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247around is Building a Formidable Tech-enabled Service Platform

Four years old after-sales services specialist Noida-based 247around has announced a 300% month-on-month business growth within just two days of the ongoing festive sale season. Nitin Malhotra, the company’s CEO and co-founder, says, “In just two days of the sale, 247around has registered stellar growth. While we have received maximum traction from metro cities like New Delhi and Pune, tier-II towns like Lucknow and Ahmedabad are not far behind. Television remains the top-selling product in the after-sales category, followed by refrigerators and washing machines.”

247around, which was set up in 2015, acts as the last-mile backbone for home appliance brands, their dealers and distributors, and e-commerce players, by providing on their behalf services of installation, demonstration, and repair and warranty. With 45,000 monthly transactions across India, the company operates in 800 cities and 19,500-plus pin codes.
In an exclusive interaction with Sourcing Hardware, Malhotra explains how the company aims to become the fastest service provider, delivering superior quality service and best-in-class consumer experience, in the country.

What is the business model of 247around? What are the sources of revenue, and what are the services offered?
Our business is to provide post-sales services to brands and e-commerce players through a tech-enabled platform for the entire lifecycle of the home appliances. We derive our revenues from installation and repair services, the sale of spare parts and their storage, and by providing customer relationship management (CRM) service. We empower the services arms of our customers through our CRM. Our monthly service revenue is Rs 2 crore.

Which are the prominent brands on whose behalf you are providing these services?
We are the service providers for leading brands, including Kenstar, Godrej and Akai, south India retailer Girija, besides e-commerce giants such as Amazon, Flipkart and Paytm.

How are you using artificial intelligence (AI) and modelling for predicting service requirements for appliances?
247around uses AI to ensure ‘first time right’ service. AI helps us to leverage historical repair data from millions of services delivered earlier to predict future repair decisions, and prompt probable solutions to our field engineers. We aim to bring down the down-time of the electronics and provide an improved customer experience.

What is remote diagnostics? How is this service provided?
Remote diagnostics is a recent introduction, where our CRM can be linked through connected home-appliances and can fetch data of the defect, thus enabling repair decision remotely. This helps in driving accurate assessment about the faulty part, thus allowing the engineer to visit with the correct spare part the first time itself. This helps reduce downtime of the electronics.

What are the typical price points for 247aroud’s services?
Our services start from Rs 250 and can go up to Rs 2,500, while spare part costs range from Rs 100 to Rs 30,000.

What commitments does 247around make to customers in terms of service delivery, turnaround time (TAT), warranty, genuineness of parts, skill levels, certifications, etc?
Our TAT for local installation is 24 hrs, and for remote locations it is 72 hrs. We align our services with the warranty commitments of the brands, and source the spare parts directly from them, as genuineness is one of our USPs. Our field service engineers are at least technical diploma or technical vocational certificate holders. But we continue to augment their skill set by getting them to participate in our brands’ custom-developed training programs.

The kitchen industry is a large vendor of appliances. Are players from this sector also your brand-partners?
We do cater to the kitchen appliances sector. We are the trusted service arm for Pureflames, Signoracare and Lifelong.

Do you operate through channel partners, or are the services provided by you directly?
We work through service partners who plug into our technology platform or CRM. We have tied up with 1,000-plus service centres across the country, to provide services for all our brands and they are governed by 247around processes and monitored through our real-time dashboards.

You have a team of 10,000 engineers,1,000-plus centres. What certification or authentic training do they possess?
We operate through our India-wide service network. The service partners hire the technicians, and the essential qualification is ITI certification or vocational training for the appliances that we handle. The engineers go through 247around due-diligence and selection process and are trained to operate as per our uniform procedures and governed via the 247around Engineer Buddy Android app. Apart from the formal certifications which they have gone through, the organisation provides them face to face training by in-house trainers and industry experts. 247around also provides them with a virtual training classroom on the app, which has videos and content customised as per brand requirements. Our goal is to keep our valuable ground fleet in sync with the latest technology upgrades to suit the dynamic needs of the industry.

What is the nature of your ‘first time fix’ offering?
The essence of ‘first time fix’ offering is to minimise the electronics downtime for our customers. 247around has an analytics-based approach where the platform prompts the engineer’s knowledge, by suggesting the probable solution and spare part, based on the problem-symptom observed at the repair site by the engineer.

Where are your spares warehouses and service centres located? Are these company-owned centres?
We have service centres covering 19,500-plus pin codes pan India. We have two company-owned central warehouses located in NCR and Maharashtra that cater to the north and east India and west and south India respectively. We also have 400 micro-warehouses located inside the service centre premises across the country. These micro-warehouses are home to fast-moving spares parts to enhance the customer experience by minimising the downtime. The central warehouses host 15,000-20,000 spare parts at any given time, whereas the micro-warehouses have enough spares to support the monthly demand.

Which geographical regions are your strong points, and where are you aiming to strengthen operations?
Top regions for us are north and west India followed by south and east. UP, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana and MP are the top contributors. We want to further strengthen in south Indian states of Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Kerala.

What strategies are you adopting to grow your business?
We are doing everything to increase the service experience of the end customer, be it experimenting with
newer service models, developing micro-apps that cater to the niche requirements of the stakeholders (brands, sales, field engineers etc.), and regular training and re-skilling of service personnel to match the latest needs. We believe that through the ripple effect of the impact created by these measures, the business will follow.

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