21 Oct 2016

Why manufacturer like HUAWEI can only DREAM to be like Apple BUT NEVER EVER be one

First thing first. I do not work with Apple Inc or in any of it's subsidiaries or affiliated with them in any way or form. I do work in a major consumer electronic manufacturer company in the UK and my opinion piece below in no way or form represent what I do professionally for a living but merely just my frank and personal opinion. All encounter below is being described at it's truest form that I can remember and describe.

Alright... with the legal bit out of the way, let me start with brief experience sharing working in a typical marketing team in a multinational consumer electronic company. Often enough we will be stuck in a team meeting discussing plans and strategy on how to market our upcoming products to the market. And I can bet you with all my working experience that the word "Apple" will come up in one way or form during these meetings. Hence we are either bench-marking what Apple does, or simply try to replicate what they have done. 

But based on my recent encounter with the 3rd biggest smartphone vendor in the World* of Q2 2016, HUAWEI can only DREAM to be like Apple BUT WILL NEVER EVER be one. At least for now.

Just over 8 months ago, I travel to Malaysia and stumble upon a major IT store selling the Google's flagship NEXUS 6p. It's a standard GSM variant of the phone and nothing but praises that I have on this phone since day 1. The phone lives up to it's flagship tagline and the camera shoots picture that put many other smartphones (even digital camera) into shame.

And something happen last week while I was driving while navigating using Waze on that phone. It restart by itself for no apparent reason while the screen showing me I have another 136 miles to reach home.

And to my surprise, the phone boots up as it always does for the past 8 months and it was stuck in an infinite loop of rebooting and all I can see was the Google logo.

So I contacted Google directly with high hope that it's just a software problem and hoping it could be solved by doing some sort of hard reset. It doesn't work. And they suspected that it's more than just the software so they have asked me to contact HUAWEI directly.

Which I did. And being a tech savvy guy I opt to contact them via their online chat system and told them the same issue. And after some helpful advice and instruction they also conclude that I need to send them the phone for physical inspection.

And here starts the problem & horror that I've been through with HUAWEI and hence the reasons why THEY WILL NEVER be like Apple.

REASON 1: I've called their service hotline in the UK at 0800 088 6700. To my surprise, there was an actual person answering the call and asked me to leave my name and number so that they can call me back. But what's more shocking was, I called on Friday (14th Oct) and hoping someone will call me back. NOPE. No one. So I called on Monday (17th Oct) and I was asked to leave my name & number for a call back. NOPE. No one called. I called again in the afternoon and was asked to do the same thing. Really. This actually happen! 

REASON 2: On Tuesday I finally received the call. Very pleasant discussion on how I could send my phone in when they deliver a pre-stamped package to me. They took down my serial number & IMEI number. 

The next afternoon, someone from Huawei called again (indicated on my phone as PRIVATE NUMBER). He first introduced to himself as someone from Huawei and immediately asked me NOT TO SEND MY PHONE IN because after checking, they said the phone is not bought in the EU (or in the UK). 

After a few short exchanges on why this and that, I've asked, "If I have a Huawei Phone and it's having a problem I can't solve, where can I send it to?"... To my utter shock, MICHAEL (after I insisted to know his name) told me to send it to a NON AUTHORISED SERVICE CENTRE! I was silenced for a few sec... I really do not know how to proceed. Then I've asked to speak to his manager and he told me that he won't pass it on.

Let me take a step back and evaluate this. I've bought a Google flagship phone. It lasted just over 8 months before it started giving problem. Google can't help me with the hardware. Huawei in the UK won't even want to touch my device as if as the phone is not a Huawei phone. I didn't asked for it to be fix under warranty. We have not even come to the cost which I have never said I'm not going to pay. Being in the consumer electronic industry, I'm expecting to pay some surcharge because the phone wasn't bought "locally". BUT I NEVER WOULD HAVE THOUGHT HUAWEI WILL NOT EVEN WANT TO TOUCH THEIR OWN PHONE!

1) How would such an expensive flagship phone lasted only 8 months???
2) Is there any difference in quality that the phone you bought somewhere else is not the same as if it's bought locally?
3) With the advent of "aeroplane" and the shrinking size of consumer electronics, why are we still stuck with the "terms & considtions" of buying your stuff locally?
4) And why an international company like HUAWEI have such a culture where if you don't buy the product locally, they would not even want to touch the device! Why don't you rename your COMPANY NAME differently in every region you are in??? Isn't that having a recognize brand name around the World translate to being able to have support of your devices as and when as the customer need to??

In many sense of business, Apple might not be a perfect company to quote. But in terms of service & support especially for their portable devices is almost second to none. They might want to charge you a premium or charge you when you need to service your product outside the region where you bought it. But Apple and any multinational with a hint of common sense would know that they WOULD NOT TURN AWAY FROM THEIR CUSTOMERS WHEN THEY NEEDED THEM THE MOST.

Maybe, (and I say with a big hunch) this was the reason why Google moved away from the NEXUS brand concept and started Pixel hoping to have more control on the after sales element of the phone, like Apple.

*Source: http://www.idc.com/prodserv/smartphone-market-share.jsp

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