“SMB and Small Office Home Office (SOHO) segment respectively is our target segment.”- Rohit Chaudhary, CEO & Founder, eTechies.in
In an exclusive interview to Mouseworld Now, Mr. Rohit Chaudhary, CEO & Founder, eTechies.in. reveals his business priorities, plans, message to the channel community and much more. Here are the edited excerpts…
Q. Would you please give a brief introduction on eTechies.in?
Ans. eTechies is India’s first and only professional Door-Step and Online “Service and Repair” provider that operates in the space of Tech (-nical/-nology) Support for Consumer and Small Business. eTechies.in offers a service platform unavailable to Indian consumers & SMBs till now; it provides instant service, repair and support at the door step or remotely over the internet with capabilities to handle computing devices ranging from PCs, Laptop, MACs, Servers, iPads, tablets mobiles and Smart Phones. Launched in April 2010, “eTechies.in” started with a simple idea of offering users in India with dependable Technical Support and Quality Repair Service, backed by a knowledgeable & certified team of resources; serving online and at the doorstep. Residential, SMB and Small Office Home Office (SOHO) segment respectively is our target segment. This is the segment as per our research that is most under-served and lacks any qualitative intervention by a service provider, until eTechies.in got introduced in April 2010.
Q. What is your total sales turnover FY2012 to 2013?
Ans. In our 3 years of journey we have serviced over 500,000 customer queries, with over 75,000 customers registered with eTechies.in services. Our targets for fiscal 2014 is to have over 500,000 customers registered under various regular and extended warranty service plans.
Q. What are your plans for the current year? Where do you like to reach by 2020?
Ans. With operations in six cities, we are focusing on expanding in top 40 cities of India by end of the current year.
We are also extending our bouquet of offerings by Extended Warranty Care packs. These packs will cover repair and support for technical devices, be it electrical or mechanical glitch, even after the manufacturer’s warranty is over for next one year. We also offer an exciting buy-back offer to reimburse the claims. By adding new packs in our service offerings will not only help us in adding more user base but will also win the trust of our users.
Targeting the post-warranty product market, we want to change the rules of tech support in India. We have created state-of-the-art service centres with L4 repair capabilities. Servicing over 15,000 computing devices a month at service centers, we ensure that all products are quality tested before they are sent back to the customer. Additionally having completed more than 50,000 remote-support sessions, eTechies.in is positioned strategically to establish itself a blended end–end Branded, Dependable Digital Devices Technical Support and Repair Service to all its users pan-India.
Servicing over 6,000 computing devices a month at service centers, we ensure that all products are quality tested before they are sent back to the customer.
Having already completed more than 50, 000 remote-support sessions eTechies today has over 25,000 active users on its portal.
We are also extending our bouquet of offerings by Extended Warranty Care packs. These packs will cover repair and support for technical devices, be it electrical or mechanical glitch, even after the manufacturer’s warranty is over for next one year. We also replace the Covered product in case the item calls for repetitive claims for same problem. By adding new packs in our service offerings will not only help us in adding more user base but will also win the trust of our users.
Q. Who are your competitors? Is the competition healthy?
Ans. Competition is great benefactor both for the users and service providers like eTechies.in. We believe that competition helps raise the bar of quality as well offer the users the informed choice. However, one specific thing for the users to bear in mind while choosing their extended warranty options is to go with the service provider that holds promise and is in a position to stand true to its committed word. Mere low price or high promises does not hold ground in this business. This is a business where paying a premium is a norm and should not be compromised, as one seeks peace of mind from future unfortunate eventualities.
These are early days in the Extended Warranty business. The competition is brewing-up. On one end are large Original Equipment Manufactureres (OEMs), embedding first 12 months warranty into the product sale price and passively promoting extended warranties, which do not make any economic sense to the users; On the other side, small third party service providers are seen getting active in the extended warranty space, specifically in the last 12-16 months.
While OEMs are largely offering their Warranty and Extended Warranty support through their established OEM/ODM service provisioning partners, the new entrants into the space have yet to establish their repair and service credentials to be able to service effectively true to the spirit of the extended warranty scope contract.
As an evolving business; eTechies.in stands-out from the clutter. In the first 3 years of setting-up pan India digital device services & repair business, eTechies.in established grounds-up advanced L4 repair and service capabilities and knowledge across all its regional centres. So in effect, offering extended warranties to digital device users is a natural way forward to effectively utilize the capacities that are created for the business. At eTechies.in, we believe that offering extended warranty to the new users of Phones, Smartphones, laptops and Tablets, thus is a natural capable evolution for us.
Q. How do you plan to tackle competition?
Ans. We wouldn’t say that the business is different or unique. However, we are trying to create a positive disruption in the way technical support and repair service is traditionally delivered by the local service providers and technicians, in India for the Indian users. The difference is not in WHAT WE DO, it’s in HOW WE DO. We focus on creating an unforgettable professional service experience for the user by deploying a certified process centric solution to alleviate users’ tech support queries. As one brand and one knowledge centre, we are today available across India.
Towards the close of 2009, we realized that while everyone is focused on making a quick buck off the mature US consumer market, there is no focus by anyone towards the Indian consumer market, specifically the huge out-of-warranty support market. We have always strongly believed in the contrarian market approach and have always avoided following the herd. Even though the challenges of addressing the Indian market were totally unknown at the time, we were committed to re-define how tech support was defined and delivered in this market that was largely dominated by the disorganized trade. This gave birth to the Digital Devices tech support and repair services concept branded as eTechies.
