Archive for May 2012
All of us know that what all those customers visiting Care/Service Centers have in common;
They all do visit if the product is not functioning properly, repeat problems or in certain cases they are negative towards the company itself.
When you look at things in this way (specially the last point), then it becomes very important for companies to curate a top class Care/ Service Center experience to tackle the aggressions and disappointments of consumers.
As customer experience and customer service increasingly become a strategic priority for companies looking to differentiate themselves, most of them are realizing that some of their consumer interactions (face to face or contact centers) represent more than just costs; they’re moments of truth for customers, points in time that significantly impact customer loyalty.
If we sit back and recall our last Service Center experiences, then I am sure that we can sure remember one of those worse ones a few years back and we can sure remember that how we talked about those experiences with our friends. It clearly shows that much important Customer Care is. Are companies really doing something about it now in recent years?
Luckily, I got a chance to visit and see the process followed by Nokia Care Centers in general and would like to share the same with you so that you can understand that why Nokia remains consumer’s favourite.
Nokia Care: the process
As about the looks and process inside a Service Center, it changes as per the user base and type of handsets change city by city, area by area, time by time, so its not exactly possible to keep each Service Center in the same way as a metropolitan city would have. Yes! there might be alterations in minute details in comparison but more or less, Nokia Care Centres catch the consumer eye. They are easy to locate & give a comfortable feeling once you enter. The basic amenities like seating space, air-conditioning, cleanliness, decent branding are common to all Nokia Care Canters.
Let me now share the different elements of a Nokia Care Center:
The reception in a traditional Nokia Care Center has been replaced by a Token System that generates token on the basis of task category & also sends this information to Care Center manager. You get a touch based, ATM like looking token machine with different task categories from which customer can select the relevant option.
As you can see, this system removes the middle man carrying up your tokens and subsequent order no. The new system is very transparent in its functions. While the centralized reporting helps Nokia in further improvements, but it also improves the turnaround time with per call.Along with token, you also needed to fill Customer Information Slip for record purpose, so that Nokia may contact you about your experience if required.
Waiting area: Comfortable seating at the Waiting area makes it relaxing. An LCD TV is showing the latest Nokia promotions about products as well as valuable Consumer Information like (Do’s & Don’ts, Consumer Awareness initiatives like Recycle etc.). Another LCD displays token allotment and also the average waiting time.
Monitoring and tracking the tokens: It sounds too good to be true but gone are those days when you were needed to sit for long in Nokia Care Centers to get your number. While efforts are made to attend to customer at the earliest, in case any customer is waiting for long, the Center manager would attend to the customer himself. The company monitors the Average Waiting Time centrally to take corrective actions..
Service Desks: The number of service desks depends on the location & number of customers visiting the Care Center and the one that I visited was at Delhi, it had larger number of desks.
Like the one, you see here, Nokia Care Protect plans extends your warranty for 12 months more (Obviously after inspecting your device once and if found perfectly fine), which will be exactly same as the normal warranty. Unfortunately, only those users that are covered in warranty can enjoy this benefit, not the one who are left with expired warranty.
Technical Desks: Not all the issues are as simple that one expert can solve without doing dirty things like opening your device or opening screws within mins, so all the cases that require further work beyond just an expert inspection, will go into technical section.
Obviously consumers are not allowed to enter into technical section as it requires some form of Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) protection, though all such technical desks will always have a transparent glass front. Logic behind the transparent glasses is, people out there can have a view if the technical desk want to show them the exact problem with their handsets.
Feedback Section: I am not sure if I would have come across a cute feedback section like this in some Service Center. It was pleasing to see the openness & transparency at Nokia Care Centers to collect customer feedback.
And more better is, this is not just namesake. Put a negative feedback and you can be assured that someone will personally meet you or call you about that feedback.
Collection Counter: Obviously not all issues can be resolved within mins or even in hours, many a times, you need to come to Care Center on a later date, just for the collection purpose. Obviously, it doesn’t make sense to put a customer coming for collection into the same queue as of people with complaint. Obviously, a separate desk for collection.
Accessory Replacement: Nokia Care Centers maintains a stock of commonly used accessories batteries, headphones etc. Let me remind you, you will never get a repair of headphones and batteries in case of Nokia as such items get instantly replaced with a new one rather than doing some ad-hoc solution (obviously when in warranty)..
