Discussion: Enough of product reviews, we need service reviews in the Digit magazine!

baccilus

Cyborg Agent
Recently I was in the market for a graphic card and I realized that the biggest factor for me while choosing one would be how is the after sales service of the brand that I am going to buy. I also realized that there are literally no places where I can know about the service of specific brands. Digit (or members here) should come up with some objective ways to judge the service of a brand. This should obviously be area specific. Many times we buy things being impressed by the long warranty time but when the time comes to actually claim that warranty we realize that claiming warranty is so inconvenient and time consuming that warranty was put in for advertisement purpose only. Digit can start by preparing a good questionnaire that it can request the members to help fill up by visiting some of the service centers in their city and questioning the people there who have come for service. Let me state some points that according to me effect the service of a brand:

  • Is the service center located where the website says it is? Does anyone receive your call at the given number or is it useless to call on the mentioned phone number? For most brands which outsource there service, locating the service center itself is an ordeal. The current location is seldom updated on the website and with the helpline number.
  • Is it a service center or just a collection center? In short, how soon are things with hardware faults repaired and returned?

  • Are you offered a replacement when the repair takes too long? Is the warranty extended? I once had an HTC phone which was kept in the service center for 2 weeks and a xolo phone which was returned after 21 days.
  • How long do you have to wait at the service center?
  • Does the service center keep its time commitment?

I believe that merely having a service center in your city is meaningless with the kind of service many companies provide. Many have outsourced their service without ever caring about what the consumers have to face. Reviewing the service quality of brands is a big task but I think if Digit can somehow do this by taking help from its members from various cities in India, it will have a huge impact on consumer choice and may be on the service quality.
 

maheshn

Journeyman
I agree 100% with your sentiments in the original post....

we had an announcement "MSI expands to 11 locations in 10 Cities" "More Service Centers" etc.... and nowhere in most of the news sites is it mentioned these are for their 'Gaming Laptops' only. Where are the service centers for components ?

Even most big-name brands don't have these outside the metros or big cities.

Also 3rd party service providers range from good to bad to horrible.

After sales service in India generally sucks big time. About time it improved!!!
 
OP
baccilus

baccilus

Cyborg Agent
I sincerely believe that the service quality will only improve when big magazines like digit start reviewing them. Presently, since this information is unavailable or misleading (like number of service centers or on-site warranty which is another term for no service center) consumers are unable to make an informed choice.
I would like to hear from Digit about this. When one thinks about it, reviewing products is actually pretty meaningless without having some clarity on the quality of service.
 
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anirbandd

Conversation Architect
this seems like the thing we need the most, but never had. while abundant products reviews can be found online, service reviews are rare and are only found in the forums, buried under dozens of comments.

i agree with OP, if the bigwigs in tech media start covering these aspects as well, then the companies will start feeling the heat as well. as a result, after sales service will get a major push.
hopefully.

tagging [MENTION=1]Raaabo[/MENTION] for any possible action and feedback.

- - - Updated - - -

also tagging [MENTION=276778]tamatarpakoda[/MENTION] since Raaabo is inactive sicne the past few days.
 
OP
baccilus

baccilus

Cyborg Agent
Exactly. There are plenty of people doing hardware reviews, but for us in India it is meaningless without knowing what kind of service we will get. We are presently dependent on word of mouth information about this. And Digit magazine is in a position where it can make a difference regarding this.
 

anirbandd

Conversation Architect
[MENTION=77264]Vyom[/MENTION] [MENTION=126812]whitestar_999[/MENTION] [MENTION=15026]topgear[/MENTION] [MENTION=20614]Faun[/MENTION] [MENTION=1270]Skud[/MENTION]

can you please help this get escalated??
 

Vyom

The Power of x480
Staff member
Admin
[MENTION=77264]Vyom[/MENTION] [MENTION=126812]whitestar_999[/MENTION] [MENTION=15026]topgear[/MENTION] [MENTION=20614]Faun[/MENTION] [MENTION=1270]Skud[/MENTION]

can you please help this get escalated??
Forum mods are not involved in digit magazine in any way.
 
