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CX Q&A with Mohammed Chaara

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Mohammed Chaara

Director of the Customer Insight Center of Excellence, Strategy and Analytics

Lenovo views aftermarket excellence as a strategic priority that yields significant revenue growth potential and is emerging as a leader in leveraging text mining in the aftermarket as a key tool for both product development and marketing. They have also introduced a powerful new aftermarket model through which PCs themselves are provided as a service, thus freeing up customers to redirect capital to their core business. Mohammed Chaara, Director of the Customer Insight Center of Excellence, Strategy and Analytics, says the company relies on a vast network of partners to deliver on Lenovo’s promise to customers.

The company’s insight center uncovers and amplifies the voice of the customer (VOC) through advanced data analysis and text mining from diverse social media channels.

“The text analytics tool that we've enabled is game-changing,” he says. “The Customer Insight Center of Excellence is focused on understanding customer experience and recommending ways that we can optimize our customer experience through data analysis, so we spend a lot of time working on VOC and how can we extract meaning out of that voice to identify opportunities for improvement and customer experience. We view it as a true end-to-end view of customer experience.”

In one example of the aftermarket value of smart text mining, Chaara says the redevelopment of the W-series keyboard was reconsidered—and reversed—after the analysis found that gamers were devoted to the original keyboard configuration.

“We realized that the base customers for the W-series keyboard were gamers and not necessarily the target segment that marketing had in place,” he says. “We found that gamers were very protective of the layout of their keyboard, so we listened to that feedback and reverted to the previous version.”

Chaara reveals that when it comes to aftermarket excellence in the industry, it is not always about doing everything for customers; enabling DIY services is still important.

“Our e-support experience is one of the big ways we’re helping customers find resources for aftermarket support,” he says. “As I started working on these VOC projects, the first thing we tried to understand was why customers were calling customer support. We looked at the volume of calls and identified opportunities for improvement. Our analysis revealed that a lot of customers had issues they wanted to resolve on their own, but they needed to have clarity around how to go about doing that. We launched an entire project to improve documentation and online information for customers, and we've seen a significant improvement in customer experience as a result.”

Chaara says challenges to aftermarket excellence often revolve around the global diversity of the service ecosystem.

“In our industry, we are so OEM driven, and we are often dependent on suppliers that are often very hard to reach,” he says. “For example, you may have a product that needs to be delivered in Buenos Aires, but the part is made in Taiwan, and the actual product is manufactured or assembled in China. The OEM model makes it very hard to deliver on time and provide reliable service at a global level, so that is a challenge we are working to address.”

While Lenovo has created a great product experience, the company is looking to create a customized service component that Chaara hopes will provide greater competitive advantage. 

“Having a good service engine is very important because it will ultimately be a revenue engine for us,” he explains. “Revenue contribution from service is relatively small for us now, so it is an area of strategic focus for us because there is so much room to grow in that space.”

Lenovo made a leap forward in the space this year with its offer of PCs as a service, which replaces multiple deals with service vendors and finance companies with a single monthly fee contract. It also spares enterprises and start-ups the capital cost of outfitting offices with fleets of purchased hardware.

Far beyond mere lease agreements, “PCaaS” includes the entire lifecycle cost of tablets and PCs, including support, configuration, asset management, service and end-of-life decommissioning.

When it comes to measuring insights, Chaara says Lenovo has developed a sentiment score system that reveals how customers feel about specific products, experiences or services. They also use customer-centric KPIs, tie them back to business operation KPIs and work to identify correlations between them.

“I think the greatest thing that we're doing is becoming more customer-centric, so the customer is at the epicenter of decision-making at Lenovo,” he says. “This starts with listening to the customer, analyzing the feedback and understanding their experience. It also allows us to identify opportunities to fix and improve things, in addition to how we can maintain and protect the things that we've done well.”