Increasing customer reach and boosting confidence in the brand through its service initiatives are major focus areas for Sony India this year. The company has set itself a target of setting up a network of 160 service centres by March 2004. Towards that end, it has already opened 22 centres since January this year, to take the tally to 139. It simultaneously opened four new Sony authorised service centres in October and nine in November. Of the nine that became operational this month, four each are in the north and west and one in the east. Of the 139, five are company-owned centres in the five metros. The next phase will see the opening of service centres in the semi-urban and rural markets.
The service centres are all automated and connected online with Sony’s regional spare parts hub based in Singapore, making it possible to access spare parts at the click of a mouse. The company has been able to reduce lead time from the earlier six to seven days to 48 hours or at the most 72 hours in the case of smaller and far-flung towns. Its TRAINNET software also links the centres with the Sony network and helps keep engineers abreast with the latest technology.
‘‘Increasing our presence in the smaller towns and cities is an important objective for the company this year. The service network has helped considerably in facilitating the ability to improve response time, besides the assurance of genuine quality service. The expansion of the service network will be followed by further development of the sales channel through our trade partners,’’ says the company spokesperson.
It will focus on increasing and improving consumer touchpoints by enriching and widening the retail channels. Sony World outlets, which contribute 22% to overall sales, will be increased from 40 to 50, Sony exclusive showrooms from 60 to 90 and multi-brand outlets (MBOs) to 2,000. It also has plans to increase direct customer interaction through greater use of outreach programmes like roadshows and promotion schemes.
Sony India is looking at a 70% growth in turnover this year over last year’s Rs 800 crore.