We need to rethink our replacement strategy for wares that can go bad but users still need them. I’m strictly thinking of consumer stuff here. And yes, it’s a first world problem but I think this is the next hindrance of consumer trade, like all the other things we actually solved now (customer not present when packet arrives and such)
Let me make an example. Your smartphone goes bad, it doesn’t turn on again. Woo-hoo, at least here in Switzerland you got 2 years of warranty, so no problem at all. Let me make clear, the phone is completely and obviously broken, there is no way the manufacturer’s not gonna take it back.
So you go to your phone store and tell them your problem. They’ll happily take your case, but you’ll have to wait 4-5 weeks. Say what?
So you then get a replacement phone. But guess what, my phone setup is not that simple. Sure you could restore a backup if it’s an iPhone, but even different Samsung models (which I use) have problems restoring to each other.
So for me as a customer, this means going through a 2 hour setup twice in a span of 4 weeks. That warranty hasn’t helped me at all in my convenience.
Or my next case. My computer mouse broke, again pretty obvious, it doesn’t click right anymore. Some clicks are missed, some not. If you plug it in for a minute, you could give the customer a replacement model and of he goes. You then deal with the manufacturer, put together a package and all the papers.
Remember, you have packages and all that stuff available. You’ve got machines and label printers. You’re sending out thousands of packages each day.
So my idea of the next great company is just that. I’ll come in the store, return the defective item. The store promptly checks my item and issues a new one. The happy customer is now out of the process.
The store then handles shipping back to the manufacturer and restocks all the replacement items that come back. And yes, this is some money lost temporarily, but you’ll end up with a happy stuff-buying customer.
Of course, that includes two preconditions which you can check by phone:
- Is the replacement item on stock
- Is it easy to check if it’s broken
It’s what we do at our company for B2B. Why can’t this be a thing for B2C?