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In the Fast Lane: Vietnam Stands Out With Stable Economic Growth and Opens Up New Prospects for Mobile and IoT Brands

Stefan Gyarfas

  ᅠ

The hidden champion Vietnam has developed into Asia’s growth pearl without almost anyone noticing. While the global focus is mainly on China and India, the smaller country of Vietnam enjoys many advantages. For example, the government ensures orderly participation in global economic affairs and invests substantially in infrastructure. The country is politically stable and benefits from a young and tech-savvy population. We shall report from our own firsthand experience about what companies should know about Vietnam and what you should keep in mind when entering the Vietnamese market.

 

 

 

 

Vietnam expects to have improved its position again among the ASEAN States when the World Bank publishes its annual “ease of doing business” index in a short while. Vietnam has occupied a leading position among the group of ten Southeast Asian countries for several years, which is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The World Bank is thereby confirming that it is relatively easy to gain a foothold in Vietnam compared to other Asian growth markets, especially for foreign companies. While countries like the Philippines and Indonesia can also show off attractive growth prospects, Vietnam offers stability – something, which the other countries only can to a lesser extent.

 

On the Way to Becoming an Industrialized Country With 6 Percent GDP Growth

 

This was one of many reasons to intensify our involvement in the Vietnamese market. We have recently formed a joint venture with Digiworld, one of the largest wholesalers for electronic products in Vietnam, meaning we can support global providers of smartphones, wearables and IoT devices when they enter the Vietnamese market. At the same time, we have expanded our global partnership with Samsung and are now operating some of Samsung’s largest Customer Service Plazas, in which Vietnamese Samsung customers receive quick help if they have questions about their smartphone, tablet or other electronic devices, or if they need repairs. By the way, you can view the entire story in our new video. Like no other country in the Asia-Pacific, Vietnam has stood out for many years with a stable economy and GDP growth rates that have ranged from 5.2 percent to 7.1 percent since 2007. This means that Vietnam is growing more than the average in the Asia-Pacific, with growth rates of 5.5 percent predicted for this year. The Vietnamese government is paving the way to become an industrialized country through opening up to global markets and foreign investors. The share of the industrial and service industry is meanwhile more than 60 percent. As a result, Vietnam clearly stands out from its neighboring countries, where agriculture and fishing still dominate economic activity.

 

The Journey From Being Underdog, to Hidden Champion to Growth Pearl

 

Vietnam is still regarded by many as the underdog of Asia. The country appears to be too small in comparison to China or India, though appearances are deceptive. With 96 million inhabitants, Vietnam ranks among the ten largest of the 50 countries in Asia and ranks 15th worldwide. What’s more, the Vietnamese population, with an average age of just 30, is younger than average and is very open to innovation and new technologies. “The small China” or “New India” is likely to emerge as one of the most attractive growth markets in the world, especially for globally active providers of mobile and IoT devices. To date, smartphones have only reached 26.4 percent of the population. The need to catch up is enormous, yet thanks to huge investment in infrastructure and network expansion, the Vietnamese government is creating the conditions for a rapid digitalization of society and the working world. Chinese and Korean providers have particularly recognized this potential and have been expanding in Vietnam for some time now. While Samsung and OPPO clearly dominate the market with shares of 28 percent and 25 percent respectively, Apple comes in at 7 percent. While the demand for Western technologies and brands is higher than ever, Vietnamese consumers are pragmatic and seek to get good value for money. People prefer to buy in a retail shop on-site. Due to climatic conditions, Vietnam is a country with a fast growing footprint of shopping malls. Shopping is an experience and buying behavior is impulsive – it’s all about touching and trying. Once the decision has been made, the device must be ready for use immediately. The selfie culture is very strong in Vietnam and that first selfie with the new purchased smartphone has a very high priority. With the climatic conditions and the sometimes-extreme use of electronic devices, service requirements are high and growing for manufacturers. Repair rates are 30% higher than Western countries. At the same time, consumers expect rapid help if there is a device fault. The repair takes place within an hour at the Samsung Customer Service Plazas, which we operate. As is the case with shopping, the service becomes an experience: During the waiting period, customers can try out the latest device models, or watch the repair process of their device. In the best sense of the word, people are curious in Vietnam, which is what makes the current market so exciting – there is hardly another one like it!

 

Summary: Vietnam is one of the most stable growth markets in Asia, something which has long been undiscovered with China and India in the limelight. Manufacturers of electronic devices that want to enter the Vietnamese market should cooperate closely with Vietnamese specialists in the country. From our own experience, we know that local empowerment from day one promises the greatest chances of success. Provide room for maneuver and freedom of choice for your teams and partners. Then Vietnam could become a success story for you as well!

 

Stefan Gyarfas is Director of Strategic Projects at B2X.

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Global Doesn’t Always Mean Global: Why Only a Few BPO Providers Are Able to Offer After-Sales Outsourcing in Every Country

Rainer Koppitz

  ᅠ

Do complex challenges call for simple solutions? Not always. You will quickly find at least a dozen BPO providers that can provide a global offshore solution if you want to standardize mainstream processes from accounting to sourcing across the globe and want to outsource to a shared service center. However, this is not as easy for after-sales outsourcing, since customer care requirements vary considerably from country to country. Regional competence and a local presence are thus paramount.

