Raising the Bar: An Interview with Shawn Kelly, Asurion’s Director of Major Appliance Repair

Raising the Bar: An Interview with Shawn Kelly, Asurion’s Director of Major Appliance Repair
Raising the Bar: An Interview with Shawn Kelly, Asurion’s Director of Major Appliance Repair


Shawn Kelly, Director of Major Appliance Repair at Asurion, has been with the tech repair company for almost 17 years and is now starting his first year in this current position. His 17-year history at Asurion makes him a figurehead for the company’s commitment to developing and promoting talent from within.

“I’ve usually had a tendency to bet on myself and I really don’t like saying no on good opportunities. It opened a lot of doors for me. And that mindset really speeds up the learning curve, speeds career development, and speeds executive thinking, and that has been really helpful, “says Kelly.

Kelly began working in Asurion’s breakdown service business before moving to a variety of liaison and partner performance management roles. When he heard about the possibility of heading the large equipment repair department earlier this year, he found himself back in the call center, which ran large teams.

Raising the Bar: An Interview with Shawn Kelly, Asurion’s Director of Major Appliance Repair

“I was pretty passionate about it. I had some experience from the Asurion retail store as well [the] extended service contract for Home Depot and several other retailers, ”he says. Coupled with Kelly’s continued interest in field operations, these factors made the role extremely attractive to him.

“At the root, we’re building a network of people repairing appliances, refrigerators, stoves, washers, dryers, dishwashers, free range appliances, and microwaves. Our team goes into clients’ homes, finds out what their problems are and fixes them, ”says Kelly, claiming the role goes deeper in ways that this description doesn’t cover.

Kelly wants customers to know they have a trusted repair network.

“Often in the industry, you don’t know who to call first unless you know someone, and that can be quite stressful for customers. And so we have the opportunity to do a great job [and] offer a fantastic customer experience, ”he says. “It is important to us to bring a diverse and different team to the challenge. And ultimately, we connect people with subscription services that give[s] they calm down and save[s] they make money in the long run. “

Kelly says Asurion’s Appliance + Repair plan appeals to three types of people:

  • People who are concerned about the catastrophic failure of equipment and the cost of it.
  • People who don’t know who to call for help.
  • People who know what kind of service they want and know Asurion delivers.


“I think our customer focus is probably the biggest difference. We tend to put ourselves in their shoes and see the experience from their perspective, ”explains Kelly.

He says the strategy is to hire repair workers who have some experience. Then Asurion is confident it can scale and expand its employees and teach new employees the equipment business. That way, customers get the best experience and not get the kind of “I can’t do this for you today, and that’s why” non-repair outcome.

“We really focus on ‘How do we make it easier for the customer? How do we give them [the]Opportunity to be brought forward on schedule? How do we help them on their way, even if the result is not perfect? And how can we be obsessed with making this experience perfect? ​​’”He says. “And the best result for the customer is not ‘Hey; we can order parts in two weeks from today and reschedule you. ‘ It has to be: “How do we solve this? How do we prioritize first thing tomorrow morning? ‘ Because that’s more convenient. I think that’s our goal and that’s a really important differentiator for us. “

To do this, the company does some sort of pre-triage to understand and predict a customer’s problem and possibly order parts in advance.

“When our people go inside, the first thing we expect them to do is: [to] Ask the customer to explain the situation. Because sometimes an experienced person’s notes don’t speak the customer’s language, ”explains Kelly. “Not only do we fix every problem, but we also help this customer understand how the device works better for them.”


Kelly says the department recently added more than 180 new experts per month to the team, but is currently hitting the pause button to resolve some growth issues.

“In the very near future [we] will scale and we will continue to grow, ”he says. “The team will likely have 1,000 people over the course of the year. And then we double that. We are very bullish. So we urgently need to find people to do the work. “

The company intelligently employs a three-tier recruitment system that requires all three types of candidates:

  • Entry-level experience
  • Moderate experience
  • Very experienced

“Within this, we are working on building professional development, as there is a significant difference in wages as you gain experience and certifications. And I think there is real value in getting people on a living wage and then teaching them the business, ”he says. “In the longer term, we think that these managerial positions will have a large number of coaching sessions in order to ultimately teach the very technical aspects. Coaching is very important to us. “

“We have a very structured leadership development program that all of our managers go through independently,” says Kelly. “I’ve been through it. So I take these things for granted, like frequent performance discussions like self-reflection on possibilities. All of these things are kind of natural to me, but I realized that the people who come out of a mom and pop shop and join us don’t feel the same. And so we really need to be thoughtful along the way, ”he adds, noting that all three levels of experience represent the hiring challenges in different areas in which Asurion operates.


As for corporate culture, Kelly admits that it’s not for everyone.

“People who think very traditionally, who like very rigid processes and long lead times, see comfort in black and white,” he says. “It is very difficult for them to adapt to us because we move quickly. Lately I’ve taken over the word “scrap”. We are confident that we can move very quickly because we have[a] very good listening culture. We’re good at listening to our team members, getting feedback, testing, failing quickly, and adjusting the course very quickly. There is an entrepreneur [spirit], although we are a big company. “

Kelly says that successful Asurion employees are goal-oriented and love challenges. The company has a pay-for-performance philosophy when it comes to competitive wages. Kelly says monthly sales incentives are also a differentiator.

“We also seem to attract people who just want to raise the bar,” says Kelly. “And people with a competitive character tend to be successful as long as they get it right.”

And of course, people with a career orientation and an attitude towards personal development will thrive from Asurion’s coaching and feedback.

It’s really a conscious development over the year, and we spend a lot of time with our frontline leaders because they are such an influence. And these coaches have more coaching sessions than almost anyone else in our business because they have pretty big teams. We invest a lot in this. We spend a lot of time in groups, ”he says. “We are really proud of that.”


“Right now, we’re focused on stabilizing the customer experience and getting to a point where we’re faster than anyone else in the business, our supply chain and our integration.” [are] seamless. We are very focused on bringing our service to world class levels very quickly to enable our growth, ”says Kelly.

“Our employees, who are the most engaged and enjoy their work the most, are people-centric and have the ability to solve problems. … They are more driven by the idea that they adopted [an]Device that didn’t work for this person and made their life easier because they can now do 16 loads of laundry that they set up or now have a refrigerator, ”says Kelly. “I think… the people who are really successful and who we want to model [in our hiring] are the ones who really enjoy meeting new people, really enjoy being in people’s homes, and are really satisfied when they connect with them and make their lives a little bit easier. “