Samsung India will expand its service network by 50 per cent about 3,000 touch points within a month. The initiative is aimed at reducing the response time to 24 hours across the country. The move comes at a time when the Korean major has faced criticism for failure of its flagship Galaxy Note7 handsets and was forced to scrap the product on Tuesday.
According to Anurag Parashar, head of service, Samsung India, while increasing service points has been underway for quite some time, pace and scale of the initiative is unprecedented.
"We have decided to revolutionise the service mechanism rather than evolving slowly," he said. Given the importance and timing of the measure, Samsung Southwest Asia president and chief executive Hyun Chil Hong himself decided to press the throttle. "It's the first big step in that direction," Parashar added.
Apart from strengthening the company's rural outreach, the move will also provide it with crucial information on the need of the customers and issues with Samsung products. By increasing its service points from 2,000 to 3,000, the firm aims to cover about 6,000 talukas in the country. As a part of this initiative, Samsung has launched some 535 mobile service vans to cover remote areas. It is also adding some 250 resident engineers, more than doubling the current team.
The Note7 fiasco has dented the firm's image among consumers to some extent. "While in the near-term their sales will be hurt, how it impacts the brand's image in the long-run depends on Samsung's strategy. The firm needs to come up with an explanation as soon as possible and reach out to its customers, assuring them that Note7 episode was a standalone one," said Tarun Pathak, senior analyst, Counterpoint Research.
According to experts, taking along all stakeholders such as authorities, distributors, retailers and customers is important to minimise any long-term impact on the brand. Since the incidence happened during the festive season, which is considered crucial for consumer electronics companies in the country, generating some 40 per cent of their annual sales, Samsung's preparedness to counter competition is important.