Nokia ensures adequate stock in all Care Centers to avoid disappointed customers coming for service. The stock in Nokia Care Center varies as per patterns of consumers visited there.
Internal Training & skill enhancements: We were very excited to know if those technical desk people were given chance of having hands on over latest upcoming gadgets before the marketNokia keeps on training each one of them about handsets throughout the year.
Outcall to customers about their experiences: This is another feat that Nokia seems to have adopted from the best practices of service industry. Random calls to Customer to know if they have been satisfied with their experience with Nokia Care Center. Also if they have any suggestion in mind for further improvements. All of such calls get well documented and forwarded to concerned authorities for further decisions if required.
So, this pretty much sums up what a Nokia Care look like and functions like. When I was asked, for me it was actually hard to come up with a suggestion to bring further improvement.
Do you find the process good enough or do you have some of your own suggestions? Do you have any good or bad experiences with Nokia Care recently? Please share them with me, I hope you will be listened by right ears.
Update: @Janole has released a new update that is v2.7 Build 7153. Download link
Do you know what was the last time when Gravity got its last update? It was March 08, 2012 means exactly two and half a month before. Not exactly the longest period between two successive Gravity updates but still it was quite a long gap and people like me who been following Gravity updates since long, knew that longer period between successive updates always been leading to some great new features. So let’s see what new features are on card this time?
Before starting to talk anything about it, let me warn you, this time this update is a real Alpha means a premature build and you must be ready for some bugs while trying it (though like always, I didn’t found many of show-stopping kind of bugs).
So, are you ready for a walkthrough of new features? Here we go.
The changes that I might have noticed till now are as given below:
1. All New Notification Bar and removal of Full Screen Mode: Many of us liked Gravity in the full screen mode always but this was a big dilemma for people since the Belle update came in with drop down System notification bar. Being in Gravity timeline with full screen mode was meant to miss the status bar altogether.
@Janole decided in favour of removing the full screen mode (as was in earlier version, showing in extreme right screenshot) and introducing an all new notification bar with three sections.
An either blank or Home icon that will take you back to all accounts screen.
The middle part of status bar will take you to the top or to Dashboard of particular account.
The brand new notifications section that will take you to notifications + last visited history section.
For me, the issues in this approach is, Gravity has an option to tap on top to move to top of the timeline and with two status bars (One of system and one of Gravity), it becomes a lot confusing. You have to hit the status bar precisely to get to top because if you hit top most system bar then it might be lead to system drop down that might annoy you. Moreover, the pixel size of the new Status bar is almost doubled means loss of screen space on already low resolution Symbian screens. I think @Janole also agree on it.
All I can say that this approach might be good for many but may annoy many as well. In my opinion, there should be a full screen mode option present and in that mode, the pixel size of the status bar might be lowered as well. Though I wont push more for the pixel part because status bar needs to be in the same size as the search bar to cover it up in other parts of UI.
One of the workaround might be an Auto-Hide search bar along with half the pixel status bar in full screen mode. But let’s see how @Janole will deal with it.
But the better side of this exercise is, you now have access to drop down toolbar, signal, battery, time and system notifications etc.
* Thanks to @HardikLive for some of the screenshots.
2. New Add Account section with a minor change: Not a big change but one may spot a little change in Add Accounts section, where we find two options for Twitter account.
The “Can’t add a Twitter Account?” section is to bring back the old OAuth part for adding a twitter account without going to Twitter website because many a people faced issues via web route. Obviously for getting DMs, you will be needed to authorize via web only if you choose this choice.
3. The Search bar on the top of Twitter/ Facebook section: This is one of the experiments that even @Janole wasn’t sure and delayed it since January even after early implementation because it certainly takes its sweet time to get used to of it.
Only issue might be the screen real estate taken by it, but over the time, people will sure start getting used to it. Thing is, we are so accommodated to traditional UI elements of Gravity that any such change feels awkward in the start.
4. The notifications + History Section: The introduction of brand new Notifications section brings you a single place where you can keep track of notifications and history of the last visited places inside the app.
Not only that but @Janole has planned to make it even bigger in next updates.
