Gadgets come and go, but brand lasts forever. Creating a great product spec is the first step of acquiring customers, but more importantly is how you support and retain these customers.
I myself also makes purchase decision with high weightage on product support. Products don’t last, or there may be manufacturing defects, which is why there is warranty to put customers at ease. No customer wants to send their products to service centre, which is why the after-sales program should be friendly to consumers, and the service centre staff should show empathy and attempt to ease the frustration of a faulty product.
The Jabra Experience
Recently, a friend read my review on the Jabra ROX Wireless and went ahead to buy it. Within 3 months, one of the earbuds went dead. His initial message to me was one of a disappointment: only 3 months and it broke? I then asked him to go to the service centre for resolution. He was expecting them to take it in for repair, but hours later, he messaged me again and complimented their service. Not only did they replace the unit with a brand new set opened in front of him, the staff even gave him a pair of earwings which he lost. The earwings would have cost S$5 but the staff did a goodwill gesture which I thought was spectacular. The thing about the Rox earwings is that they fall off easily while using and once they do, you can’t replace them easily. I myself lost one too and had to use another earwing size as a workaround (Rox comes with 3 pairs of earwings in S/M/L sizes).
With this positive experience, I am very sure that my friend will be looking at Jabra for his next product purchase before anything else.
The HTC Experience
Another highly positive post-purchase experience I had was with HTC. Do you know that HTC actually has complimentary pick-up and deliver service for repair? I totally overlooked that for months. Like many HTC One M7 and Butterfly S owners, the camera hardware has the purple tint issue, but I was too lazy to travel to the service centre, and channeled my displeasure on social media. Then I found out the pick-up and deliver service, so I called their service centre to make the arrangement. They picked up, repaired, and returned my phone within 7 working days, without paying a cent!!! Now this is product service!!! And with this, I am quite certain that I will be buying HTC products when it comes to deciding on my next smartphone. Other brands may have great specs, but a broken product is of no use if I cannot get to the service centre easily to get it fixed.
The Sony Experience
Imagine if the service centre was at some unreachable location with unfriendly opening hours, I would think twice. Some products like smartphones are so personal that it is really inconvenient when it breaks down. I tend not to fault the manufacturer if I happened to have a faulty device, but I do expect the service centre to resolve the problem. And really, if a device has multiple uncommon faults requiring multiple servicing, then this device should be replaced instead of repaired.
Even if the service centre is located at some prime location, the long waiting time at service centres would put me off. At Sony Care at 313 Somerset, I was rather surprised that there was no queue on a Sunday. Some of my social media friends suggested that perhaps Sony is not selling much. Well, I prefer to see from another perspective: product quality. Sony sells everything from headphones to mobile devices to TVs to audio-visual systems to cameras to radio clocks. They have no less than 8 authorised Sony stores all over Singapore. Go figure.
(in case you are wondering, I was at Sony Care to purchase my MDR-Z1000 headphone cushions, not due to product defect)
Overseas Electronic Purchases
When it comes to high-priced electronic products, I never purchase from overseas online stores, no matter how cheap it is (unless the price out-ranks the risk). One of my friend bought a Bluetooth headset from Amazon, and broke down months later. Although covered by warranty, he had to ship back the item to Amazon at his expense and had to wait for months before getting it back.
So in summary: to win customer loyalty and achieve healthy market share, you must first have rock-solid product quality, an after-sales program that encourages customer action, and positive interaction experience to minimise the unpleasantness caused by the products you sell.
Do you have any interesting after-sales product experience you would like to share and how it influences your perception about the brand? Comment below or post on my Facebook Page.