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Customer Service in China

25/11/2012

OH!  Has it really been seven months since my last post from here in Xi’an, China?  That shows you how having a job interferes with our best intentions.  …  But I digress…

Today’s post will be a little different. Instead of a particular place, I want to comment on customer service here in China. In short, it’s surprisingly good. It’s better than in the USA where “CS” (customer service) is hit or miss and infinitely better than in Germany where you rarely would hear the words “customer” and “service” even used in the same sentence.

While techie consumer goods are surprisingly expensive here in China (You’d think they cost less here than in the US or Germany because there’s no need for international shipping), repair parts and service here are dirt cheap.  Here are a couple of examples I encountered recently.

Example 1: 

The keyboard on my Dell XPS M1330 laptop was acting up for months. The space-bar often failed to enter a space and the “a” key would often likewise ignore my taps. I hesitated to order one online last summer when I was in the USA for a week because I couldn’t be sure I would receive it on time or that it would be in good condition.  For those reasons, I “suffered” for months with a glitchy keyboard. Finally back here in Xi’an, it was clear the keyboard was on its last legs, so I ordered a new one. The website was in Chinese, so a colleague ordered it for me. The price? ¥60 (US$9.62), including shipping.

The package arrived in only 4 days, very well packaged in a strong shipping box. I checked the service guide for my model laptop on the Dell website for the keyboard replacement procedure. As it turned out, it is actually quite simple.

This morning, I laid everything out (drop cloth, computer, tools, etc.) and began. To my delight, from the minute I removed the battery for disassemble until I switched the computer back on after reassembly, only 14 minutes had passed.

My new US$9.62 keyboard not only functions perfectly, but it looks/feels exactly like the original equipment.  Who knows… perhaps the company making this keyboard provides Dell with the OEM models.

So the point is this… The service I received in ordering this keyboard online here in China was flawless. The product was exactly as advertised.  It arrived carefully packaged in a strong box.  The price was unbelievably low. One point for China!

Example 2:

My favorite mobile phone is a Dolce & Gabbanna Motorola V3i which I’ve had for years.  Because I travel internationally a lot, I need a phone that can operate in any country (quad-band).  I also like its thin style and simple operation.

It began acting up a few months ago, however, with the screen flickering on and off. Finally it went dead all together. Had this happened in the USA or Germany, the only real option would have been to just throw it away, as repairs (if possible at all) would have been very costly and time consuming, probably involving shipping the phone off across country and hoping it would come back within a month or so…

In China, however, service is dirt-cheap. There are many electronic centers here in Xi’an (also in most other Chinese cities) where technicians will repair items on the spot. I took my phone to one such large electronic market here in Xi’an called “Saga”. A repair guy took a look at it and said, “If you can leave it with me for 1/2 hour, I’ll try to fix it. If I’m successful, the price will be ¥50 (US$8). If I can’t fix it, there will be no charge.”

As it turned out, he had no problem fixing the phone. I’ve been using it again now for six months and it performs flawlessly. Try finding an “instant repair” at a “give away price” in the USA or Germany… It just won’t happen.

So yes, life is not perfect in China. I could write a full book on things here that might not compare favorably to the US or German versions. Having said that, however, the strong work ethic here in China and the quality of work done (at amazingly low prices) is worth mentioning. A second point for China!

That’s all for today, boys and girls!

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From → China, Xi'an

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