Component shortage, pent up demand to delay electronics repairs

Shortage of components for repair is another challenge that many are facing. Photo: Reuters

NEW DELHI: With some easing of the lockdown, customers with damaged phones and electronics are making a beeline for repairs and after sales services. Add to that, supply chain disruptions in China and India which have made it difficult to find components for models. All this has resulted in higher turnaround time for many customers.

Delhi-based mobile repair services company Yaantra is already seeing a 1.3 to 1.4 times increase in mobile repair related queries on its website.

“After lockdown the request for repair will not be the same as before. Service providers will face a lot of pent-up demand from during the lockdown period. A lot of the after sales service providers can only handle a certain number of requests as they work on a very lean model,” said Tarun Pathak, associate director, Counterpoint Research.

Pathak feels something like token system can help them. Xiaomi has already started a token system on Mi.com to let customers book an appointment to avail after sales services.

“Our service centers have slowly started operations in Green and Orange zones and soon all will resume. No walk-ins are being allowed into the services centers to regulate crowds and ensure social distancing is maintained. Users can raise an online token on Mi.com and book an appointment themselves,” said Muralikrishnan B, chief operating officer, Xiaomi India.

Taking repair to doorstep of customer is not new but it is getting a lot of favour now as customers don’t want to walk into services centres. Huawei has already announced that it will provide free doorstep repair services for certain models.

“Consumer behaviour is shifting. People are sceptical of going to places where they don’t feel safe. Keeping that in mind, we have launched Yaantra Protect, under which we have trained our engineers to operate while keeping World Health Organisation (WHO) compliance norms in mind,” said Jayant Jha, co-founder and CEO, Yaantra.

The fact that lockown has not been completely lifted and is being regulated in orange zones, has made delivering repair services a bit of a challenge.

“On ground movement is restricted in multiple places, we are working with authorities to make passes available to our partners. Another challenge that we are facing is with RWA societies not allowing customers to avail services,” said Aditya Shrivastava, Business Head, Home Repairs & Maintenance, Urban Company, a Gurugram based firm which offers the option to get appliances including ACs repaired at home.

Shortage of components for repair is another challenge that many are facing.

“Component supply for repair will be an issue as they don’t come in bulk order. Also, their availability will depend on which port they are coming from and which lockdown zone they fall under,” adds Pathak.

Component supply chain is largely dependent on China. Even though the likes of Yaantra have relationships with some large OEMs including Apple for genuine spare parts, at some point a supply crunch at OEMs end will restrict their ability to service customers too. “For most common repairs, components are available. But for specific repairs component shortage will be felt,” said Jha.

The shortage of components may affect the turnaround time. Also, customer may have to wait longer to get a service request fulfilled. Muralikrishnan points out, while the turnaround time for Xiaomi customers will be the same as before for servicing the devices, few customers would have to wait a little longer to have their appointments confirmed.

“The turnaround time for on-site repair was 30 minutes. Pickup and delivery would take 40 to 72 hours. If the components are not available we tell the customer that they will have to wait for some time. Some repairs will get stretched, but for common repairs will be able to service customers within the promised timeline.”

source: livemint

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