 

 

 

 

In my last blog post we looked at the success factors of after-sales outsourcing. In addition to deep customer care expertise, a complete solution that covers all after-sales disciplines and a commitment to joint success, the choice of a BPO partner should be dependent on their global presence. I would like to focus on this aspect once again since it is often neglected in discussions on after-sales BPO. All major BPO vendors position themselves globally, meaning they have a global coverage of 80 percent or more. Outsourcing providers feel they are maintaining their global promise in accordance with the good old 80/20 rule – they are present in at least 80 percent of countries and well, it is acceptable to ignore the other 20 percent.

 

BPO Solutions for Markets Where Global Standards Do Not Work

 

We know from our own experience that most device manufacturers do not face their biggest challenges in established markets like North America, Europe or the well-developed parts of Asia, which all fall in the 80 percent category. The real challenges are to provide excellent customer care in the remaining 20 percent; in markets that promise huge growth on the one hand, but which also have special requirements for after-sales services on the other. A truly global BPO partner should be able to support mobile and IoT brands with a world-class after-sales solution even in markets where global standards do not work.

 

For the IoT and smartphone industries, it is countries like India, Brazil, Russia and Vietnam above all where there will be huge growth in the future. While growth in the smartphone and tablet industry is stagnating or slow in many established markets, emerging markets are experiencing growth rates well into the double-digit range, and in the IoT segment it is even up to several hundred percent annually. Penetration rates for smartphones and other connected devices are still low and the need to catch up is enormous.

 

Emerging Mobile and IoT Markets With New After-Sales Requirements

 

Rapid growth is causing new demands to be placed on customer care. Many customer needs and preferences are emerging as a result of the increasing prevalence and use of smartphones, tablets, wearables, virtual reality headsets and other IoT devices. Service and support concepts that work in established markets are not necessarily suitable everywhere and rarely meet the needs of users in new emerging markets.

 

India is such an example. Having become the fastest growing mobile market in the world with annual growth rates of up to 30 percent, the smartphone is the primary device for accessing the Internet. Mobile Internet, messaging, social media and online shopping: 60 percent of Internet users in India had their first online experience on their smartphone and dependency on it is correspondingly high. Offline service channels such as walk-in service centers are the first port of call when a device does not work. As a global BPO partner, we offer our customers in India, which include Apple, Lenovo, OnePlus, Samsung and Xiaomi, a solution that best meets these local needs. We now operate one of the most advanced customer care solutions in the country with 240 service centers, where we provide personal support and fast repairs.

 

Global After-Sales Platform, But Customer Care Operations Directly Onsite

 

As a global BPO provider for after-sales services, we address specific local requirements, just like in India, through a mix of our global technology platform, a comprehensive service partner network with more than 500 local partners and our own after-sales expert teams on the ground. It is this triad that ensures the efficiency of a global after-sales platform and that works best in markets like India, Brazil, Russia and Vietnam.

 

Speaking of Vietnam, we will report about our activities in the Vietnamese market in our next blog post. Just a few days ago, we announced our new joint venture with Digiworld and our extended partnership with Samsung – take a look at our new video. Together with Digiworld, we offer mobile and IoT brands a comprehensive go-to-market solution including after-sales service. Samsung is one of the first major brands for which we are operating as an after-sales BPO partner with our new solution in Vietnam to provide end-to-end customer care for smartphones, tablets, connected home appliances, TVs and other IoT devices. Send us an email if Vietnam or other emerging markets are on your agenda. We have the solution for you!

 

Rainer Koppitz is CEO of B2X.

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Winning with Customer Care Outsourcing: Four Key Success Factors in After-Sales BPO Projects

Rainer Koppitz

  ᅠ

In my last blog post, we were dealing with the complexity of after-sales business process outsourcing (BPO). Smartphone and IoT brands rely on strong BPO partners to provide an excellent customer care experience across the globe. However, not many providers are in the position to offer a truly complete after-sales solution. Today, we will talk about what you should bear in mind when choosing your BPO partner.

 

 

 

 

1. After-Sales Competence and Operational Experience

 

As one of the few direct interfaces to your customers, after-sales service is a core process for every mobile and IoT brand. When selecting your BPO partner, rely on providers with proven after-sales service experience. With the increasing amount of different types of consumer IoT devices and numerous connected apps and services, the demand for seamless customer care is on the rise. For you as a manufacturer, outsourcing after-sales service to a competent partner is an efficient way of avoiding painful learning processes. Customer care requires special know-how and therefore this advice should be kindly taken to heart: Choose a BPO partner who can prove their competence based on success stories and who has achieved stable growth in after-sales service BPO for many years. This is the only way to avoid long learning curves, which you would want to bypass by outsourcing customer care.

 

2. Global Presence in 100 Countries or Even More

 

After-sales service is a truly global business. There are hardly any smartphone or IoT brands geographically limiting themselves. In addition to world market leaders like Apple and Samsung, emerging Chinese brands have been pushing into global markets for several years now. Even young IoT startups have the opportunity to expand globally shortly after their launch. You should rely on a partner who is able to support your global go-to-market. Your business can quickly expand to more than 100 countries. Select a BPO provider with global presence, and above all, a partner that can also help you in markets in which customer care is complex. Countries such as Brazil, India and Russia face numerous challenges because, for example, importing spare parts requires specialized knowledge or demanding consumer protection laws have special requirements. Rely on a partner for whom this is not new territory.

