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Thursday, October 24, 2013

It’s not your fault, so why wait for your mobile phone?

David Heled writes:

By the end of next year, there will be more mobile phone subscriptions than people in the world, according to a UN agency report published in May. There are currently 7.1 billion people in the world and around 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions. This figure is only set to grow.

The dependency on mobile phones is at an all-time high. Used for everything from the weekly grocery shop to monitoring heart rate, it’s no underestimation to say that we would be lost without our mobile phones. So when it takes days for your phone to be repaired, it has a considerable impact on your normal daily life.

In a recent study from Cellebrite, the market leader in retail mobile content transfer, 69 per cent of people claimed that the typical three-day wait for mobile phone repairs was unacceptable. A further 46 per cent said they would feel uncomfortable sending their mobile phone away for repair due to the amount of data that is kept on their device; a figure that is completely justified when taking into consideration how much information is potentially given away.

What many people are not aware of is that in 60 per cent of cases, the issue with the smartphone is software related and can be resolved within minutes but still, people send their phones away.

Common faults that customers complain about

One of the most common faults reported by customers, resulting in sending their phones for repairs, is that “the battery drains too quickly”, but this is just in comparison with old feature mobiles that could easily function for three or four consecutive days without the need for recharging. Smartphones process and store far more data than the old feature mobile would, and with the adoption of mobile apps – the strain that is put on the battery life will cause it to drain quicker. That’s just the trade-off that exists when you have a device that you can use for virtually anything.

Another fault that is commonly reported is that the volume on a customer’s mobile phone does not work. This is usually because the volume settings are incorrectly set and, unlike old feature phones, there are as many as seven volume settings to contend with.

A lack of internet connection can also be a problem that’s brought to operators and again. This is normally down to the phone being originally set to airplane mode or having data services inadvertently switched off.

What can customers demand from operators?

Despite the many misconceptions of mobile faults, mobile phones do stop working, it’s inevitable. But data can live on with operators able to transfer all your data from the broken mobile phone to the new device. Phone-to-phone content transfer can be done in-store and in a relatively short space of time. It certainly doesn’t take days and there’s no need to send your phone away for repairs.

Many faults can, however, be detected and corrected in your operator’s store. This can involve simply changing the configuration of the email and phone settings. There is also a web-based service that consumers can use that will repair their phone remotely, involving a remote takeover and support via an operator’s call centre.

Put simply: you don’t have to relinquish your mobile phone. Operators have the solutions to most reported mobile phone faults, and this doesn’t involve sending the mobile phone away for repairs – it can be done in-store.

Time is wasted sending phones away for repair, especially seeing as many of the reported faults are ones that can be corrected in a matter of minutes. Even if there isn’t time to go to a store to get the phone fixed, it can be repaired remotely.

The increase in mobile phone subscriptions will lead to more reported problems with devices, but operators and customers alike should be aware that the culture of sending phones away for repair is fading as diagnostic solutions become more readily available.

David Heled is VP of research & development at Cellebrite.

We talked to Dave Golding of Cellebrite about smartphone fault diagnosis in a podcast last year. You can listen to the interview via the built-in audio player on our website or by downloading the MP3 file.

Author: The Fonecast
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