Update (2):

My 1520 failed to power-up, would not respond to hard reset and is not detected by WPRT. Microsoft replaced the unit with a new one.

Update (1):

I contacted Microsoft because an old issue with my L1520 phone re-appeared. I requested that the unit repair will be expedited since I use this both for public service, like the video taken by Lumia 1520 below:

and for my hobby in mobile photography (sample shot below)

Microsoft Brand. Lumia

Long exposure shot using my Lumia 1520

 

(you can view more pics at ASKSonnie’s Instagram, shots on my lumia photo blog or Facebook page).

Microsoft, instead of repairing, decided to replace my 1520 with a new unit.

One delighted customer here!


 

We are living in an age where brands find ways to stand out.

There are brands who practice social responsibility, and one of the companies who does it well is Smart Communications.  Smart gave pocket LTE Wi-Fi’s to a handful of digital advocates on 2012 in support for their online advocacy. To this date, these advocates are still enjoying free LTE.  This brand did not require the recipients to promote or mention the company, but good sense dictate to give credit where credit is due.

On the service level, while admittedly there are asshole brands, especially in industries where there is no or little competition.  But there are brands that are proactive and ensures their point of contact with customers will result to managed expectations. For instance, Lenovo, during the warranty period, consistently repaired my android phone in less than 2 hours. Likewise, Cherry Mobile surprised me when they replaced a camera defective Equinox, without hassle.

There are also exceptional brands who go the extra mile and live-up to their corporate values, regardless of the cost. A case in point is Krispy Kreme,  the brand stood by its “customers first” motto, and replaced my MacBook Pro.

But “brands in transition”, who are in the middle of redefining its identity and values, can affect customers in the process.

A case in point is Lumia, brainchild of Nokia, but now a property of Microsoft.

A Brand In Transition Is Not A Brand In Crisis

The evolution of my windows phone

 

 

 

 

 

Before I share my unfortunate experience, let me point out that 65%  of the cell phones I owned is a Nokia made phone. And my first experience with a smartphone is the Windows Mobile operated Amazing Phone. I left windows mobile when there was no successor to Amazing Phone 2 in the Philippines.

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When Windows  returned to the smartphone scene, I picked-up HTC Mozart but I skipped the first generation of Lumias because its not upgradable to Windows 8.

When Lumia 920 arrived, I got back to Windows, presently, I’m sporting a Lumia 1520 and looking forward to the successor of either lumia 1020 and 1520. Don’t ask me why I love this brand, we have our own preference and the OS and device suit my needs, and the pureview camera is awesome.

BTW, I’m a multi-brand user. I also own an iPhone, iPad and an Android Phone but Lumia is my main phone. We have a PC but I like MacBook and she is presently my workhorse.

Now let me share my lousy experience  with after sales and the authorised service center.

The display of my 1520 is acting-up- when using the camera, it zooms in and out like crazy; Cortana and other apps will open on its own. Since the unit is under warranty, I called their care hotline to get help.

The contact specialist is friendly, no doubt,  and directed me to go to their care center located at Ali Mall. I was informed that the unit will be diagnosed within the day, and if no parts will be replaced, it’ll be fixed right there and then.

Assured of the attention, I came the following day, a Saturday. But horrified to know that theirs is just a “drop-off” point for Nokia/Lumia phones. Worse, it’ll take 2 weeks to get the phone diagnosed.  I tried to call the contact center but it was closed on weekends. So I bent my frustration on their official official twitter account.

Monday came, and I got a call from Microsoft,  and I made my expectations clear as I narrated my experience and my expectations as an owner of a flagship device. The Microsoft girl apologised and explained that the confusion is brought about by the transition.

She asked so I made these two requests: (1) Expedite the diagnosis and (2) Provide a service unit.

I also sent an email to a person of interest,  I received both a call and an email reply, assuring that he’ll escalate the issue to the concerned group.

After 5 days since I’m not getting any feedback,  I followed them up via twitter. I was advised then that request to expedite is granted, but they don’t have a service unit. I was advised to proceed to their Makati center, and look for a point person. I was made to believe that a technician is available and diagnosis will be known immediately. So I did go to Makati in a jippy.

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Supposedly, lightning don’t strike twice, but I’ve got a similar response from their Makati center, still no technician and worse,the point person that I’m suppose to look for has been reassigned to another area. I was assured though, that they will prioritise my unit.

Upset, I tried to call the girl from MS but the number registered in my unit is just ringing. The person in charge of repairs is also unwilling to talk to me at first, and this almost blew my fuse. I demanded three things from them (1) Since it’s weekend, I will return on Tuesday and will expect my phone to be diagnosed first thing on the morning. (2)  I will wait for the diagnosis w/in the day, and  (3) If any part(s) will need replacement, I will pull out my phone and just come back when the part(s) is/are already available.

Tuesday came, I was at Makati repair center around 8:30 AM, but I was advised to wait because the tech guy will not be around until  9 AM.  I waited for feedback until past 1 PM, and was advised to return the following day with a replaced display assembly.

Wednesday came, after waiting again for about an hour, I received my repaired unit, at no cost at all, on my part.

What I thought to be the problem:

  1. Likely a case of  communication problem, because one group says one thing, but the other says otherwise.
    • between and within Microsoft departments
    • between the principal and her subcontractor (in case the care centers and contact centers were outsourced)
  2. Likely a case of compliance problem
    • if what the Contact Specialists and CSRs from Microsoft has told me is the standard, then the Care and Service Centers are not complying.
  3. Likely a case of expectations management problem
    • They set the expectation, but it was not met
    • I also believe the cost of a flagship device should be commensurate to the respect  from its own manufacturers during the warranty period.
    • Microsoft is Microsoft (I have high expectations from the brand)
  4. Likely a branding problem
    • Both the Ali Mall and Makati Service Centers don’t carry the logo of either Nokia or Microsoft.
    • When I talked to their contact specialist, they refer to the service centers as care centers. I’m used to the old Nokia Care Centers, so I was kinda looking for that. When they are vetting my experience, I got confused myself, I thought there is a different care center and I went to a wrong service center.
  5. Likely a listening/engaging problem
    • It seems that the brand is not privy to the discussions within the windows phone community about the issues users and owners are facing with repair and service centers. Other users are complaining that turn over of the units takes 2 months, at an average.
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Unsolicited suggestions to Microsoft:

  1. Marginalised it may be, there are loyal windows phone users in PH, who join various photo groups and competition to showcase their art and passion for photography. And these users promote the brand. It will be nice to recognise,  listen and engage this community because not all owners follow the official social media accounts.
  2. The service centers should be made to follow basic branding standards, i.e. logo placements, uniform, communication skills, turn around time, stocks management of parts, etc.
  3. Proactive intervention from HR and Training, Marketing and Communications, Process Audit and Quality Control, to vet and address the observations above if found valid.

Suggestion to fellow consumers:

  1. Get out of your way to communicate with brand representatives and convey your experience and expectations. With the ASEAN integration, we can help the country become competitive if we will refuse to accept crappy services.
  2. A little assertiveness can make things happen.
  3. Owning a phablet, though cool,  has disadvantages too, like the bendgate issue of iPhone 6+.

In fairness to Microsoft, they attended to my concern until the flagship unit was repaired in 2 days time, and I am thankful that I did not experience what others went thru. I’m happy with my Lumia and as mentioned in this article, I’m looking forward to the next flagship device.

A brand in transition need not be a brand in crisis.

How is your experience with the existing authorised repair centers for Lumia?  Share your thoughts on the comments section!

 

 

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