 

3. After-Sales Service from A to Z

 

Look out for the completeness of your BPO solution when choosing your partner. After-sales service includes many disciplines – from handling the first contact with your customers through online support and call centers, the repair of damaged devices in walk-in service or repair centers, to spare parts supply and the underlying technology platform. From our own experience, we know that the customer care experience breaks when different parties are involved in a process. A partner that offers you a complete, one-stop-shop solution will manage the entire customer care process and give you peace of mind, which is especially relevant when you are an emerging mobile or IoT brand wanting to fully concentrate on your core business.

 

4. Commitment to Mutual Success

 

Rely on a partner who, together with you, achieves your goals and has their skin in the game. In conventional BPO projects for back office functions such as accounting or procurement, providers charge for their services according to their time and effort. Savings you make by outsourcing rather than having your in-house organization backs the business case. According to our own experience, savings in after-sales BPO projects amount to 30 percent or more but simplicity, one-stop-shopping and converting fixed into variable cost are equally strong reasons for outsourcing. In the end, customer satisfaction will tell you whether your project is successful. Specialized after-sales BPO partners link some of their compensation to customer satisfaction or net promoter score and demonstrate their commitment to your mutual success.

 

Summary: With the sheer exploding number of consumer IoT devices in the coming years and numerous new players in the market, excellence in customer care is becoming increasingly important. However, due to the growing complexity it is becoming even more costly. As a result, new and established mobile and IoT brands will not be able to avoid using end-to-end BPO solutions for after-sales services. B2X works with established brands such as Apple, Samsung and Microsoft, but also partners with emerging IoT brands like Zerotech. If you want to know more about how we can support you in after-sales service BPO, please send us an email and follow B2X on LinkedIn!

 

Rainer Koppitz is CEO of B2X.

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After-Sales Service Outsourcing: Why Complete BPO Solutions for Smartphone and IoT Manufacturers Are the Exception So Far

Rainer Koppitz

 

 

The market for business process outsourcing (BPO) services is enormous. However, the gap in the after-sales segment is also significant. Hardly any of the big BPO providers are able to offer a comprehensive solution for manufacturers of smartphones and consumer IoT devices. These, in turn, rely on smart outsourcing services because few can afford their own after-sales organization.

 

 

After-sales service is an essential business process for every manufacturer of connected electronic devices. People who purchase smartphones, wearables, virtual reality headsets, drones and other consumer IoT devices require seamless support throughout the entire life cycle. This includes setup and configuration of a device after purchase, questions about optimal use and quick help if something doesn’t work or needs to be repaired. With the rising number of devices in every household, the desire for a smooth service experience is growing. We’ve mentioned the numbers on our blog before: By 2020, around 6 billion smartphones and another 14 billion consumer IoT devices will be used worldwide. Although manufacturers try to ensure maximum ease of use, our networked world is becoming more complex.

 

Growing After-Sales Service Demand with Rising IoT Prevalence

 

This complexity equally affects after-sales service. For equipment manufacturers, this means that it is becoming increasingly challenging to provide users with an excellent customer care experience. But above all, it is becoming more expensive! Customer care is the flagship of every brand, and after-sales service has the key role of nurturing and maintaining this flagship – around the clock, anywhere in the world. Every service interaction with a customer is a moment of truth, and very few customers give a brand a second chance once they’ve been disappointed: As we stated in our last blog post about customer care in 2027, failure is not an option!

 

But how can a single manufacturer live up to this requirement? Leading mobile brands are represented in more than 100 countries and have annual device sales in the ten- to hundred-million range. Even up-and-coming IoT startups are represented worldwide within just a short period of time. The smartphone and IoT business is a global business, but only few providers can afford an after-sales organization that is able to manage customer care processes globally and monitor KPIs. The tremendous fixed costs for resources, processes and tools would destroy the balance sheet. Economies of scale are not feasible for an individual manufacturer, and many manufacturers consider after-sales service a fifth wheel anyway.

 

Big BPO Providers Are Neglecting the After-Sales Market

 

If a task within a company is not perceived as a core competency, the call for outsourcing quickly follows. We have seen an outsourcing boom in the past two decades. More than $140 billion was spent on BPO services last year alone – and the trend is growing. The list of the largest BPO segments is dominated by back-office functions suitable for outsourcing: finance, HR and procurement. In the customer care area, BPO services are restricted to offshore call centers and the processing of warranty claims. Those, looking for comprehensive BPO services in the after-sales area, search in vain. However, given previously described framework conditions, after-sales service is an outsourcing candidate par excellence.

 

As a BPO provider for after-sales service, we say: Great! Nevertheless, it’s worth taking a look behind the scenes. Why do BPO providers struggle to offer attractive after-sales service outsourcing? For large BPO providers such as Accenture, Capgemini, HCL, IBM or TCS, covering after-sales subareas such as call center services from their central offshore locations is an obvious choice. But as soon as it comes to services such as repair management, which aren’t supplied centrally, their service ends. This creates a gap in the market that is anything but small: According to our own calculations, the market volume for after-sales BPO services for mobile and IoT devices is currently around $50 billion – a gigantic market.

