Knowhow: Do they know how to give good customer service?
KNOWHOW is the new 360 degree installation and after-sales service offered at Curry's and PC World. The service was previously called 'The Tech Guys' who were a team of so-called experts Watchdog featured a year ago for substandard repairs and terrible customer service.
According to Dixons Retail Group, KNOWHOW is a new and improved service and it's certainly got the board of directors excited but according to some customers, nothing has changed. Rebecca Wilcox reports.
Since the launch of KNOWHOW in March, Watchdog has had over 100 complaints. Customers have complained of lengthy delays for repairs, items being returned damaged or with parts missing, items being returned faulty and items being lost altogether. The majority of the complaints to Watchdog concern laptops. But surely with their state of the art repair lab they boast of, surely they have the KNOWHOW to fix an obvious fault?
Not the case according to Sarah Taylor who sent her laptop off to KNOWHOW when it kept switching itself off. Sarah's laptop was returned to her within a week but when she started it up she soon learnt that the fault was still there, so off it went straight back to KNOWHOW.
Sarah repeatedly sent off her laptop for repair. She thought that at least she could at least keep track of the repairs with KNOWHOW's track and trace system; however Sarah was never given a tracking number, so she couldn't use the system. After seven attempts to fix the problem, KNOWHOW eventually admitted they didn't have the 'knowhow' to fix her laptop and offered her a replacement.
KNOWHOW collected Rob Hickey's laptop after his hard drive developed a fault. But when they didn't send it back he began to worry. Rob was told that KNOWHOW could not locate his laptop. After the laptop had been in KNOWHOW's possession for two weeks, they still could not trace it and Rob was then told that a whole pallet of laptops due for delivery had gone missing from the South of England. KNOWHOW have since denied that this happened but did offer to replace Rob's laptop.
Ok, so KNOWHOW are not doing great so far. But at least customers can pay extra for 'Whatever Happens Premier' which is meant to be the best possible cover when things go wrong. But try telling that to Michelle Morgan who sent off her daughter's laptop to KNOWHOW when it developed a fault. As a premier cover customer, Michelle was told the laptop would be repaired within 7-10 days. However, weeks later there was still no sign of her laptop; so much for their speedy repair service. After repeated calls by Michelle to KNOWHOW, a laptop was delivered five weeks later. However, for Michelle the story didn't end there as the laptop that was delivered was not the right one. Michelle contacted KNOWHOW who at the time could not locate her laptop. KNOWHOW did agree to replace Michelle's computer and eventually managed to trace her lost data and gave her £40 for the trouble.
So, a new name and new slogans but for some customers it's the same old story.
Dixons Retail response:
"Our service and repair offer is the largest in the UK with the highest success rate - at 99%. We are proud of what we do, so it's upsetting that human error occasionally means that we let some customers down. We know that when things go wrong it can be traumatic for our customers, and every day we try to find ways to get rid of even this small proportion of errors. Our repair centre in Newark is like no other - so proud are we of its success rate, that we hold open days. Our next one is on November 17th and we would love to invite any of your viewers that would be interested to come and see our lab in action. Opening day details will be published on KNOWHOW.com shortly. If you have an unresolved issue, or want to know more about the Open Day, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org"
In answer to your questions:
What percentage of repairs does KNOWHOW achieve within the timescale stated in the relevant policy agreements or terms and conditions?
Based on our most recent data, 99% of customers have had their unit repaired or a decision has been made to write it off (ie replace it with a like for like product) within the timescales set in the terms and condition of their agreement.
What percentage of equipment does KNOWHOW repair or replace within the timeframe specified in the relevant policy agreement?
We make 1.1 million repairs - the majority of these being Computers and TVs
With regard to replacing units the average duration from collection of a unit through to "writing it off" is 14.2 days
What policies does Dixons Retail have in place to ensure that customer's equipment is kept safe?
When laptops are sent for repair they are placed in padded boxes and sealed. A cable tie and a unique bar-coded label is attached to the taped box in the store. The colleague also attaches a further tracking label directly to the product which documents any existing scratches or damage. The box is scanned at each step of the journey to Newark, (our repair centre), and also as it arrives on the engineer's bench. The product is then examined and the fault diagnosed. Assuming no decision to write off (ie replace), the product is then repaired and safe tested before being returned. At key stages we scan and automatically document the progress of the product and this is made visible to the customer on our web site.
When we remove/replace data sensitive equipment we have robust processes in place to ensure we wipe the data storage medium. These processes comply with UK Government CESG (communications - electronics - security - group) standards. If the hard disk or data storage medium cannot be wiped we will destroy the data storage medium or hard disk, again in accordance with CESH standards
Comments on the 7 highlighted cases
1. Sarah Taylor
It is not acceptable that this laptop was sent for repair a number of times (NB, the laptop had repairs for different issues each time it was sent for repair). We should have spotted this and taken corrective action sooner. We have offered Ms Taylor a brand new laptop and as requested have returned her hard drive.
2. James Leighfield
We are sorry for the confusion caused when Mr Leighfield's laptop was sent for repair. He had changed address in the middle of the process and he had requested a rerouted delivery but unfortunately we failed to action this. His laptop has now been returned to him repaired.
3. Amy Iche
We apologise for the miscommunication which occurred after her laptop was sent for repair. This is a case of us not delivering within the timeframe we gave her to repair. Ms Iche has now received her working laptop back and we have refunded the fee which she had paid for the 'Fault and Fix' service.
4. Carly Chandler
We are extremely sorry that we have been unable to locate the hard drive from Ms Chandler's laptop - the laptop arrived at the repair centre without the hard drive in place - and we have made every effort to locate it. We would like to assure Ms Chandler that we have a robust process for securely destroying any hard drives that we replace or remove from customers' machines as part of a repair and her unit will have been disposed of in accordance with this process. We have given Ms Chandler a new laptop along with free software.
5. Robert Hickey
We apologise for the confusion around the status of Mr Hickey's laptop when it was taken in for repair - (however it is certainly not the case that a whole pallet of laptops went missing). Mr Hickey's laptop has now been located though he opted to accept a refund instead.
6. Kim Payne
We are sorry that Ms Payne had not received her laptop back once it had been repaired. Unfortunately there was a mix up in the delivery addresses- there was another customer A.Payne on the system. Her laptop has now been repaired
7. Michelle Morgan
We are sorry that we failed to repair Ms Morgan's laptop in the promised time of 7 days as stated in her policy, as well as for the miscommunication on our part. We are sorry that she received the wrong laptop, and although her original laptop has now been located, Ms Morgan's hard drive has been returned to her and, due to the time frames involved her unit has been replaced with a new one.