OP
baccilus

baccilus

Cyborg Agent
This issue needs to be highlighted in people's consciousness. Arnab Goswami is not needed, just some space in the digit magazine. Can someone tag the concerned person from Digit magazine. If Digit doesn't cover this, who else will?
 
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Faun

Wahahaha~!
Staff member
[MENTION=77264]Vyom[/MENTION] [MENTION=126812]whitestar_999[/MENTION] [MENTION=15026]topgear[/MENTION] [MENTION=20614]Faun[/MENTION] [MENTION=1270]Skud[/MENTION]

can you please help this get escalated??

We have a subforum for it.

Probably someone can create a reliability chart based on brand, location, and product.
 

The Sorcerer

oh wow...Xenforo!!!
There was a magazine issue which did highlight about inconsistencies in services. But I've also seen situations where some people try to take advantage too. The best way to gauge this is by having polls in certain intervals.

As for feedback, some companies accept. Some companies defend it. Some companies don't care. Some companies can't do anything as its more of an issue with the service center/ distributor. I can mention all those brands but the problem is not the brand itself is the problem but the folks behind it. Nobody would do anything about it unless it affect sales significantly. Default argument is "if service is so bad, why would people our products?". They can be anyone- product manager, sales manager, country head, etc. There was even a case once where a manager lashed out at some guy at facebook. All because they haven't fixed it after two trips to the service center.


If anybody has feedback for thermaltake and supermicro, do let me know since I would be meeting them in a couple of weeks.
 
OP
baccilus

baccilus

Cyborg Agent
Default argument is "if service is so bad, why would people our products?"
Because people get to experience the service after they have bought the product and are facing issues. Word of mouth is often inconsistent since people tend to justify their purchases.
I believe that the service aspect should be considered as important as the product specifications. But till magazines like Digit start giving space to this aspect of purchasing a product, service quality won't improve in India. For most people, service is of no concern till they actually face a problem and can't even locate the service center mentioned on the product's website. India has two unique problems because of which the service quality ceases to improve:

1. Everyone's service is bad (except 1-2 brands). This means there is no competition .
2. In other Countries, companies are at least a little afraid of litigations and court cases if they provide deficient service. This is not the case because majority of people will never file a case.

Unless magazines which do product reviews start reviewing the "Actual" service quality along with the product, these companies will have no incentive to improve their service.
 

topgear

Super Moderator
Staff member
Magazines can't always do that.

1. Lack of case(s).
2. All the people who go to service center don't share their RMA experience.
3. Manufacturers fear of defamation which in turn will stop the manufacturer to send review units.
4. It's hard to justify the quality of after sales service or making a review on it for a magazine as you can't always replicate a RMA case on your own.
5. People don't file a case because of too much processing time / don't get enough compensation always / complication in filing a case correctly.

And [MENTION=45938]The Sorcerer[/MENTION] post quote :

As for feedback, some companies accept. Some companies defend it. Some companies don't care. Some companies can't do anything as its more of an issue with the service center/ distributor. I can mention all those brands but the problem is not the brand itself is the problem but the folks behind it. Nobody would do anything about it unless it affect sales significantly. Default argument is "if service is so bad, why would people our products?". They can be anyone- product manager, sales manager, country head, etc. There was even a case once where a manager lashed out at some guy at facebook. All because they haven't fixed it after two trips to the service center.

If anybody has feedback for thermaltake and supermicro, do let me know since I would be meeting them in a couple of weeks.

What a magazine can do is ( Digit used to do it ) spend two pages with RMA / Ticket no. of genuine RMA woes people face and send to them as feedback. Or a system like newegg in here where reps. from company responds in case of a RMA woes.
 
OP
baccilus

baccilus

Cyborg Agent
What a magazine can do is ( Digit used to do it ) spend two pages with RMA / Ticket no. of genuine RMA woes people face and send to them as feedback. Or a system like newegg in here where reps. from company responds in case of a RMA woes.
Doing something is better than doing nothing at all. The current situation is that even big brands believe that there is no way for potential customers to know about what kind of service they will get if they buy from them. Service is outsourced to incompetent people without caring about what customers go through.
If Digit can't review brand service, can it review the service centers atleast? Some of them service multiple brands and a visit to one is often torturous. There are long ques and waiting times. And when time comes to collect your repaired product, they often don't pick there phones or the number itself is wrong. So one is forced to go to the service center in person where often you are asked to come back after a few days. In big cities with lots of traffic and far off service centers (far off places have cheaper rent), this becomes a real ordeal.
 

