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Mike Clear currently serves as Chief Sales and Marketing Officer.  He was brought into the company in 1999 as  Chief Operating Officer.  He continues to be involved in all areas of the company as has served in roles ranging from COO, CIO and President before landing as the head of sales and marketing.


Home Warranty Blog
  • Setting A Higher Standard of Service

    The Phrase 'Perception Is Everything' Really Says It All When It Comes To The Importance of Customer Input.

    When it comes to great service, today's customers don't always know how to define it, but they definitely "know it when they see it." Unfortunately, too many consumers have become accustomed to substandard service and are literally shocked when they have a positive experience. Nothing is more gratifying than hearing customers say "Wow, you really helped me when I needed it. Thank you."

    Most businesses strive for repeat sales, knowing the acquisition cost of that business is much lower than the cost of attaining new customers. Still, many don't make the connection between quality of service and profitability.

    This is such a simple concept when you take a step back and look at it, yet too many organizations concentrate on bringing new clients in the front door and they fail to see who is leaving through the back. There are three key ingredients needed to create an environment rich in service: strategy, accountability and commitment.

    Strategy


    Achieving an exceptional level of service is not something that happens by chance, even when you've hired the best employees. Service excellence must become a visible corporate strategy, with goals, action plans and the ability to measure results. In order to ensure high levels of profitability, metrics and strategies should be designed with service to your customers as the priority.

    Accountability


    Every department must recognize how it directly or indirectly impacts customer satisfaction. Every manager must be accountable for communicating and achieving standards of service performance within the organization. Every employee must understand how the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of customers echoes throughout the entire organization.

    Once the understanding and commitment of the entire organization are in place, results should be tracked and measured consistently against established metrics. As the organization and individuals exceed the standards agreed upon, rewards should be made available. Employees who feel confident in their job knowledge and appreciated for their contributions will mirror that attitude to their customers.

    Commitment


    Genuine commitment to service excellence is long term. Results should be tracked constantly and adjustments made as needed. However, numbers do not necessarily paint the whole picture. Subjective feedback from customers, both positive and negative, needs to be part of the equation.

    Paying attention to what our customer is saying can give valuable insight into your market and the mood of your client base if you are willing to listen. 

    Service excellence is a priority at HSA Home Warranty. "Because service matters" is the philosophy that guides our daily activities.

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  • Owning Our Mistakes to Provide Better Service

    The home warranty industry, like many others, has its own seasonality. We are now in the busiest part of the season and handling more claims than ever before. A vast majority of these claims and service related touches are handled seamlessly in a timely and efficiently manner. However, sometimes our service doesn’t live up to its standards. For a perfect claim to take place not only do we have to fix the problem, but we have to fix it at the ideal time for our clients. While many organizations suffer through times like this we make it a priority to show our commitment to customer service and shine in the eyes of our customers and clients.

    If we make a mistake, we need to make it right and make it right fast. We are still in a people business and our people are empowered to make a difference. It is the responsibility of the individual and the organization to “own their mistakes”. Taking responsibility for your actions, whether good or bad is pivotal to the success of our business. We take this very seriously. That is why we are confident to boast about our service. Providing a level of service that exceeds our customers and clients expectations is something we truly believe in. We care about them and strive to satisfy everyone. That doesn’t always happen as planned, but we will always do what we can to make it right.

    Our reputation around service isn’t something that can be built in a day. It’s something that is earned over time by making customer-focused decisions every day. As part of our commitment to service, we have recently expanded our call center to decrease wait times. We realize that consumers have a much larger voice than they've had in the past and it’s our job to listen and respond. HSA has been actively handling complaints received through Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to make sure that no customer goes unheard.

    Remember if you have a problem we’ll do our best to make it right. 

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  • The Importance of a Home Warranty in a Seller's Market

    The real estate industry is back to a sellers’ market. Just a short while ago, we were seeing very high housing inventory and quickly with multiple offers, in many cases.  According to the National Association of Realtors most recent report, home prices increased 6% in the past year. Many professionals estimated that as high as 30% of homes are selling before they ever hit the MLS. Because of this quick shift in the market, many other businesses have been affected.


    Home warranty is, of course, most important to me, and I want to reflect on how this is affecting our business. Sellers still need to protect themselves, and buyers (more than ever) need to protect themselves for the 12 months after the purchase of their home. Many first-time homebuyers are in a cash crunch and need to save money when they can. Appliance repairs or mechanical system failures are probably not something they’re saving for, which is why a home warranty is imperative. With mortgage rates remaining low, this leaves some wiggle room to purchase a home protection plan. Another concern with homes being purchased quickly is questions concerning home inspections. Was all the proper maintenance completed? Was a complete home inspection done thoroughly? A home warranty can protect against these things.

     

    On the other side of the equation, it’s still important for the seller and the real estate agent to have the home warranty protection. After the sale has gone through, the home warranty will still provide a safeguard for the seller and agent if there were to be a major appliance or mechanical system failure. Overall, the warranty provides the proper peace of mind for the seller, the buyer and the agent. If something happens, HSA is there to take the calls, arrange the service and help pay for the repairs.

     


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  • How a Home Warranty Protection Plan Works for You - HSA

    I am excited to show everyone a new video we produced to educate people on home warranty.  This is an interesting look, as it is a unique animation that helps tell the story around home warranty.  Please take a look and let us know what you think.


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  • Listening To Understand Our Clients

     

    Do you remember how good the food was at a restaurant if the service was terrible? More importantly, would you go back and endure terrible service just for the food? If you are like me, meals always taste better when accompanied by great service. A big part of offering great service in any industry involves the art of "listening to understand" as opposed to "listening to respond". There is certainly a big difference between the two. Listening is a key component in all facets of our lives and careers. If we all took a little more time to listen, we may learn what the people close to us truly want and desire. Of course, you may say, "no kidding Mike!" I am not trying to be simplistic; rather I am trying to focus on the importance of where service starts. We at HSA realize that our people cannot simply regurgitate the same canned script from client to client because when you are listening to understand rather than listening to respond, you get to hear the unique needs of every customer which requires a personalized response. Knowing the needs of the customer, while being honest about how you measure up to those needs, is the key to service excellence. Sometimes that means you must be prepared to hear something you may not like, including criticism. We also know that in today's tech-driven world, we can't just listen to our customers on the phone. We have to listen to them everywhere they are talking. At HSA, we strive to ensure that our customers have multiple means for conveying their needs via the medium they are most comfortable with, whether it be the phone, email or social media. This helps create transparency in a world where too often the client is lost in a continuous telephone loop of automated responses.

    At HSA Home Warranty, we are all about transparency. In fact, this evening I was reviewing emails and came across a complaint from a customer where we did not deliver the proper service. While we strive for best in class service, it is impossible to be perfect. However, we have the courage to step up and admit when haven’t performed up to our standards and do what it takes to make the customer happy. In this case the customer was told we made a mistake and we worked with them to make things right. Even though over the same timeframe, we paid thousands of claims properly and provided wonderful customer service to those clients, we know that when service goes bad, customers don’t want to be told they are within statistical satisfactory service norms. Each customer’s situation is unique and needs to be treated as such.

    Through surveys, focus groups, social media and personal networks, HSA is developing products that better fit the needs of our partners and homeowners. By listening to "understand" our clients, we will always be moving closer to providing the best service possible. Why……..because service matters.

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