 

Mobile and IoT Brands Require Comprehensive After-Sales Service

 

We have clearly positioned ourselves in this market and are now working with six of the top ten smartphone brands. We entered the IoT market some time ago and offer manufacturers of all sizes a global after-sales solution. Together with our customers, we focus on delivering an excellent customer care experience and taking responsibility for customer satisfaction. We cover the entire after-sales process – from on-device diagnostics to online self-help and call centers to intelligent logistic solutions and device repair inside and outside the warranty. Our projects are complex yet successful – but I’ll discuss the success factors behind after-sales BPO projects in my next blog post in more detail. I look forward to your feedback. Contact us today, and don’t forget to follow B2X on LinkedIn!

 

Rainer Koppitz is CEO of B2X.

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Customer Care 2027 – 3 Forecasts of How Mobile and IoT Innovations will Radically Change Customer Service in the Future

Kimberly Meyer

  ᅠ

10 years of B2X and 10 years full of innovation. In the past decade, the mobile industry has made history at a rapid pace. We reported about the most important milestones from 2007 to 2017 in our last blog post. How will this story progress? Universal connectivity through mobile companions and intelligent IoT devices radically changes the way people get help. Expert support via Augmented Reality and self-healing devices create a completely new experience: Service is always and everywhere present and sometimes we don’t even sense it – three forecasts for customer care in 2027.

 

 

1. Invisible Customer Care through Self-Healing Devices

 

Failure is not an option. With increasing dependency on smartphones and networked IoT devices, total failure should certainly not happen. Fortunately, our mobile companions are getting smarter and will be taking care of themselves by 2027. Today, the requirements for excellent customer care are quite clear. The service should be quick, competent and available at any time, yet still today not all mobile and IoT brands are in fact able to meet this expectation.

 

However, this challenge is relativized when we look at the evolution of user experience. Artificially intelligent assistants like Amazon’s Alexa are the harbingers of a new device generation that intelligently interacts with users. Future device generations have the potential to manage themselves independently and in intelligent interaction with their users. New possibilities arise in customer care with self-diagnosis and self-healing. Gartner speaks of conventional systems and digital mesh, meaning an intelligent network of interconnected devices that monitor and control each other. While we as users today call apps and services by touch, our devices in the future will think that on our behalf. Gartner describes this phenomenon as ambient digital experiences. Everything runs automatically and problems are already solved before we even realize they exist, as if the hand of a ghost controlled it.

 

2. Competent Help Always and Everywhere via Augmented Reality

 

Augmented Reality (AR) brings customer care to a new dimension in the truest sense of the word. Holoportation brings service experts to customers and enables them to provide quick and competent help on-site, albeit in a completely virtual way. If a smartphone needs repaired, customers do without waiting times at the service center. The required spare part including suitable tools will be supplied by means of a drone. A service expert is connected by AR and assists customers personally in the repair procedure – virtual help to self-help.

 

AR is about to enter the mass market. Immersive experiences are going to be a natural part of everyday life. In particular, support requests for device configuration or connecting to other devices can be solved by AR-based support agents via Holoportation – directly with customers on-site, highly personalized and step by step until a solution is found. The universal availability of data, artificial intelligence and better networked IoT devices support the service process and ensure the entire customer experience runs more smoothly than ever before.

 

3. Device and Service Experience Merge Together

 

According to a Study by Business Insider, twelve positive customer experiences are needed to compensate for a single negative experience. However, no customer will give a brand twelve new chances to prove their service strengths. In our global study Smartphone and IoT Consumer Trends 2017, we came to a similar conclusion, namely that customer care is now the most influential factor when it comes to customer satisfaction.

 

The importance of customer care for the entire brand experience will continue to grow. Self-healing devices and ambient customer care experiences will result in customers no longer differentiating between the device-related user experience and the service-related customer care experience. Both experiences will merge together. Excellent service will be perceived as at least as essential as innovative product features. If device manufacturers do not keep their brand promise and if the service does not work smoothly, their brand will be considered broken. If a brand succeeds in delivering an exceptionally good experience, it will become a champion. These are the new rules for customer care 2027.

 

Summary: Customer care innovations ensure that service is perceived less and less consciously by 2027. Self-healing devices, ambient experiences and Augmented Reality will make service available everywhere. Customer care becomes a feature just like any other feature and it simply has towork. Mobile and IoT brands who disappoint their customers will be punished all the harder by their customers’ resentment. Service excellence will be compulsory for everyone else. How do you manage your customer care? Send us an email and follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn!

 

Kimberly Meyer is Head of Global Marketing & Communication at B2X.

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From the iPhone to Google Glass to 14 Billion Connected IoT Devices: Mobile Industry Highlights From the Past 10 Years

Kimberly Meyer

  ᅠ

10 years of B2X! Our first big anniversary gives us ample reasons to take a look at the milestones of the mobile industry. Our industry has been changing at a rapid pace since the launch of the iPhone. With the introduction of Android, Google laid the foundation for connecting all electronic devices. The Internet of Things was born, while many well-known brands disappeared and new ones were added. We have summarized all the highlights for you in the following blog post and in this additional infographic.