The Sorcerer

oh wow...Xenforo!!!
3. Manufacturers fear of defamation which in turn will stop the manufacturer to send review units.

This doesn't work these days. If companies stop sending review units, they'll not get exposure and virtually dissapear. There have been cases where PR agency's contract being cancelled and managers eventually asked to leave. Companies rather have reviewers say a bad product is bad rather than consumers say its bad. Reviewers convince consumers not to buy a bad product, provided its backed up with facts. When consumers say a certain set of products from a brand is bad, then it significantly damages its reputation and its hard to rebuild over it. Only naive marketing/PR do what you say and hunt for virtually unknown bloggers and youtubers to file reports. There have been cases where two bloggers are actually company employees. COnflict of interest? Absolutely! Unfortunately for them, this is short term facade as internal inquiry happens. It doesn't help anyone. They question where is the ROI? At some point, such people run out of excuses. As of now, companies and few distributors want honest feedback for business decision and RnD. A couple of distributors have asked me to consult them what to import and not to import from a brand. Things have changed a bit.

When I say "small" in this context- it means those websites that don't make an effort to review properly and have oversights highlighted. such sites never grow and eventually shut down, nobody would care.

At best, sites and magazines can talk about the lack of service in general rather than fingerpointing and highlighting each case. One reason is that its more on the service center and its employees' work ethics that varies from places to places, person to person. One brand's servicing in Kolkata is bad, but its fine in places like Mumbai and Bangalore. There are not many service centers that has experience with computer hardware. If brand A leaves a service center, they sign up with another service center when its ditched by brand b. in-house rma center is not a feasible idea no matter how big the brand is. Some non-usual RMA cases gets forward to the company that has a small in-house repair capacity. But that's it. People should start businesses that can provide the best of RMA and repair solutions instead. Its not feasible when brands can't break the cycle of going behind the same agency they did at one point.

Second reason is that just because it happened with Brand A doesn't mean it won't happen with Brand B. When media highlights issues with Brand A, Brand B takes potshots confidentally. This happened when EVGA has over heating issues with its 10 series cards. The solution was a new BIOS plus thermal pads on the VRAM and its PCB on the other side. Meanwhile MSI USA does this promo that they are better than the competition because "they don't forget anything!". Then when two youtubers (jayz2cents and gamer nexus) show how to properly install thermal pads, users accuse of them trying to sweep the issue under the rug. What's sad is that nobody acknowledged the quickness from EVGA's end to solve the issue. Specifically talking about service associated directly with a brand is not very easy and its needs backing up from your end as a media while making sure other companies learn from it (which at times doesn't work).


Besides, the gap between users and companies has reduced significantly. Most of these companies sponsor user meets. These users can take a list of issues and mention the challenges. Its easier this way since you say it infront of everybody so at some point others will agree and talk about it. So company has to listen. Nvidia does a lot of these gamer connect meets with ASUS, GIGABYTE, ZOTAC, etc. ASUS and Gigabyte does their own. Gigabyte has an experience center in Delhi. So use these opportunities. I believe last week 360 Gadgets' Rishi Alwani asked Raja Koduri about distributors sellingg RX 480 at ridiculous prices. Some people in the media do tap over brand's shoulders every now and then. Some comes out in the form of article. Some when you're discussing it at the table. In any case its a bit unfair to say media doesn't talk about service at all. Alas, its observed that intially when companies started this trend people used to complain. But then when brands started giving away goodies and freebies, most kept quiet and those who actually complained were the ones that are not invited later. Had those people kept on giving feedback from the start, things would be a lot better. Of course, people do take potshots at some people attending these events. Which is why one particular brand doesn't show off their meets.


There are many cases where customers even take brands for a ride. Sometimes its the other way around. One guy bought three laptops and talks about weird ghosting effects. Three times RMAd. No issue. The service center did nothing in the end, kept it for a week and returned back. Customer then says his problem is solved! Now, how is that even possible if the service center didn't do anything? He bought two more laptops of the same model after that experience. I think he owned some construction company.