5. Anna-Belle type rounded icons across the UI: I am not sure that why it wasn’t here already in last update but finally the native looking icons are here to make the experience consistent throughout the OS.
6. Facelift for Groups and Lists Section for Twitter: Groups and Lists section which was just a list earlier now gets the much needed grouping/
Isn’t it look good enough now.
7. User profile shows if the user following you: The new user profile section in twitter now shows that if the user is following you. So no more, tapping on profile and check if Direct Message option is appearing or not.
8. Image save option in Facebook section as well: It was already there in twitter section via tap on the picture or tap on the button in the middle bottom and it was about time, when it makes to Facebook section and its here now.
One difference here is the absence of the bottom middle button for saving the image but as the place was already taken by Edit button, @janole left it to tap on the picture to save it.
9. Facelift in Foursquare section, comments notifications: Not much significant, but the foursquare section also have got some minor changes in the way a check-in looks or in the way you search for a place.
The left most screenshot is from old Gravity while the middle one is from new one. You can spot the changes. Also the search bar in top is a new introduction. Also now you will get notifications when someone comments on your check in.
Though still we don’t have emphasis on marking system as in Foursquare and it doesn’t notify you that how much last checkin earned for you or where you stand in leader board.
10. New share menu in Gravity: Though as of now, it works only for the links in Browser, Facebook and Google reader section, but finally we have a share menu in Gravity that serves the purpose of saving articles/web pages from one social network to another.
Also now you can edit the title before sharing it in Google Reader menu (share function was there earlier). Though with this share menu, @Janole hasn’t integrated the is.gd or any other url shortener, but may be its for good, because who wants his/her URL getting shrink three times while posting? Twitter already has t.co while Facebook treats URLs other way.
As expected, introduction of Share option means no Tweet it button in Google Reader section anymore.
11. Gravity Browser gets attention again: Since the implementation, Gravity browser seen very less visible changes, but the big update this time decided not to leave it.
The first change is change of share icon that comes back to Symbian style iOS style as earlier and also Readability support for formatting the webpages for mobile screens.
While its a good step in right direction, it has its own share of glitches.
First, its rather annoying to get it back from Full screen mode which it choose automatically once open, then if you tap and hold you finger for 2-3 seconds, then bars appear but they get away once you remove the finger. It should stay for long so that one may come out from browser easily.
Second, Readability support is only for formatting the page, not for using you Readability account as Gravity browser still doesn’t support cookies means no kind of logins can be supported.
Actually this was a feature suggested to @janole long back in 2009 itself which finally got delivered by this new version.
12. Last but not least, option to share status on multiple networks finally: Yeah! finally you can share the same status on multiple social network accounts at once (facebook\Twitter}. All you need to do is to swipe your finger from left to right or right to left on Add Account section and you will get the screen given below:
This was a much needed and heavily requested feature since long. Thanks to @jryap28 for bringing this into my notice
13. Picture size shown while uploading photo to Twitter: As told by @janole, this was actually a debugging feature, but he found it rather useful for public as well and released it with this version.
Though its available for Twitter section only and not available in Facebook section as of now. But should come shortly with new version.
Bug: As of now, Gravity has two of the known bugs with this new version.
Push Notifications or User Streams brokenFixed with 7153 UI issues with Swype split screen modeFixed with 7153 Hope that it would be sorted by the upcoming version in next 2-3 days. Already out as build 7153.
So, this was all that I spotted about the new Gravity and now its your turn to tell me if I would have missed anything. Also this time, @Janole has made some important comments about the future of Gravity that you must not miss.
It says the long awaited Picasa (May be even Flickr Integration) might not be too far and may be a complete makeover of Images section may arrive with our long awaited Symbian Imaging Flagship Nokia Pureview 808.
And then the biggest announcement that might bring back many a hopes and smile on faces of people who have left Symbian and missing Gravity very much though @janole has cleared further than no work on Android\iOS right now. Schedule for second half or late of this year.
So this was what I had to say, now its your turn. Download it from here http://bit.ly/7152ALL and comment here if you find any more changes in it or wanna suggest something. Also keep a note of the fact that its a preview version so many a things might get changed in the version that will come shortly.
I am not sure that I ever would have reviewed a product and would have rated it as “An Essential Accessory” but there is always a first and for me, it happened to be Proporta USB Turbocharger.