 

 

1. Redefining the Smartphone

 

“It works like magic”. Steve Jobs used these famous words to introduce the first iPhone model to the public in 2007. While Jobs’ way of presenting the new device at the MacWorld in San Francisco was considered legendary from the very first moment, some industry insiders did initially doubt that Apple would be able to turn the entire mobile phone market upside down. Back then, smartphones were regarded as a niche product. BlackBerry was a mobile email machine for business users, which was rather uninteresting for consumers. And then came the iPhone – a phone for a mass market, without a keyboard, having its own operating system and equipped with small software applications called Apps. This was hardly imaginable.

 

It was only when Google presented Android a year later, an open operating system for mobile phones that had a similar logic to Apple and its iPhone that the phone manufacturers’ skepticism and smirks turned increasingly into genuine concerns. Would Apple and Google be in a position to set a trend that the established players had thus far missed? The rest is history. Mobile phones, which are not attractive and have limited functions, now called basic or feature phones, no longer have any role to play. Instead, almost everywhere you look, someone has a smartphone using Apple iOS or Google Android.

 

2. Welcome to the All-Mobile World

 

The new mobile standard 4G which was introduced in 2009 has contributed significantly to the rapid spread of smartphones. Bandwidths, which until then were only available for fixed networks, were suddenly available for mobiles as well. Users have benefited from high-speed Internet, video streaming and many new multimedia applications via mobile phones. When 4G was introduced, it became quite clear that basic phones with small screens and no multimedia functionality had reached their expiry date and now have no role to play in the future.

 

While many manufacturers who were sleeping during the smartphone revolution played catch-up, Apple and Google were already one step ahead. With the introduction of the iPad in 2010, Apple linked the strengths of the PC with the advantages of the smartphone. Unaffected by the tablet-mania that followed in the years after, Google launched a new experiment and presented a connected pair of glasses with Google Glass. Even though the first version was a flop, Google inspired many manufacturers to think about mobile networking beyond smartphones and tablets, and soon Google Glass will make a comeback anyway.

 

3. Emerging Markets on the Rise

 

Over time smart mobile devices have become better, but also more expensive. This meant that new innovations were reserved for markets with strong purchasing power. However, mobile brands are increasingly expanding into emerging growth markets such as Brazil, India and Russia. India is at the top of the table with growth rates of over 40 percent – it has become the second largest smartphone market in the world. This is also the case for new brands, such as for emerging Chinese manufacturers, which are expanding rapidly in the global market. By 2015, six of the world’s top ten smartphone brands were already coming from China.

 

4. IoT Goes Mainstream

 

While the smartphone market is still developing at a steady pace and analysts assume that there will be around 6 billion devices worldwide by 2020, the market for connected IoT devices is multiplying almost by the year. There are already five billion consumer IoT devices in use today and, according to Gartner, there will be 14 billion by 2020. New applications are emerging that are attractive and offer added value. Virtual reality headsets provide a completely new entertainment experience. Smart monitoring and control systems for the home increase the feeling of safety and help to save energy. Wearable devices monitor your own health around the clock. IoT is finally on its way to the mass market, helping people connect all areas of their lives.

 

Summary: The mobile industry has changed so much within a decade and mobile devices have become a deeply integrated part of everyday life. As a customer care provider, we have backed this development with great enthusiasm and look forward to the innovations of the next ten years. You can also read the highlights from the 10 years of B2X in an interview with CEO Rainer Koppitzor check out our new video in which B2X founder Karim Barkawi and CEO Rainer Koppitz tell the entire B2X story!

 

Kimberly Meyer is Head of Global Marketing & Communication at B2X.

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„That the Introduction of the iPhone and the Beginning of B2X Are in the Same Year Is a Nice Coincidence – It Fits Together so Well!“

Kimberly Meyer

 

10 years of B2X! We are celebrating our first big anniversary and are proud of our achievements so far. Founded in 2007 as a startup by Karim Barkawi and a small team of consultants, today B2X is the world’s leading provider of customer care solutions for smartphones and consumer IoT devices. We talked with CEO Rainer Koppitz about the history and future of B2X. Rainer has been managing the global organization with more than 1,000 employees and operations in 140 counties since the beginning of last year.

 

 

B2X Blog: Rainer, can you still remember what kept you busy the most in 2007, the year that B2X was founded?

 

Rainer Koppitz: Yes, quite well, actually. At that time, I was leading the German business of Siemens Enterprise Communications. We faced many challenges, but what has remained in my memory regarding our industry is Steve Jobs and his impressive presentation of the first iPhone model. At a private presentation at Schloss Bensberg, I was one of the first Europeans to hold one in my hands and try some of the new features like flipping through a gallery of pictures – and all of a sudden I knew this device will change how we communicate and work. Interestingly enough, today Apple is one of B2X’s most important customers. That the introduction of the iPhone and the founding date of B2X should be in the same year is a nice coincidence. This was of course not planned, but it does fit together so well.

 

B2X Blog: The motto for the 10th anniversary is “10 Years of Innovation”. Which B2X innovation highlights most impress you?

