A good (or bad) customer service experience can make or break a company. It’s no longer primarily about the product, especially not in the world of consumer electronics.
The reason for this shift in the consumer technology space is that nowadays, in some categories, many companies share the same parts (usually from China), so the differentiation from one product to another is no longer as pronounced. Add that to the fact that technologies have evolved so much to the point that it doesn’t really matter what brand you buy, and you’ll usually get comparable performance. Unless you’re looking for a specific feature set, a big differentiation will come in the quality of the customer service.
Take for example, power banks, one of the most crowded product spaces in the CE market. While so many brands are involved, do you see Energizer, Duracell, or the other usual suspects flourish in this category? No. One of the strongest brands, based on my personal observations, is MyCharge, Why? They aren’t the most innovative, nor are their products the cheapest, or more reliable than other brands I’ve tested. But they have great customer service.
In almost of decade of using their products, two of 10 or so I have owned failed suddenly. I contacted customer support and, after answering a few key questions, they sent me a replacement unit within a week. Another time, the LED indicators stopped working, though the charger itself still worked. I contacted tech support, and since I happened to be in Vegas at CES at the time, they forwarded the case to someone there, and had a replacement unit ready for pick-up at the company booth. I’ll add that at no point in the conversation did I mention I was a journalist, This was six years ago, and I’ve been a loyal MyCharge customer since then.
On the other hand, I have purchased and reviewed a number of products that, while I would highly recommend them in terms of quality and function, I later found the company customer service to be less than ideal (I’m looking at you, Dog & Bone !). With one product that failed, I did not receive a single e-mail reply to my repeated requests for a resolution. It’s saddening, given that I had been a fan of the products up until now. But the bad customer service experience turned me away.
Moral of the story: at the end of the day, it is no longer only your products that define you, but, perhaps even more importantly, it’s your customer service. It’s worth noting that this goes for retailers and integrators as much as it does for manufacturers and distributors. Without great customer service, you won’t survive in this jungle of an industry.