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How to keep users of consumer electronics happy

Posted: 06 Nov 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:electronic device? consumer electronics? No Fault Found? testing? diagnostics?

'Always on' consumers often feel anxious when they do not have their favourite electronic device, even for a short while. Thus, when something goes wrong with their gadgets, they want them fixed and returned as soon as possible.

An estimated 15 per cent of consumer electronics fail in the first three to four years of ownership, according to SquareTrade. Yet more than two-thirds (68 per cent) of returns are characterised as No Fault Found (NFF), meaning millions of products are returned for repairs for no particular reason, Accenture estimated. NFF issues can lead to billions of dollars of unnecessary costs, as well as impacting on the environment and a company's carbon footprint. The effects are then increased further if devices are then sent back again because the customer is still unsatisfied. For the 'always on' consumer, having a product returned when it still doesn't work properly ranks as one of life's biggest irritants.

The good news is that growing investment in research and development by some aftermarket services (AMS) companies means that screening and testing returned products is getting better and faster. Engineering departments in AMS companies are specialists in electronics testing and diagnostics as they are constantly working with devices and parts. These teams are driving this forward, constantly developing new testing processes and protocols, and implementing best practices. This is in order to identify issues as early as possible in the reverse logistics process and ensure processes are constantly improving to save time and costs. Thus providing a source of competitive advantage for OEMs, retailers and insurers, and can help minimise the occurrence of NFF.

Return avoidance is also made possible with self-help and remote diagnostics solutions. For example, the mobile phone sector is investing in such schemes in an effort to prevent returns and identify problems that the user can rectify themselves with guidance.

From our experience at Teleplan, over 30 per cent of smartphone related queries can be resolved within minutes using live technical support specialists over the phone, for example. It avoids unnecessary returns and reduces NFF rates by a factor of four. This results in maximum device up time and a service that can help increase customer satisfaction rates to more than 85 per cent.

Also, using equipment that we have developed, such as the world's first fully-automated, multi-brand smartphone tester for the after-market services industry, we can save around five minutes per device, reducing testing times by up to a 70 per cent, and improving fault detection accuracy by up to a 10 per cent. This amounts to massive efficiencies when testing millions of devices every year, as well as providing significant improvements to quality assurance, with more consistent, reliable and accurate device verification.

This also saves customers the costs and frustrations associated with misdiagnosed faults and minimises the chance of receiving an incorrect NFF result.

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