Scene 1: Glamorous couple of television going overboard in praise of the electronics brand setting an expectation of ultimate luxury and modern appliance. The excited couple evaluate all options and finally the gadget comes home with lot of enthusiasm and joy. One fine day, after providing great experience to the user, it succumbs to pollution, technical fault, negligence or just plain wear and tear, demanding after-sales service.
Scene 2: The purchaser seeks professional help, the technician arrives promptly (or not so promptly,) inspects and gives out the prognosis, the much-feared ‘The faulty part will have to be replaced.’
‘How long will it take?’
‘We do not know Sir; it may take 5 days if the part is available locally. Our service center will contact and visit you as soon as the same is received by us.’
Thus ensues the zero-visibility phase for the purchaser, the purchase excitement is low, and the experience is not so great any more…
Contrast this with a new world that brands must salvage for their customer (below):
Scene 3: The purchaser seeks professional help, the technician arrives promptly (or not so promptly,) inspects and gives out the prognosis, the much-feared ‘The faulty part will have to be replaced.’ ‘How long will it take?’
‘Sir, I am logging a request for this faulty part right away. You can track the movement of the spare part through the customer request number which you have already received.’
The excited couple gets even more excited to have this real-time visibility of the spare part movement and cannot help but rave about it to their friends and share their excitement on social media saying, “Within hours I was able to view the movement of the faulty spare part and before the end of the week the machine was back in service and so was my mood…”
Expectations of Indian customers have seen a sharp rise with the world class best practices and on-demand everything, be it salon at home, cab at the door or food at the table. Why then should a customer be made to wait for a spare part to fix his washing machine, with zero visibility on when the same would arrive and his gadget be restored to function?
In an era where customer gets visibility of even two hundred rupees worth of service, why should not he demand and deserve better for 100 times that investment in a home appliance? May seem like simple communication enhancement but it requires an integrated supply chain and modern tools and techniques to enable this level of visibility for the customers.
Surely something the brands can aspire for, when conceptualizing after-sales services for home appliances!
FTF (first time fix) may sound like marketing jargon, think again! How many electronics brands today can commit to this objective? Easier said than implemented, because at its core it requires a transformation in the way it has been approached so far; transformation of processes, tools and personnel.
How can such a three-fold transformation work?
Tools. Brands must leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive modelling techniques to identify and assist the service personnel’s effort in root cause analysis. Experience of service personnel combined with knowledge of lakhs of similar jobs provided by AI tools can be a game changer.
People. Service personnel’s attitude and approach to solution surpasses finally dictates the success rate of any modelling tools one can deploy. Adequate well designed training tailored for that engineer based on AI based field inputs.
Processes. Processes are the glue that bring and keep the personnel and tools together and can help brands achieve the desired outcome with a high degree of surety. Brands must therefore invest in service players that deploy AI based well-defined functional service delivery processes and feedback mechanisms.