There are no organised technology service providers focusing on end-to-end need in India. So, we have generated the unique idea to form a company which can provide services by handling technological issues. This is where eTechies.in steps in. The way we deal with the customers and the orderly manner in which their issues are handled sets us apart. This includes details such as the contract and login we provide them. Our engineers are adequately qualified and competent. We have state-of-the-art service centres across all the locations/cities, and ensure that our technicians operate with the highest level of professional ethics. To help the users know the status of their requests, we have a real-time tracking mechanism that furnishes all the required information on our website.
Q. What are your views on the price warfare in the industry?
Ans. We believe that Consumer Brand and Service focused business model can only be built on a strong quality and service delivery capability. Our experience reflects that users are smart to adopt a service provider (even if at a premium), if the derived values proposition far outweighs the cost. A pricing based market strategy does not auger well for a services business. The focus clearly has to be on fulfilling the commitments. No questions asked.
Q. What are the challenges that lie ahead for the IT hardware industry?
Ans. I think we have re-defined tech support as done in India. Plainly speaking, we have begun to create an organization around the disorganized elements of the market. Almost anything that we attempt doing is a challenge; be it getting across to the customers with a value proposition or eventually acquiring them. Once having overcome the challenges, our customers are our biggest and most influential referral marketing source.
Q. What steps do you expect from the government for the growth of hardware industry?
Ans. India needs far more aggressive infrastructural development than what we have witnessed in the last 10 odd years. Users are far more informed, leapfrogging on the technology evolution bandwidth at a much quicker pace than the government actually providing for. Just to provide a small example; Availability and affordability of 3G services that were launched in India with so much fanfare is still as unstable and patchy in the most aggressive of the markets as Delhi/NCR. This is a case of clear gap between planning and execution, hence impacting the end-users adoption and confidence building measure.
With over ~70 mm smartphone devices, ~120+mm internet users, ~25+million laptops (home users), ~15 mm broadband connections; Unfortunately we are still at less than 10% internet penetration. And in a country of 1.2 billion people, where there are over ~750 mm mobile phone users; any small step in terms of strategic intervention will go a long way.
Q. Please brief us on your operational presence. In which cities you are already there? Any expansion plans?
Ans. We have an extremely aggressive outlook to expand our business both geographically and by offering value added services to our esteemed and ever growing user base in the current fiscal.
With our current expansion spree, we should be present in the top 40 cities of India by end of this year. eTechies.in is already offering Pan-India Online and Remote technical Support to all its users. Be it a software glitch, mail problem or a hardware repair; Users can access the services of eTechies.in by either calling a dedicated Phone number or signing up online. The online and phone support services team works tirelessly all days of the year.
Our expansion model is not just about Geographical expansion. We keep our users needs and requirements top of our service objectives. Towards that endeavour to stay up ahead on the technology curve and offer our users value added services, eTechies.in have expanded the scope of their services by launching “Extended Warranty care packs” for Mobiles, Smartphones, Tablets and Laptops. Manufacturers provide warranty on their products for a very limited period of time. After that period is expired, Users are at risk of spending thousands of rupees if the product fails and needs a repair or replacement. With an eTechies.in “Extended Warranty Care Pack”, one can extend the length of warranty to 1 (one) extra year, thus protect oneself from spending thousands of rupees in the event the product fails. This service will cover any mechanical and electrical failure in tablet, smartphones, mobile phones or laptops and will be repaired by eTechies.in. Any subscriber of eTechies.in “Extended Warranty Care Pack” can claim unlimited repairs at zero cost. The service is includes free door-step pick and drop facility for any product covered under the eTechies.in “Extended Warranty Care Pack” policy. eTechies.in “Extended Warranty Care Pack”provided by eTechies.in not only extends the term length of manufacturer’s warranty but also enhance the coverage and services provided by a premium branded services and repair focused company, so that you can enjoy your product without worry and guaranteed peace of mind. eTechies.in “Extended Warranty Care Pack” is available pan-india through major etailers, retailers and dedicated eTechies.in Online portal.
The users of eTechies.in “Extended Warranty Care Pack” also have an option to cover for any accidental damage like glass/screen damage, keypad damage, touchpad damage, power ports damage etc. by purchasing the Extended Warranty PLUS ADH (Accidental Damage from Handling) premium Care Pack. Our research and consumer feedback speaks that the users are most prone in the unprotected period (once the Manufactureres coverage is over) and typically for a single damaged instance they can end up paying almost up to 5x of the cost of the eTechies.in “Extended Warranty Care Pack”
With the introduction of our extended warranty service, we are affirmative that we will be able to offer our users a dependable and guaranteed solution to all their technical and gadgets related issues across the country.
Q. Customer care service forms the lifeblood of any services company. How do you manage to provide this in an effective manner?
Ans. eTechies.in’s stated vision is to be a “Category Leader” and Most Preferred Service provider in the chosen business domain. Our entire organization, systems & processes are woven around the users. It’s our ability to view each step and fully know the next steps to keep our resources and users in perfect sync that helps us to build and scale the business all around the Services ethos; that too in a OEM, brand, Model, wide array of devices Agnostic scenario respectively.
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