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Accelerator Project Spotlight: Asurion

Jul 22, 2019
Teams pitched strategies for discouraging fraudulent cell phone replacements

By Jong Eun Jung

Vanderbilt’s Accelerator®—Summer Business Immersion is a four-week certificate program for college students and recent graduates that combines classroom learning with real consulting projects. For one of their projects, students created rebranding strategies for global tech care company Asurion.

The client: Asurion is a company based in Nashville, TN that provides protection and tech help services for smartphones, tablets, consumer electronics, etc. In business for over 20 years, Asurion serves 300 million customers worldwide. It has a 4.8 star rating from millions of Asurion customers for its services and customer support.

The project: Teams were tasked with designing strategies to discourage fraud while ensuring elite customer service. Teams were supposed to consider who commits fraud, brainstorm solutions that could potentially decrease the number of frauds, and identify risk factors associated with the fraud.

Accelerator 2019 Asurion Office Visit

Accelerator 2019 Asurion Office Visit

The presentations: Some teams started out their presentations with a humorous scenario, an attention-grabbing video, or a thoughtful question thrown out to the audience, but all groups aimed to tell a story around the situation of moral fraud and their suggestions. Teams showcased their research skills by providing an assessment of the situation of moral fraud at hand, supporting their claims with data from surveys and conclusions from studies.

Many teams touched upon key psychological theories such as the Hawthorne effect (a.k.a. the observer effect) and explained how those theories led them to form solutions, which had two underlying themes: humanizing the process of filing a claim and educating customers on how fraud is a crime. Some teams recommended employee profiles and live chats to make the process more welcoming and personal.

Taking a more educational approach, other teams suggested implementing a short video that enlightened the claim filer of the legal consequences of moral fraud. Many groups mentioned potential risks affiliated with their recommendations, such as customer frustration and increased vulnerability. Some teams went the extra mile and designed schedules for implementing their recommendations and suggested paths for future research.

The feedback: Professor Kelly Goldsmith, the faculty advisor for this Asurion project, was impressed with the students’ abilities to assess the situation, explain psychological terms, and develop useful solutions. “You all did a really excellent job throughout the week and in terms of final delivery. It was nice to see that not only did you guys develop interventions, and oftentimes if there were risks associated, I think the teams that did a good job of calling out the potential for risks were really able to give a convincing presentation,” she said.

Judges from Asurion also praised the teams for their work. “I would love to figure out a way for my team to work with you guys, because I thought you were creative (and) innovative. You presented really well. And I’m just truly, truly impressed with the caliber within this room. So thank you… I am so inspired by all of your ideas,” said Emily O’Grady, Vice President of Product Management and Development with Asurion.

Want to learn more about Accelerator®—Summer Business Immersion? Visit the program page or request more information.

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