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Channel Satisfaction Survey: 'Rev up Support'

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DQI Bureau
New Update

The survey that most vendors wait year long to lay their hands on is

finally out. The good news is that partners are happy with product quality and

brand image, which are the most important criteria while doing business with a

vendor.

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The most serious revelation of this survey is that vendors have been rated

low on the third-most important criterion–after-sales service. Also important

is the fact that vendors are lagging behind in meeting the promised turnaround

times.

The fourth DQCI Channel Satisfaction Survey (CSS) 2003 conducted by IDC India

covered 1,002 partners across all types of channel categories. Key distributors,

resellers, retailers, network integrators, systems integrators, corporate

resellers, and assemblers, were all covered in this survey.

What

micro Attributes Say
Channel

partners are tuned to the fact that technology advancement and redundancy

renders more challenge to the IT industry. Hence, they aptly feel that ‘technological

leadership' of a product adds value to it. For them, a quality product

also should be user friendly and a good quality brand should have the

complete range available in its basket.


Strong brand positioning by a vendor not only helps create awareness and

pull for the brand in the market, it also reduces pressure on the channel

in selling the product. A good brand image also helps the channel to churn

out good profit margin. Partners also feel that it adds to their prestige

to have a renowned brand in their kitty.


For 'marketing support', partners feel that vendors should undertake joint

advertising along with them. Vendors’ ability to provide satisfactory

service is also a key issue for partners.
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The survey was undertaken for a wide geographic coverage. Cities that were

covered in the survey are Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad,

Ahmedabad, Pune, Chandigarh, and Lucknow. The results of the survey were

concluded on the basis of 21 micro attributes that nearly covered every

parameter required in the building of a company’s equity through channel

loyalty.

Vendors have to increasingly look at quality, satisfaction and loyalty as

keys for achieving market leadership. Understanding what drives these critical

elements, how they are linked, and how they contribute to a company's overall

equity is fundamental to success. The 21 micro attributes were further evaluated

to arrive at the following seven macro attributes:

  • Product quality
  • Brand image
  • After-sales support
  • Marketing support
  • Commercial terms
  • Relationship management and
  • Online support
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Based on the importance and performance of these attributes, the survey

arrived at four tactical resource allocations that vendors need to ‘improve,

leverage, watch and maintain.’

What

Macro Attributes Say
In current

channel perspective, 'product quality' coupled with 'brand image' plays an

important role in partners' satisfaction with a vendor. 'Profit margin' is

the basic necessity for the channel and a partner will keep only that

product which yields desired margins.

Having a quality product with a strong

brand image, the channel is assured that it will move fast and they need

not push it too much. The channel margins are hit when a product is not

strong on the above two parameters.

Online support is neither applicable for

all vendors nor for all partners. However, with infrastructure building

up, this might become an important attribute in future.

The DQCI CSS findings say that ‘technology leadership’, ‘strong brand

positioning’ and ‘diversity of product range’ are given high importance by

channels. These are some of the areas that vendors should always address. ‘Product

pricing’ and ‘point-of-sales material’ are the two areas where most of the

vendors have maintained high performance. But considering the fact that these

are not very important concerns for partners, vendors may try and maintain these

at the current level.

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Online support, and training and certification are two areas which partners

feel to be of lower importance, but at the same time have expressed

dissatisfaction over. But vendors should remember that as the industry’s

infrastructure improves, these parameters will become an important factor for

growth. So vendors will need to keep a watch on these areas too.

Top

10 Areas of Dissatisfaction
Reward systems
Overall effectiveness of online support
Training and certification programmes for channel partners
Promptness of services through online resources
 Profit margins
Richness of online resources offered
Transparency in commercial terms and policies
Turnaround time of aftersales service
Consistency and effectiveness of
communication with partners
Innovativeness of market development programs

A key finding is that vendors should improve on their ability to provide

satisfactory repair and replacement services with reduced turnaround time.

Obviously, this is a serious issue that they should take up immediately.

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After-sales service, time and again, has proved to be one of the most

important criteria deciding the fate of any vendor in the long run. The survey

findings say that vendors have failed miserably in providing the right

after-sales support.

Partners are also dissatisfied over matters like transparency in commercial

terms and policies; richness of online resources offered; profit margins;

promptness of online resources; and reward systems.

Most Preferred Vendors



The methodology for arriving at the best vendor for each category does not

have any dependence on the calculation of satisfaction scores of vendors. A

simple voting was conducted to identify the best vendor. For each product within

a category, respondents were asked to name the best vendor and substantiate it

by choosing the strongest reason from a list of five generic reasons.

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For arriving at the best hardware/software vendor, the vendor bagging the

number one position for the maximum number of products within the category was

chosen.

NELSON JOHNY in Mumbai  For full

report see DQ Channels India Dec 16-31 issue

Top Seven Macro Attributes

Given below

are the seven top-rated macro attributes listed in order of their

importance. Each macro attribute has a subset of three micro attributes.

All the 21 micro attributes were evaluated to arrive at the seven macro

attributes. Macro attributes were used to gauge the satisfaction level of

various vendors in the DQCI Channel Satisfaction Survey-2003:

  1. Product Quality



    Technological leadership of the product


    Diversity of the product range


    User-friendliness of the product

  2. Brand Image



    Strong brand positioning by the vendor


    Prestige in being a channel partner of the vendor


    Respectability image of the vendor in a target market

  3. After-sales Support



    Availability and competence of managers/helpdesk
    services



    Ability to provide satisfactory repair and replacement
    services



    Turnaround time in providing after-sales support

  4. Marketing Support



    Vendor’s advertising


    Point-of-sales material


    Innovativeness of market development programs

  5. Commercial Terms



    Product pricing


    Profit margins


    Transparency in commercial terms and policies

  6. Relationship Management



    Consistency and effectiveness of communication with
    partners



    Training and certification programmes for channel
    partners



    Reward systems

  7. Online Support



    Richness of online resources offered


    Promptness of services through online resources


    Overall effectiveness of online support

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