 

Rainer Koppitz: From today’s point of view, our company founder Karim Barkawi must have had a sixth sense when he began with the idea of B2X. The entire mobile sector was facing a massive transformation that was driven not least by the introduction of the iPhone, as previously mentioned. The industry’s focus was on technology until the mid-2000s, and then a 180-degree shift suddenly happened towards the end user’s experience. Karim hit the nail on the head with the topic of customer care and laid the foundation for everything we’ve achieved.

 

B2X Blog: Can you name a few milestones?

 

Rainer Koppitz: An important first step was certainly the development of a broader customer base. B2X started with BenQ-Siemens as its only customer, but then Motorola (now Lenovo) and Sony Ericsson (now Sony Mobile) were added – and both Sony Mobile and Lenovo are still our loyal customers, by the way. As a result, a global service network emerged, which in turn enabled B2X to offer a very attractive solution to other customers. Today, we have expanded this network into a digitally connected customer care ecosystem and are the leading provider of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) in after-sales services.

 

B2X Blog: What makes B2X different from other providers in the market?

 

Rainer Koppitz: On the one hand, we are not geographically limited and can offer a world-class service solution for our customers even in the most remote regions and in complex markets such as Brazil, India, Vietnam or Russia. On the other hand, we cover the entire range of customer care, from online self-help and contact center services to the repair of electronic devices inside and outside of the warranty period. All processes are supported by our SMARTCARE technology platform – each of our customers knows when, where and how one of their users is being helped. We ensure complete transparency and an excellent customer experience. In fact, no other provider in the market can do that.

 

B2X Blog: Can you give us some insights into B2X’s strategy?

 

Rainer Koppitz: Well, it is no real secret that we are heavily investing in our expansion in the rapidly growing IoT market. Gartner expects there to be 14 billion consumer IoT devices by 2020. This is a gigantic market and we are confident that we will be able to secure leadership early in this market segment. Our organization, our processes and our technology platform are well prepared for this market. And in part, we are automatically growing into this market together with our customers. Apple, Xiaomi or Samsung no longer just provide smartphones, but offer a wide range of connected devices – from smartwatches to networked fridges. In addition, there are a number of special providers in virtual reality, drones, wearables and smart home automation. All of these are very, very exciting target customers for us.

 

B2X Blog: What is your B2X highlight in this anniversary year 2017?

 

Rainer Koppitz: I am very proud of our entire team. Several months ago, we implemented a huge customer project with Microsoft. Our entire team worked day and night to complete everything in a relatively tight time frame. I am extremely grateful for all of this. Furthermore, we have recently been recognized by the Financial Times as one of the fastest growing companies in Europe. What more could you want?

 

Summary: B2X is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year under the motto “10 Years of Innovation” and can look back on an impressive growth story. Founded in 2007 as a startup from a consulting project, today B2X is one of the leading providers of customer care solutions with more than 1,000 employees and a global presence in 140 countries. Many of the world’s leading smartphone and IoT brands rely on B2X, including Apple, Lenovo, Microsoft, Samsung, Sony and Xiaomi. Follow B2X on LinkedIn or Twitter!

 

Kimberly Meyer is Head of Global Marketing & Communication at B2X.

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Spotlight on Russia: Growth Champion With Demanding Smartphone Users and New Perspectives in Customer Care

Alexander Dmitrin and Gennady Morozov

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In our recent global study Smartphone & IoT Consumer Trends 2017, we found a feature that makes Russia stand out when comparing it to other markets. As in hardly any other country, smartphone users emphasize the importance of good customer service. This may be because good service is not always the norm. People have to wait up to 25 days for their device if it needs to be repaired. There is still a lot to do, and for ambitious smartphone and IoT brands, there are tremendous opportunities in the customer care area to help differentiate themselves from competitors.

 

 

When people in Moscow eat breakfast, those in East Siberia are going to sleep. With only eight inhabitants per square kilometer, Russia is the most geographically demanding country in the world. This is not an easy challenge for an industry such as telecommunications, which especially focuses on network coverage and, if possible, reaching every person. However, the Russian mobile industry has developed splendidly in recent years. Of the nearly 140 million inhabitants, 54.7% are now using smartphones. Russia is therefore clearly ahead of the global growth champions Brazil and India, which we closely examined in our previous blog posts.

 

Russian Smartphone Market Is Growing Stronger Than All European Markets

 

After a small weak phase, the Russian smartphone market again gained momentum in growth dynamics. “After a buying spree at the end of 2014, as consumers rushed out to buy expensive smartphones before the prices rose in rubles as the national currency went into free fall, there was a very quiet market in 2015. In 2016, the market regained some of its usual tempo and the transition towards smartphones resumed”, said Simon Baker, analyst at IDC for mobile markets in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

 

With more than 30 million smartphones sold and growth of just under 9 percent, Russia is clearly ahead of all European markets, many of which tend to stagnate or even shrink. For the global market leaders Samsung and Apple, Russia has long been the focus. Chinese providers such as Lenovo, Xiaomi, Huawei and ZTE have also secured their place among the country’s leading smartphone brands.