Alas we don't live in the ideal world where people from both ends will speak the truth when they have other intentions. That's why the forums exist. People share experiences based on the location. Good and bad experiences accumulate. Then judging by the amount of complaints stacked in people can conclude its really bad or that few bad cases are just bad luck. Out of 100 RMA cases, 6-10 bad experiences is pretty normal.
 
OP
baccilus

baccilus

Cyborg Agent
At best, sites and magazines can talk about the lack of service in general rather than fingerpointing and highlighting each case. One reason is that its more on the service center and its employees' work ethics that varies from places to places, person to person. One brand's servicing in Kolkata is bad, but its fine in places like Mumbai and Bangalore.
I pretty much agree you with there but the problem is that even when sites and magazines talk about service in general, they are never thorough enough. They should at least check whether the Service center exists at the designated place and if the given phone numbers work. There should at least be a distinction between service centers and "collection centers". And because service quality varies from place to place, I suggested that someone will have to review service in individual cities, at least for the big 7-8 cities.

Then judging by the amount of complaints stacked in people can conclude its really bad or that few bad cases are just bad luck. Out of 100 RMA cases, 6-10 bad experiences is pretty normal.
A tech magazine can go deeper than simply averaging the experience. May be the people who got good service, actually just had a BIOS problem or some other software problem. Analyzing those 6-8 bad experience is very important. Sometimes, it may highlight some important flaws in how companies handle their service. For example, even though just 6-8 people out of hundred might get problems in service in MSI motherboards, if the company gives refurbished, and many times non-functional boards every time it needs to replace a motherboard, it says a lot about it.
And if company takes awfully long time to return a functional product even to just 5-6 people out of a hundred, shouldn't that mean something? Especially when it doesn't give a product to use in the mean time.
 

Raaabo

Emperor
Staff member
Admin
We used to do this for a long, long time, ever since we started. However, we don't buy things, and we can't stand outside service centres asking people to share their opinions about the service.

What we do, still, is escalate the few service complaints (users writing to us to complain about company X not providing them with service) we get to the relevant India head of that company, or someone high up, which usually gets some asses kicked and the problem solved. These are few and far between (I assume) because most users who suffer don't write to us, and just keep threatening companies with lawsuits or complaints to the consumer forum, or they write some review on a shopping site, or some website and forget about it.

I think perhaps this would work best if we popularised a sub forum for people (tech products only), and then promoted it. If you guys can get the complaints to be documented here, we can do our best to try and solve them by escalating them. Plus they become known in the public domain.

People try and crib on the company's facebook page, or tag the company in a tweet, etc, but none of that is public really, because it doesn't show up on most google searches for the product name, and is buried deep by all the following mentions of that company or product. When it's on a forum, it stays in Google's memory for a very long time, and shows up for searches about that product and service... but people are too lazy to post on forums anymore, preferring Facebook and Twitter. Sad.
 

topgear

Super Moderator
Staff member
We used to do this for a long, long time, ever since we started. However, we don't buy things, and we can't stand outside service centres asking people to share their opinions about the service.

What we do, still, is escalate the few service complaints (users writing to us to complain about company X not providing them with service) we get to the relevant India head of that company, or someone high up, which usually gets some asses kicked and the problem solved. These are few and far between (I assume) because most users who suffer don't write to us, and just keep threatening companies with lawsuits or complaints to the consumer forum, or they write some review on a shopping site, or some website and forget about it.

I think perhaps this would work best if we popularised a sub forum for people (tech products only), and then promoted it. If you guys can get the complaints to be documented here, we can do our best to try and solve them by escalating them. Plus they become known in the public domain.

People try and crib on the company's facebook page, or tag the company in a tweet, etc, but none of that is public really, because it doesn't show up on most google searches for the product name, and is buried deep by all the following mentions of that company or product. When it's on a forum, it stays in Google's memory for a very long time, and shows up for searches about that product and service... but people are too lazy to post on forums anymore, preferring Facebook and Twitter. Sad.

Great Explanation.
 
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