What is a quality service center? What is an authorized service center that does everything in its power to remedy the mistakes of others?
It is frustrating when you buy a product and it malfunctions even if it is new, quite close to the date when you paid a lot of money for it. Who is to blame? Most persons return to the stores and, by the use of verbal violence or threats, try to solve their frustration. Given their lack of knowledge, the buyers are unaware that the seller is not to blame for a non-conform product, maybe not even the producer, but the person that erred when assembling a component or maybe a software programmer whose one code line was wrong or the robot that wrongly assembled a part, also given the human error, or just that a component malfunctioned because nothing is perfect or forever. It is obvious that, in the case of the product, the producer takes full responsibility for the malfunction during the period when it believes to operate normally or according to the specifications, a period named warranty and that can last 1 month or 10 years, at each producer’s discretion.
Thus, an authorized service center has persons trained and ready to remedy the malfunctions of the products belonging to those that made them. Each producer, be it Apple, Asus, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, HP, Samsung, etc. has its own service centers and educated staff, who are very aware of each product and are trained to repair them on time. That time is set out by each country’s legislation; in Romania, it is 15 calendar days. As much as possible, the service center remedies the problem before the 15-calendar day deadline. Some brands even have the NBD, Next Business Day rule, according to the availability of the parts in their stocks. The producer creates an estimate stock, does not take the risk of offering NBD and not to be able to meet the deadline; the cases when parts are missing are extremely rare.
Our authorized service center has important elements that make it up. First, there is a HelpDesk, the information and appointments department, the remote interface with the customers, and a technical front office that takes over the equipment that the persons bring to the service center, be it during the warranty provided by this company or outside it, but a repair is wanted. There are spare parts, which our technicians can install. The HelpDesk service offers remote assistance, some of the problems of computer systems can be remedied without taking the equipment to the service center, or a primary diagnosis may be made and the system can be prepared for bringing it to the service center, with complex information, for facilitating the remediation and speeding up the repair process. The HelpDesk service uses the LogMeIn technology and an Internet connection is required. On the contrary, its remediation by phone and / or sending it to the service center is attempted. Or, an appointment may be scheduled for the equipment that cannot leave the office or location of the customer or that is vital and require fast intervention for restoring the productivity of that company.
For the interventions that take place in our service center, there is a technical receiving department, made up of equipment in flow, which is registered according to the delivery-receipt minutes, documents that both parties sign. Practically, a service contract is concluded between this company and the customer. Regardless if the warranty applies to the product, be it purchased from another store or not, our service center takes over the equipment when entering the technical receiving department, registers it and a technician takes it over for working on it. It follows that until the deadline set out for receipt, to repair the equipment and restore its operation condition.
The technician maintains the phone contact during that entire period given that unexpected circumstances can occur or an approval if required from the customer. Alternatively, the technician must just notify the customer that his equipment was fixed and inform him on the costs, if applicable or if they occurred during the repair works.
The equipment is checked carefully and diagnoses are set out by the use of some specialized software, some provided by the component producers or others by the companies specialized in creating the applications. There are specialized tools too, such as hot air SMD station, gluing stations, infrared stations, which bring advantages and disadvantages, and help in the fine remediation, at component level. Very small parts can be replaced and thus, the customer’s costs can be avoided because it would not purchase a major part, which would be more than half of the equipment price.
As well, we are facing the important problem of digital data. Statistically, under 25% of the users regularly or often create backup versions of the digital information on external medium or on several media, thus avoiding a disaster and loss of money, staff work, etc. Even the small and medium companies encounter that problem from times to times. However, the large companies, having their own IT or service department, have centers specialized in keeping the IT data and maintenance staff that would be in charge with keeping them safely. And sometimes, they fail, but in very rare cases. I have never heard for Intel or Apple to lose data; that would mean bankruptcy.
That is why, our service center has a section in charge with recovering the data from external or internal media, to the degree of possibilities and non-conformity degree of the equipment brought to the service center. If the data are lost, but the equipment is not malfunctioning, the recovery chances increase, provided that the data requiring recovery were not subject to overwriting. For example, an equipment is brought to the service center, which has a hard disk with an operating system reinstalled over some data that must be recovered; it is almost impossible to recreate parts of information, which are only partially readable. In the case of some text documents, it is possible to withdraw partially the text from the file, but the chances diminish as the hard disk is used because it is already overwriting sectors with new information, sectors where the customer’s data were probably located. As well, the chances diminish if the hard disk of the storage medium has interface defects, where the information is stored, or if there are mechanic or electronic defects. In that case, the equipment will be sent, if the customer wants and agrees to the additional costs, to a company that is partner of our service center, which exclusively manages data recovery from the hard disk or recreating them from the defective memory cells (in the case of flash drives). The costs can be quite high, but there are customers that would rather pay more, for avoiding the costs of own staff’s work or even greater loss, in the case when all the accounting books are on that hard disk.
Our service center also has a level 3 department or Level 3 Support, the SME (subject matter expert) department, which is in charge with higher-level problems and has staff trained and holding certifications acknowledged worldwide, such as Comptia, Cisco, Microsoft, etc. They can provide an effective support where it is necessary. SME staff is trained to diagnose the server equipment or complex data storage, where the IT departments could fail and thus, the customers go to our experts for quickly remediating any situation.
Any equipment in the service center of our company, when remedied, is removed from the Outbox section and the customer is contacted. He will be expected to come or appointments could be made for delivering the equipment to the customer’s office, if he would require that. The flow is relatively simple. The equipment is taken to the service center, registered, the technician takes it over, a diagnosis is made, it is repaired or if level 3 problems are in place, the SME department takes it over. That equipment could be distributed to the SME department from the beginning if that problem is found from the beginning. Then, the customer is notified, the costs are indicated as well (if applicable), the equipment is placed in Outbox and the company waits for the customer after having notified him on the phone. An appointment can be scheduled if the customer asks that the equipment be delivered to his office.
It must be mentioned that our service center develops authorized repairs for various equipment, there is a department in charge with computer systems (desktop - laptop – tablets) and internal components, video projectors, UPS sources, displays and various peripheral items (router, keyboard, mouse, earphones, speakers, etc.). That department communicates through the HelpDesk department, which is the interface with the customers, and even within the company, between departments, when needed, with the SME or OnSite department (the department that delivers the equipment or goes to the customers’ offices). There is also a department named Image&Print, whose activity is customer interface, the customers holding any kind of printing peripheral equipment (e.g. Xerox machines or printers, plotters, etc.).
Nothing would work without written procedures, which have been extensively tested and improved in time, by the help of ISO norms. This company holds all necessary ISO certifications and more, those connected to the environment. The interventional certification bodies regularly renew the certifications. There is also a quality and control department, which develops internal hearing and verifications, for the operation flow not to be interrupted and the services provided to be high quality. The company relies very much on those services; for good relationships between the company and the customers, such regular verifications and tests are necessary.