departments by phone. As such, there are no significant physical demands, and no real dangers either.
Hours are usually within the realm of the normal nine to five, though there are exceptions to this. For instance, warranty workers in a car dealership will sometimes find themselves having to work evenings and weekends on a rota, due to the amount of people who come in out of normal hours. Basically, anyone wanting to become a warranty specialist will have to be flexible as hours might occasionally be irregular.
Of course, specific industry experience will help someone looking to gain a warranty specialist position, but there are other jobs that provide skills that are relevant to warranty work. Any form of customer service work will be helpful, as will sales and administrative roles. However, an enthusiasm for the work and a good level of education will often be sufficient.
Warranty work can be found in almost any company that produces or manufactures a product. The largest employers of warranty specialists are the large automotive companies, such as Ford for example, as all their vehicles come with some sort of warranty that must be administered.
You can begin as a warranty specialist as a clerk, building up experience before moving up to a controller or officer role. As you advance you may manage an entire warranty section. The skills learned doing this work are always transferable, so management in a number of spheres would also be open to you too, as would insurance work.
Also known as…
- Warranty Clerk
- Warranty Officer
- Warranty Administrator
What’s it really like?
Barrie Madill, aged 54 from Coventry, in the West Midlands tells us about his role as a warranty controller.
What is your current job title?
I am a Warranty Controller at Terex. Terex are an international company that manufacture equipment for the construction, infrastructure, quarrying, recycling, mining, shipping, transportation, refining, utility, and maintenance industries. All these pieces of equipment have warranties as part of their sale, and it’s my job to assess claims that come in for construction equipment in particular.
How long have you been doing this job at Terex?
Four years and four months exactly.
What did you do before you did this job?
Directly before this I worked in warranty claims as a third party assessor for a company based in Leicester. My history is in engineering, as I completed an apprenticeship in production engineering for motor vehicles and worked in that area for a while. I then did customer service and financial work at a dealership and moved into car warranty after that, continuing my warranty experience at Massey Ferguson.
What is your day to day work like then; can you tell me what exactly it is that you do?
To put it in basic terms I assess warranty claims submitted by dealers all over the world for repairs they want carried out to large construction equipment that we provide. This entails going over the details of the claim to see if it is incumbent upon us to carry out the repairs and liaising with the correct teams to ensure any work is carried out. I also have to be in contact with those claiming, updating them with what is going on and letting them know the outcome of claims. They’re not always happy!
What do you like about the job?
As it’s an international company I have a lot of contact with people all over the world, which is interesting.
Is there anything you dislike about the job?
To be honest, there actually isn’t; I enjoy my job and like the people I work with.
Is there any advice you could give to someone who wanted to be successful as a warranty specialist?
You must always be assertive, factual and accurate, as you work to specific rules and sometimes people will try to argue with you. However, if you’re in the right and have worked correctly, you have to stick to your guns! Always know your product(s) and be tough but fair when making decisions. That’s it in a nutshell really.
Finally, are there any other jobs you would like to move on to?
As I said, I’m fairly happy here, but I wouldn’t mind maybe moving into a senior customer relations role, preferably with a major automotive manufacturer.