Author: Klaus Maier | MD & Founding Partner | Maier+Vidorno
First published in March 2017

Indian consumers are legendarily price sensitive but they make an exception for foreign products.  Foreign products – especially European or American – are still perceived as better quality by most people in most market segments.  This means foreign manufacturers can compete in highly price sensitive markets because there is a willingness by many Indians to pay slightly more if the product is genuinely superior[1].

However with the advantage of reputation comes responsibility: Indian consumers who pay more expect far better customer service from foreign companies as well.  This means more responsive and efficient after sales support should the product be faulty or need maintenance.

The trouble that almost all companies face is how to provide such a service in India.  You need customers to be able to contact you easily, identify faults and also to be able to manage different potential issues: depending on your products, for which you may need to provide annual maintenance contracts, repair & replacement centers and/or on-site diagnostics and servicing. These services are not readily available in India, firstly because they require significant extra manpower at a time you are entering the market; and secondly, it’s difficult to find the people who may provide the quality, on-time service that your customers will demand from you. If you do not solve these problems right from the beginning, you will have difficulty in building your brand in the market.

One option is to work with one of the thousands of Indian BPOs to ensure your customers’ concerns are heard but not acted on the ground  These call centers can usually manage all the Indian languages and can be trained to cover all basic protocols and refer on issues.  Solving issues can be done with setting up service centers in key hubs with an engineer from your head office on call to solve problems from a distance.  You can also store your spare parts in warehouses in Indian Free Trade Warehouse Zones (FTWZ) where you do not need to pay the duty on the parts until you import from the FTWZs.

Now you have another option – to call us at M+V.  We have spent the last 17 years learning how to effectively manage operations (from importing to collection) and sales for foreign companies – including spare parts and after sales.  In order to bridge the after sales gap our clients have faced in the past we  teamed up with G&D who have 500 qualified engineers positioned all over the country.  These engineers are trained to serve (currently) German products and can service in the future also your products.  With us you can have an efficient and polite after sales system in place from your first customer onwards and ensure your brand reputation remains high as you grow in the market.

[1] Of course this is not true for products for consumes at the “bottom of the pyramid”, but then most foreign companies looking to enter India’s markets are not trying to compete in these parts of the market.

For more details on After Sales service  in India, contact us!