Head of Customer Service at Lava talks about how he is reinventing last-mile customer service in India

Lava Lava Blaze 5G on display during IMC 2022

Lava Lava Blaze 5G on display during IMC 2022

Lava leads the feature phone market in India with a share of more than 21% by Q2 2022, and has recently revitalized its focus on the smartphone segment. Lava Mobiles is also the only handset manufacturer that designs and manufactures its portfolio in India and has further strengthened its grip by assembling smartphones of the old phone brands, Motorola and Nokia. However, it has yet to prove its mettle with the smartphones on display.
In 2021, Lava launched its first 5G phone in India – Lava Agni 5G powered by Dimensity 810 chipset but the price-to-value ratio gave potential buyers many other alternatives available at that time, especially from brands like Xiaomi, Realme and Samsung. After some contemplation, Lava introduced the Blaze series of smartphones in India which were quite affordable and packed with quality features.
This eventually gave way to the most affordable 5G phone in India, the Lava Blaze 5G that was launched earlier this month with a launch price of Rs 9,999. But Lava not only wants to keep launching new phones but also reinvents customer service in India by offering Lava Care services like Service at Home and Demo at Home. The Gadget Times sat down with Satya Sati, Head of Customer Service at Lava to talk about how the company handles last-mile customer services and appease users with a new focus on pre- and after-sales services.

What is home service and home demo?

Satya Sati: Service at home is a unique offering in the mobile industry that moves away from the traditional idea of ​​long queues at service centers. Through this initiative, the goal was to elevate the customer experience and go beyond what is traditionally offered to customers in terms of service.

This service can be used during the phone’s warranty period via the official Lava website, call center, Lava Care application, and the official WhatsApp number, and it can also be used by scanning the QR code printed on the box. In case of minor software and hardware issues it will be resolved at home while in case of major issues the phone will be collected, repaired and delivered to the customer at home with free pick up and delivery.

Meanwhile, for the Blaze Pro, we also introduced a unique offer to the industry – an in-house demo that a potential customer can take advantage of by visiting our website and sharing their details. Our representative will provide a demo of the latest smartphone for free.

Who is your target audience for these services?

Satya Sati: We feel that the younger generation is very tech savvy and we expect everything to be available at the click/touch of a button. Therefore, it is these young people who we expect to use our services in the future. Meanwhile, we also received great interest from clients between the ages of 18 and 25.

What is the extent of home service?

Satya Sati: For our latest smartphone series – Blaze, we have opened doorstep service covering about 9,000 PIN codes across the country. At Lava, it is our intention to provide our customers with complete peace of mind regarding after sales services.

Lava service can be availed even in remote areas, As of October 2022, we had 730 Service Centers and 40 Service on Wheels across India. We also introduced the Agni Mitra initiative for Agni 5G. For certain devices, Lava also offers free screen replacement services to its customers within 100 days of purchase, a testament to the reliability our smartphones provide.

Are these services available for the entire Lava catalog or only for selected devices?

Satya Sati: Service at Home and Demo at Home can be used on Blaze & Blaze Pro smartphones. These services will also be available with our upcoming Blaze 5G smartphone.

Approximately how many people have benefited from the new home and home trial service?

Satya Sati: Nowadays, the initiative has been launched for the recently launched Blaze & Blaze Pro devices. With more devices like the Blaze 5G going on sale soon, this service will go even further. While we won’t be able to share any numbers at this point, we want to assure you that this is a long-term initiative and we’ll be in a better position to share numbers a few months later.

Tell us some notable cases where Lava has gone above and beyond to provide service support.

Satya Sati: In the case of Agni 5G, there was a case where Agni Mitra (our engineer) traveled with the consumer on a train to solve their problem at no additional cost. A customer, who had a technical problem with his phone, contacted the service manager. As the manager offered to provide doorstep service, he told the customer that he is flying from Calicut to Payanur. The duty manager went the extra mile, literally, trying to take lava hospitality to a higher level, got on the same train and sorted out the problem on the way to Payannur for the customer.

Another example is a Blaze customer from a rural area, with no road connectivity and the nearest bank about 20 km away. But the customer’s query was processed and resolved on the same day. The client working in a high security defensive area was only available in the daytime and the client’s workplace does not allow visitors to visit his office premises. However, his issues were resolved on the nearby highway to suit the customer.

What does the future of service experience look like?

Satya Sati: Not only would the future of mobile service be digital and accessible, but one could look to a model in which the phone would be replaced rather than repaired, at least for entry-level price points. Going forward, we expect more people to take advantage of services like “Serve at Home” and “View at Home”. At Lava, our constant goal is to search for new ways and solutions to take customer experience to a higher level.