Smartphones and their battery life, something most of the users talk about, bitch about many a times because of the simple fact of life, if your phone is out of battery, then there is no difference between a 7mm thick phone and a 17mm thick one. But still the temptation of owning a slim phone is something that neither manufacturers nor users are giving up.
Its not that manufacturers and users are not trying for the solutions/workarounds and its definitely not the case that you can’t do anything about it.There are two ways to deal with it; spare batteries and portable chargers. Lets discuss both a little.
Issues with spare batteries
The regular readers here would not have missed my review about Mugen Batteries in past and the friends on Twitter and real life would have seen that how those batteries remained an integral part of my daily routines (and some of the regular issues). As time passes by, you learn about some of the limitations around these extra-power/replacement batteries, like the ones given below:
1. NO HOT SWAPPING: If you are running out of battery then you need to remove that battery and use the spare battery. Obviously, this involves switching off your phone for once even if for half a min only.
2. Battery Calibration: With the spare battery solution, you get two types of spare batteries; either of same power (mAH) or of extra power (more juice). The issue is, most of the time, the underlying OS is not that smart to handle this and you need to calibrate the batteries (many a times, its 2-3 cycles means 2-3 days long process) otherwise you wont be able to take full advantage of the juice that these batteries can provide to you. Obviously a cumbersome thing for the n00bs and for even geeks.
3. The size & shape: Love it or hate it, most of the Smartphone manufacturers nowadays feel like flaunting the slimness of their phones rather than caring for the fact that how much long the “slim” battery lasts for the user. For overcoming the issue, the user either has to use his device less or have to carry a charger with him all the time or have to opt for a thick battery for him that obviously negates the first cause that was slimness. Truth is, people don’t prefer to show their phones as thick stabs.
4. No separate charging: A spare battery can not be charged in separate, it has to be in device for getting charged. Means if you are preparing for some trip, then you first charge your first battery, then you pull out the battery and then charge the other one. Obviously a big amount of time required and when you put it on a scale of daily routine, then it becomes a mess.
5. Multi-usability: The issue with spare batteries, is their being specific for one handset. The smart users who need such things are actually carrying more than one devices with them and not only that but also changing the devices by each year. Is it wise to keep on purchasing spare batteries for each of the device?
6. Price: As of now, if you buy a separate same capacity spare battery then the price remains reasonable but due to the type of tech involved in high capacity batteries, the price remains an issue in the later case. It might be as worse as 4-5 times higher than the stock battery price.
How I got introduced to Proporta?
After going through the first solution in detail, I decided to give the second option a try; the portable chargers like the one I seen in hands of @SamDLaw first (that was a Nokia DC-11 1500 mAh). 1500 mAh was not enough for me, so I was to look for other solutions and the biggest name I heard of in twitterverse was of Proporta; An expert in field of mobile phone accessories, cases and portable chargers.
As it was mostly an online store and there was no way to get it from some nearby store in India, I wrote back to Proporta about my interest in Proporta Turbocharger 7000 and for my surprise, after a few days later, a sweet conversation with Jitender @ Proporta led to a review unit of Proporta Turbocharger 5000 for me (as Turbocharger 7000 was out of stock for the moment).
Proporta TurboCharger 5000: The Unboxing
The wait didn’t took long and within days, I got a call from security of my office that “Sir! you got an Air Mail” and the well packaged accessory was in my hands.
It might be a tough job for a blogger to review one of the Asha handset. Blame our own habits which are addicted to high end. But if one looks at Asha Series out of this Metro City Blogger mind set, then less chances to find it dull, in terms of the value it adds to the feature phone market that is still going steady and strong (even if we don’t feel that way on twitterverse or blogs).
While in the last review, I talked about Nokia Asha 300, now it is the time to talk about the real leader of the pack, Nokia Asha 303: One of the phones, over which Nokia thought to pull it back with low end handsets in Indian market. Let’s see how it is….
Nokia Asha 303 is finally the one to showcase a capacitive screen on S40 Touch and Type genre along with the honour of being a Nokia Touch-n-Type QWERTY at such low price point. In many ways, this seems to be the Nokia Asha handset which should have started the Asha Touch-n-Type Series in first place.