Too often warranty administrators are given incomplete, ambiguous and sometimes misleading information on warranty repair orders. Again all too often, this same warranty administrator will fill in the blanks or interpret the less-than-satisfactory documentation and file the claim anyway. This practice has caused more than one dealership a lot of problems in audit situations.
Over the years I have trained hundreds of warranty administrators. In the process I often run up against service managers with unrealistic expectations regarding the role of the warranty administrator. Many seem to believe that the warranty administrator's primary function is to take whatever information the shop supplies regarding the warranty work performed in the shop - regardless of how insufficient it may be - and turn it into a claim that will get paid. All the emphasis is on getting paid. That is an important function of a warranty administrator, but certainly not the only function.
Let's look at an example-
Recently while working with a client, the service manager voiced concern about his new warranty
administrator. He complained that his newly hired warranty administrator was consistently popping up out of her chair to track down technicians looking for more details to support the claim. The service manager complained that the repairs looked fairly straightforward to him and that all this running around was causing problems with the technicians and making her less productive.
I observed the new administrator in action and a case in point quickly presented itself. The first claim we looked at had a customer complaint written as, "Customer states seat cover is worn and flaking;" and the correction, "replace cover." And that was it.
There was no indication if it was the left or right, front or rear, the seat cushion or seat back. There was no indication of why this should be considered a warranty covered repair.
If you have basic knowledge of GM's warranty claim systems, it is not difficult to come up with a customer complaint code, failure code, labor operation number and appropriate time allowance that would work and bring about payment from GM. The fact is we could guess, or read between the lines, or assume some facts not recorded on the repair order and push the claim through the payment system. But would this be a fully justified claim in GM's eyes?
Actually - no, it wouldn't. This is a classic case of insufficient tech comments to support the claim.
If you couldn't take the claim, ship it to Siberia to be correctly coded and entered into GM's system, then it probably does not have enough documentation to withstand an audit. But if a warranty administrator is just guessing as to what occurred, no matter how reasonable and intelligent the guess is, then you are running huge risk in an audit or if supporting documentation is requested.
In this particular case, the previous warranty administrator was very good at filling in the blanks and pushing the claims through the system to payment. But in doing so, this individual was also exposing the dealership to needless audit liability. In this case I would argue that the new warranty administrator was doing the better job simply because she was doing the whole job.
With management support, her visits with the technicians can lead to more properly documented claims. If they did their jobs properly, maybe she would not have to wander out into the shop so often.