Portable [Dis]Service centers drive customers to despair

Portable [Dis] Service centers drive customers to despair

Portable [Dis]Service centers drive customers to despair

Smartphones are big business in India, and manufacturers are doing all sorts of things to grab the attention of potential buyers. From giant billboards on major thoroughfares to sending out dozens of units to reviewers across the country, smartphone makers spend millions of rupees every year to get your attention on their phones. Unfortunately, once you’ve bought the phone and paid the price, the flash and pizzazz of the company seems to fade away.

It’s for this reason that the big brands were able to charge a premium earlier – their phones were more expensive, but at least you could count on the customer service to distinguish them from upcoming brands selling the same hardware for half the price. But that’s not really the case anymore.

This was evidenced during a recent trip to the service center of one of the biggest brands in the market – which turned out to be an exercise in frustration. Although he was willing to pay the repair costs, even though the phone was still under warranty, it was nearly impossible to get things done. Visiting any customer complaint forum shows just how widespread problematic service is, and it’s something we see in our feedback section as well.

Apathy or classism?
People who showed up at the service center carrying the brand’s flagship device were allowed to skip the queue and service was guaranteed within a fixed time frame. The same couldn’t be said for the rest of the customers that were there.

The most affordable phones make up the bulk of India’s smartphone market – flagships may get a lot of buzz, but their sales are another matter altogether. By giving preferential treatment to flagship buyers, brands are telling a significant portion of their users – you don’t matter to us.

Part of this is also linked to mainstream classism. Service centers attract all kinds of people trying to fix all kinds of phones, and it’s a bit disheartening to see people being treated differently depending on how they talk or what phone they brought.

Walk in with a high-end phone and fluent in English, and you’ll get better treatment. Some of the less privileged people were treated differently. While never rude, the service center employees certainly seemed a little disinterested or dismissive of these customers.

All of this sends the message that the most affordable phones (and their presumably less privileged owners) aren’t important to the brand.

Spare parts and deadlines
If getting service is part of the problem, the lack of spare parts leads to the next problem – not being able to get information on when (or if) your problem will be fixed. After being informed that the problem will be solved after 15 days because the service center is waiting for the delivery of a part, a whole month has passed without any progress.

Researching customer complaints online leads to hundreds of irate customers with the same problem – phones are being released at an alarming rate, but service centers and spare parts don’t seem to keep pace. Service centers do not receive spare parts for many of their phones on time and as a result, your phone is stuck waiting for repairs for weeks or even months.

But what really stings is that a third-party repair center will fix the problem for you while you wait in the store. I requested my phone back to me and had it repaired at a slightly higher cost within an hour. The parts obviously exist; but the brands themselves don’t seem to have any.

This is the common story of getting your gadgets repaired in India, and it is a serious issue that needs to be addressed quickly. Despite slowing global growth, India maintains its trend of steady growth in smartphone shipments.

As brands struggle to keep up with demand, they risk alienating customers with poor service. Failing to offer proper after-sales service can profoundly affect buyers in a valuable market like India, and this approach will only hurt any brand.

Find a service center
Many brands come to sell here, but do not have an adequate service network. You might find service centers in Delhi and Mumbai, but the online-only strategy means many brands are selling in Tier 3 and 4 cities long before their service networks are there. And those that do often provide poor service.

Looking through the list of service centers for major brands, you can quickly see many brands using third-party service centers to handle service issues in small towns. These centers are often outsourced to multiple brands and also run their own business while working as a service center for your brand. They are paid per issue handled by the brand, or rely on out-of-warranty services such as damage repairs to generate revenue, and are often not concerned with the customer experience. Even exclusive service centers are usually not company operated, but run by a franchisee who pays a fee for the right to operate the “official” service center in a particular region, as we discovered with our own recent experience.

Fixing my phone from a third-party store meant voiding a warranty within six months, but I didn’t mind that – with customer service at the pathetic level it is now, having that warranty didn’t mean much . This brand lost my patronage forever, and that’s something all brands need to wake up to right now.


The Indian market is far from being saturated at the moment, so there are new customers to be found; but that doesn’t mean people don’t replace their phones regularly. Every bad experience at a service center means one more person who won’t be a regular customer. What is the point of buying from official channels with a warranty if it cannot be properly honoured?

It is worth mentioning in all this Apple, which is said to provide the best after-sales service among all smartphone manufacturers. Apple iPhone buyers are generally serviced promptly, given daily service request status updates, and no money is charged if your phone is under power. guarantee. In cases where manufacturing defects are found, your phone is often replaced with a brand new one. However, it should be noted that Apple’s phones are all premium products and each customer is essentially a flagship customer. Also, once your phone is out of warranty, or if the phone needs repairs for something not covered by warranty, be prepared to pay extortionate prices for repairs or replacements.

Apple is the only brand that seems to have their service network properly geared up and in line with their global policies and implementations, and you’re at least assured of proper service while your phone is under warranty or you’re willing to pay for the repairs. , and other manufacturers could learn a thing or two from the American company.

What can brands do?
The first and most urgent thing brands need to do is vigorously train service representatives. These people are the faces of your brand when it comes to customers, and they should have the same level of courtesy and integrity that your brand claims to represent.

On the other hand, you need to reduce lead times by ensuring constant availability of spare parts. Telling someone to wait a month for their phone to be fixed would be absolutely unforgivable in any other country, and this lack of customer support attention will eventually be your downfall.

And most importantly, build a strong service network that properly caters to all parts of the country. Maybe then I, and thousands of other disappointed customers, will consider buying your phones again.


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