 

Budget Smartphones Dominate, but Customer Requirements Are Growing

 

Russia’s users know very well by now what they are ready to spend their money on when purchasing their next smartphone. While premium models have been highly successful in the past few years, the trend towards budget models offering all key features at a fair price is growing stronger. According to our study Smartphone & IoT Consumer Trends 2017, 47 percent do not want to spend more than $250 on their next smartphone. IDC found even more astonishing results, namely that about half of the current smartphone demand is for models with a selling price of under $100.

 

At the same time, customer expectations are high. Russia’s smartphone users expect a lot from their smartphone without spending much money, and above all demand reliable customer care. To have this, they would even be willing to spend more. However, mobile brands would have to significantly improve their service. People find a repair time of 72 hours acceptable, yet the actual repair time in Russia can be up to 25 days. This is rather unacceptable, considering 56 percent of Millennials spend more than three hours and 27 percent spend more than five hours a day on their smartphones. 65 percent of Russian smartphone users would not go without their mobile companion even if they were offered a 10 percent salary increase for a month.

 

Customer Satisfaction Through Competence, Transparency and Speed

 

The factors determining the satisfaction level of smartphone users in customer care are not surprising. The list is topped by the service staff’s commitment. Only those who give their mobile companion to a conscientious, experienced service expert for a repair will feel well cared for. Second on the list is the simplicity and transparency of the entire service process, followed by the speed of the service. All of these are not surprising customer expectations, and for smartphone brands that focus on improving these aspects, chances are high to gain a market share in the challenging, yet exciting, Russian market.

 

Summary: With 80 million smartphone users, Russia is easily surpassing its European neighbor markets. Movement in the market has come again after a period of stagnation. Although people tend to favor more affordable smartphone models, providers who focus on competence and speed in customer service have a good chance of winning new customers. B2X has been working in Russia for many years and cooperates with leading mobile brands. Write to us and do not forget to follow B2X on LinkedIn!

 

Alexander Dmitrin is Account Executive, Gennady Morozov is Director Partner Management at B2X Russia.

 

 

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Spotlight on India: Smartphone Addiction Gives Mobile Industry Annual Growth Rates of up to 30 Percent

Maximilian Grabmayr and Melville Fernandes

 

 

With an expected increase of mobile subscribers by more than 50 percent until 2020, India is the global growth champion. The country’s smartphone penetration is at a low 22 percent level and there’s massive room for development. Added to this is an endless enthusiasm for the mobile companions. People in India love their smartphones and literally cannot live without them. 92 percent have their device on them day and night.

 

 

India is on its way to becoming the most populated country on earth. It was only recently that an academic attracted attention by declaring India to be the country with the most residents. Of the 1.3 billion people living in India, just under half have a mobile connection, which, when looking at the percentage, doesn’t sound like very much. However, the absolute numbers do impress. Back in 2015, the GSMA counted 616 million mobile subscribers on the subcontinent. This made India already the second-largest mobile market behind China and ahead of the US.

 

India Is the Fastest Growing Smartphone Market in the World

 

It is this growth perspective that will make India the most exciting global market in the coming years. 330 million new mobile users are expected by 2020, meaning India would have just under 1 billion subscribers. The backlog in the smartphone sector is particularly huge, which, in turn, translates to 1:1 growth opportunities for the mobile industry. Just 22 percent of the population are currently in possession of a smartphone. However, the mobile companions are rapidly capturing the nation. While growth in established markets is expected to be in the low single-digit percentage range, smartphone sales in India are expected to grow by as much as 30 percent annually. India is now officially the fastest growing smartphone market in the world.

 

Smartphone dependency is growing as smartphone penetration increases. Our Smartphone & IoT Consumer Trends 2017 global study which we recently carried out, showed that people in India, like in hardly any other country, are addicted to their mobile devices. 29 percent of Indian Millennials spend more than five hours a day on their smartphone and 31 percent check it more than 100 times a day. 92 percent have their smartphones on them both day and night.

 

For Many Indians, the Smartphone Is the Only Interface to the Digital World

 

Messaging, social media, online shopping – unlike in many western markets, the smartphone as a mobile all-rounder is the only access to the digital world for many. 60 percent of Internet users had their first online experience while using their smartphone. For a long time, India has been a market in which providers gained share at low price points, but our study shows a differentiated picture. While 64 percent spent less than $100 for their current device, less than 2 percent would spend this little on their next smartphone. There is a booming demand in the mid-range segment with smartphones offering all the latest features and functions combined with neat design and a brand appeal that attracts a younger urban generation.

 

In addition to this, there is the growing enthusiasm for new IoT devices especially among the urban population. From virtual reality headsets to the transformation of your own home into a smart home, people who already got used to technology want to connect everything in their lives. Dependence on technology will continue to rise with the arrival of consumer IoT devices. This is accompanied by a development that we observe also in other markets: The more people use their devices, the greater the need for seamless customer care.

 

Personal Customer Care in the Shop Ranks High on the Popularity Scale

 

Although digital transformation is quickly advancing, people in India prefer traditional service channels. Walk-in service centers are the first port of call when a device doesn’t work. Our own experience confirms this: We are investing heavily in the Indian market and operate one of the most advanced customer care ecosystems in the country with 240 walk-in service centers. In these we offer personal support and fast repairs on behalf of brands such as Samsung, Apple, Motorola, Xiaomi, OnePlus and Nubia. Our new video will give you a hands-on impression.

