Lenovo Shines an LED on Customers' Perception of Quality

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This is a follow up to last week’s blog on understanding your customers’ perceptions of quality.

As the world’s largest manufacturer of PCs and tablets, Lenovo is always looking for areas to reduce costs while increasing quality and customer satisfaction.  Six months ago, Lenovo implemented the Lenovo Early Detection (LED) system to reduce their $1.2B warranty costs and create a closer connection with their customers.  This cloud-based system has had rapid and significant impact.  Early warning of issues, reduced warranty costs, higher customer satisfaction, and fewer contact center calls.  The core best practices and lessons learned apply across many industries.

42-61740927LED integrates data from Amazon, Best Buy, Facebook, Twitter, various Lenovo sites, warranty claims, call center records, product databases, and more.  Text analytics are used to categorize customer comments according to a common, component-focused taxonomy (e.g., input devices > keyboard > number pad).  Sentiment is assessed at the individual component level to understand the detailed customer perceptions.  The data are run through early warning analytics, and the results are visualized through an intuitive dashboard.  The system highlights statistically significant changes and allows analysts and engineers to drill all the way down to individual comments.

In just the first six months, Lenovo has seen:

  • Over 50% reduction in issue detection time
  • 10-15% reduction in warranty costs from out of norm defects
  • 30-50% reduction in general information calls to the contact center

Those initial benefits have manifested in four key areas:

Early Warning:

The time to detect new customer issues has been reduced from 30-90 days to 15-30 days. That means analysts and engineers know about perceived quality issues weeks or even months sooner.  They’re able to start the problem-solving process earlier and get to the root-cause faster.  For example, after a new product was launched, customers were experiencing a wide range of symptoms including battery not charging, system shutdown, and screen issues.  LED quickly recognized relationships among their complaints and identified a docking issue.  Quality Engineers rapidly figured out the root cause and issued a software update that resolved the issue.

Reduced Warranty Costs:

The improvements in detection time have significantly impacted quality and reduced warranty costs.  Knowing about the issues sooner and resolving them faster has led to a 10% to 15% reduction in warranty costs from out of norm defects.  For example, LED detected a trackpad issue, where the trackpad was often double-clicking instead of single-clicking.  The issue was quickly identified and resolved, greatly reducing warranty costs and the number of customers impacted.

Higher Customer Satisfaction:

Due to the short time period that the LED system has been in place, customer satisfaction data from standard sources is not yet available.  However, non-traditional data sources, such as social media and forums are much faster and have shown increases in positive sentiment, indicating higher customer satisfaction.  In addition, Lenovo has made product changes that were directly driven by customer input and has seen positive response from the market.  For example, before the release of the X1 Carbon, forum data indicated that there was a large contingency of customers that preferred a different keyboard layout than what was planned.  Engineers were able to quickly make the change to the product, thus satisfying a large customer group.

Fewer Call Center Calls:

An additional benefit of the LED system is that Lenovo was able to identify issues in user documentation.  By identifying the key shortcomings in this documentation, they reduced the number of general information calls to the call center by 30%-50%. This saves call center costs, frees up agents for other calls, and improves the quality of customer feedback.

Lenovo has already expanded the use of LED from the initially planned 15 users to over 300. The initial benefits described here are continuing to grow as these new users take advantage of the system.  Additional details are available in this Lenovo customer success story.  The future is bright as Lenovo continues to shine a light on their customers’ perceptions of quality.

For more information on Perceptual Quality, read Quality is in the Eye of the Beholder and download You Are Only as Good as Your Customer Thinks You Are.  For more tips on improving field quality, read: 5 Proven Ways to Improve Field Quality Performance.

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About Author

David Froning

Sr. Manager of IIOT & Heavy Industry Solutions

David Froning is the Sr. Manager of IIOT & Heavy Industry Solutions. His team manages SAS solutions related to Quality, Warranty, Asset Performance, Energy Forecasting, and the Internet of Things. He works with manufacturers to develop solutions for industry issues such as fraud detection, early warning, and accelerated problem solving. Prior to SAS, He worked for General Motors where he managed the development, operation, and continual improvement of quality and warranty information systems. Dave earned a BS from Michigan State University and an MS from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. In addition to subscribing to this blog, you can follow Dave's updates on Twitter @DaveFroning and LinkedIn.

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