Acer targets ‘ton-up’

Acer hopes to take its number of after-sales service centres in the Middle East, Pakistan and Africa region into triple digits during 2005. Having finished 2004 with 78 service locations across the region, customer services director Suhas Bartar reckons that the ‘ton-up’ is an achievable goal for 2005.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  January 13, 2005

Acer hopes to take its number of after-sales service centres in the Middle East, Pakistan and Africa region into triple digits during 2005. Having finished 2004 with 78 service locations across the region, customer services director Suhas Bartar reckons that the ‘ton-up’ is an achievable goal for 2005. The service centres, operated by authorised service partners, provide a vital ongoing link between the vendor and its customer base after an initial sale has been made. “The 78 service locations we currently have are evenly distributed across the region with the exception of those countries in Africa where there are some civil disturbances,” explained Bartar. “Last year we strengthened the network by 25% and this will continue in 2005. We are experiencing good growth because of the confidence placed in us by our customers. In order to fully meet their expectations, we will strengthen our service network even further. I am sure it will be up to 100 by the year-end.” The availability of high-quality post sales services and support has become an important factor in the minds of Middle East buyers in recent years. An effective after-sales warranty backed up by a strong support and services network can be a powerful tool in building customer loyalty. “First time buyers may go for looks or price,” continued Bartar. “Second time buyers go for service. In the last five years the customers have matured. They realise the importance of service and understand that machine downtime must be kept to a minimum.” Acer is also mulling over the possibility of expanding its collect, repair and return service, which is currently available to customers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, to even more countries across the region. Kuwait and Pakistan are two of the most likely candidates to figure in Acer’s next round of service expansion. Acer’s collect, repair and return service in Saudi, launched in late 2004, has received a lukewarm response so far due to specific factors. “The perception of the service has been very good but we did not receive as many calls as expected,” said Bartar. “We have found out the reasons behind this. Many customers in Saudi do not want strangers calling at their home because they have the womenfolk there. The address system also makes it difficult for couriers to actually find individual homes and collect products.” Undeterred by these specific problems, Acer now offers Saudi customers the option of having the product picked up from their place of work. Collection points are also being set up where customers can drop off products. Bartar is convinced that Saudi customers’ perception of the collect, repair and return scheme remains very positive.

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