 

Yet from the mobile brands’ point of view, India is a demanding customer care market because most people cannot do without their smartphone. 35 percent would rather give up their favourite food for a year than give up their smartphone, and 8 percent would even be willing to go to jail. If a repair is needed, Indian smartphone users expect quick help. Consumers we surveyed deemed a waiting time of 48 hours acceptable. In reality, repairs can still take up to 20 days, meaning there is still a lot to do in one of the most exciting smartphone markets in the world.

 

Summary: For global tech giants such as Apple and Samsung and for challenger brands such as Xiaomi, OnePlus and Nubia, India is the most exciting smartphone market. Growth rates in the double-digit range and a population that is addicted to smartphones promise positive development in the long run. In addition, there is an increasing demand for consumer IoT devices, which gives further boost to digitalisation. For us at B2X, India is one of the most important markets ever – write to us and follow us on LinkedIn!

 

Maximilian Grabmayr is CEO India and Melville Fernandes is COO India at B2X.

 

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Spotlight on Brazil: Rapidly Increasing Smartphone Prevalence and Tech Obsessed Users Promise Enormous Market Potential

Rodrigo Angel

 

 

Smartphone First is the life motto of many in Brazil. Like in hardly any other country, smartphone users are not only dependent on their mobile companions, they are literally obsessed with them. Our study Smartphone & IoT Consumer Trends 2017 has shown that 90 percent of Brazilian smartphone users have their device with them round the clock. 40 percent of Millennials spend more than 5 hours a day on their smartphones.

 

 

With a projected plus of more than 50 percent in mobile Internet connections by 2020, Latin America is one of the fastest growing smartphone and IoT markets worldwide. This is only logical, since there is still plenty of room for growth with a smartphone penetration of just over 50 percent. In a recently published report, from which the figures come, the GSM Association estimates that over 260 million smartphones will be sold in the region by the end of the decade. Brazil is likely to remain the frontrunner, where smartphone penetration is to reach nearly 80 percent by 2020.

 

Latin America Is Playing in the Smartphone Champions League

 

Latin American markets such as Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru are emerging as leading smartphone and IoT nations and are in no way behind established mobile markets in Asia, Europe and North America. In fact, the opposite is true. Our global study Smartphone & IoT Consumer Trends 2017, in which we carefully examined Brazil alongside Germany, India, Russia and the US, shows that people are literally crazy about their mobile companions.

 

While a global average of 25 percent of Millennials spending more than five hours a day on their smartphones, in Brazil it is a whopping 40 percent, making the Brazilian smartphone community the undisputed leader in the global market. Even 27 percent of the baby boomer generation, which is much less tech-savvy, uses their smartphone for more than 5 hours a day. 56 percent of Millennials check their smartphone more than 50 times a day, and 25 percent check it even more than 100 times. It is hardly surprising that Brazilians would rather go without their car, sex, family, friends and pets than being without their smartphone for a week.

 

Repair Time of 22 Days Spoils the Good Smartphone Mood

 

The importance of customer care is growing with increased dependency on smartphones. 35 percent feel lost without their smartphone, 29 percent feel frustrated and 20 percent feel stressed. If a device feature stops working or if a smartphone breaks completely, quick help is needed. This is the area where the Brazilian smartphone industry has a lot of catching up to do. If a repair is necessary, a processing time of around 72 hours will be accepted by most people, though that is extremely moderate, considering that excellent customer care should solve a problem within just a few hours. The actual average processing time for repairs in Brazil, however, is 22 days! Smartphone brands that focus on improving this aspect have good chances of winning market share in the fast-growing Brazilian mobile market.

 

Furthermore, this strategy could pay off because the respondents in our study said they wanted to spend much more on their next smartphone model. While only 4 percent spent more than $500 on their current device, 27 percent plan to pay that much for their next model. Contrary to many saturated markets, keeping up with the latest trends is an important driver of smartphone demand in Brazil. The brand image and possession of the latest model are the main motivators to purchase a new smartphone.

 

Global Rise of IoT Devices Is Also Unstoppable in Brazil

 

In addition to the continually growing smartphone market, the demand for IoT devices is surging. Here are some of the sample figures from our study: While 6 percent of Brazilians currently have a drone, 44 percent want one in the near future (+680 percent). 8 percent own devices in the area of smart home automation, in the future this could be 49 percent (+530 percent). Further IoT growth categories: Smart security systems with up to +400%, fitness trackers with +380% and virtual reality headsets with a growth potential of +370%. The signs for the smartphone and IoT industry in Brazil are quite good.

 

Summary: Latin America is one of the world’s largest mobile markets with more than 400 million mobile phone users. With a penetration rate of just 65 percent, the growth potential is still enormous. At the same time, people are crazy about their smartphones and new consumer IoT devices. Manufacturers who deal with Latin America’s specific circumstances will experience flourishing demand. B2X has been active in markets such as Brazil, Mexico or Columbia for many years and works with many of the leading mobile brands. Write to us and do not forget to follow B2X on LinkedIn!

 

Rodrigo Angel is Head of Operations Americas at B2X.

 

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  • “Device Mesh” – How Multi-Device Usage Changes The Customer Experience
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  • Who’s hardest on their smart phones? Tales and trends from the customer care trenches.

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