monitoring customer service 24/7
Customer-centricity has been core to the company’s culture, says Sudhir Goel, Acer India.
Ever since its inception in 1976, Acer has been focussing on enhancing people’s lives—through its various product offerings that include PCs, servers, tablets, smartphones, wearables, and so on. This Taiwanese company opened its India subsidiary in 1999, and has created a strong foothold in the market by launching innovative services and products. What has been a major growth driver in the country has been their expansive presence and the robust customer care network they have built.
From our early days when we partnered with Wipro, customer service has always been a strong focus for us. We firmly believe that brand experience does not stop at the retail store; in fact, the customer experiences the brand even after a purchase through various touchpoints; support is a key area wherein we strive to ensure they get the best experience. Overtime, we have built an expansive infrastructure to be closer to our customers—we are present in most of the districts across India. This has helped us cater to customers in each and every corner of the country, and reassure them that service support is close by. To this effect, we have put in place various tools to track and monitor services and customer feedback in a timely manner. In fact, a significant portion of our resources is spent on building service support.
Changing customer needs are the most important driver of innovation.
customer service philosophy
Acer aspires to achieve a high level of customer satisfaction through cost-effective services; we continually strive to improve service efficiencies and the effectiveness of the Service Management System.
It is extremely important for any brand to understand the significance of complaints and solve them on a high-priority basis. We focus primarily on after-sales service, and have introduced various initiatives to provide better services. Recently, we launched an app which offers quicker and efficient service.It enables customers to register and track their products, raise service requests, track repairs, view repair history, and so on.
Besides this, we also provide customized service support to our enterprise clients wherein they can avail themselves of support at a time convenient to them and their business model. This practice has helped us serve our ITES clients who work on different time zones.
role of innovation
Innovation is one of Acer’s core competencies. We are committed to research, development, and innovation, as well as gaining a deep understanding of what both the customers and the markets demand. Changing customer needs are the most important driver of innovation—this belief has helped us work towards fulfiling the growing technology demands.
We offer 24/7 support through an online technical portal, diagnostic call centres, standby units in case of delay, on-site pan-India support, and priority channel queue for key customers at the call centres for quick access and resolution. There are also four service centres owned and operated by the company.
Apart from this, we have launched a key account management program, as part of which monthly meetings with corporate and other major customers are held to review the services and SLAs; special focus is laid on key customer segments under the Elite Customer Support initiative. Service camps are held on key customer premises and service centres for those who are an integral part of AIL Support. Further, at our Technical Assistance Centre (TAC) in Bengaluru, Authorized Service Partner (ASP) engineers offer assistance directly while on a customer call. For easy access to our services, we have introduced the Acer Care Centre (ACC) app on Google Play, which helps customers register a product, log a case, and locate service centres.
ensuring brand loyalty
At present, Acer has a seven million registered customer base. We are constantly trying to understand the solutions our customers seek, to help them pursue a significant leap in value to dominate the market. Constant improvement is key to keeping customers loyal to your brand.
Rather than just going by the numbers, it is important to understand what your customers want next. Conducting regular customer satisfaction surveys will help obtain feedback and make improvements to products/services. The feedback gathered has proven to be a valuable source of continuous improvement to Acer’s operating procedures.
For instance, we implemented many social media campaigns wherein we got a good response from across the country. In fact, customer suggestions helped us understand the gaps and recognize their expectations.
There are many challenges we have been facing while building an effective customer service experience. Getting qualified engineers as well as procuring machine parts has been a challenge, especially in Tier III and Tier IV cities. It is imperative for IT companies to appoint those with appropriate technical skills at the right time, at the right place, and provide them with the right machine parts. We have around 2000+ field and service center engineers who are well-trained to handle Acer products. This helps us ensure best after-sales service.
As we provide service delivery through the franchisee model, it is a challenge to manage multiple service partner organizations. There are around 200+ service partner centers with 450+ spares drop location IDs, with whom we coordinate to provide services in various cities. Our well-trained ASPs are using the CRM tool which is becoming the backbone of service delivery operations.
We are trying to understand the change in landscape, both in terms of technology and buying behavior.
We position ourselves as a brand which empowers individuals with the power of progressive design. Connecting with customers via social media channels is just a part of the strategy; the key goal is to use this platform to engage with them through different initiatives and gather their suggestions and feedback about our products/ services. We are trying to understand the change in landscape, both in terms of technology and buying behavior. Many of our new products speak for themselves, using social media as a platform.
For major companies, social media offers a way to engage positively with customers and prospective customers. But at the same time, it is also a tool for unhappy customers to express themselves openly. So a brand should be prepared to deal with such a situation, on a regular basis. I think the positive aspect of social media is that we can directly speak to customers and understand their problems. Our centralized customer grievance redressal cell directly reports all complaints and helps us address the issue. This makes it possible for us to satisfy unhappy customers and make them long-term advocates of our brand—so their amplified social voice will work in our favor.
We are looking strongly at a host of IoT products which are practical and useful for our individual customers and households, which will range from healthcare for senior citizens to learning computer coding at a young age. We are also in a strong position to leverage the VR and AR space with our acquisitions. Working in line with our growth strategy, we also plan to expand our retail and service center presence, reaching even small and rural towns. The core idea behind launching these centres is to provide consumers with an immersive experience of Acer’s vast range of products/services under one roof. It is also aimed at offering many first-time buyers of a PC an easy ownership experience, which will help provide computer literacy and help India become truly digital. ■