Last week, Servify, a platform that works to improve the ownership experience of products in India, announced an undisclosed amount of pre-series A funding from existing investors Blume Ventures, Barwaki Holdings, and TM Service Technology, as well as new investor Beenext. The Mumbai-based startup powers accidental damage protection for phone brand OnePlus, along with the OnePlus care app, which allows customers to check for errors, avail doorstep pickup for service center, and track the service activity.
Apart from OnePlus, the company also works behind the scenes with Godrej SmartCare, which helps you access authorised service for all Godrej appliances, warranty alerts, and so on. The main Servify app also addresses these functions, and you can scan your bills, warranties, and track service queries for any product.
"In India, there is a lot of attention that's paid to pre-purchase, sites like yours are a great example for people who want to find out what to buy," explains Sreevastha P, founder Servify. "But the post-purchase experience is over, it's up to the customer to manage the experience."
"Even for pre-purchase, some categories like phones, there are a lot of resources," he adds, "but suppose I want to buy an air conditioner, or a washing machine, I still have to go to the store and talk to the salesman."
The company, which launched in January this year, started off by focusing on service procurement, an area that is a particularly big problem in India. With the new funding that has been announced, it's going to start looking at the other stages of ownership as well, starting with community building, and also exploring re-sale. At the same time though, it's going to continue to work on service requests.
As Gadgets 360 has pointed out in the past, there are many problems with the service ecosystem in India - and while we were talking about smartphones, the same issues apply to almost all the gadgets in our homes.
"We're deeply integrated with the brands - we're working with 22 brands now, and in many cases, you might have used our services without even knowing about it," says Sreevasthava. "OnePlus and Godrej are happy to give credit, but with large global brands, things move more slowly."
"In India, we're powering the protection program of one of the biggest phone brands in the world, but they did not want us to say a word, I couldn't issue a press release, even though that would have been great for my company," he adds.
Like other service center companies, Servify makes it's money as a B2B proposition - it does not make its profit from the consumer, but rather acts as a service provider for the companies. The value proposition of the company is that it's consumer focused, claims Sreevastha.
"If you have say 20 products in your house, fridge, ACs, air purifier, televisions, and so on, you'll have to connect to all these different brands," he says. "Then the call center, which is a third party, will coordinate with the service center, which is another company, and then those guys will turn up when they can... it's a mess. We are not another third-party service provider, we are a representative of the brand."
Prior to Servify, Sreevastha had a company called The Service Solutions, and before that, has been working in the service industry for leading phone brands since 2002 - and it's this experience that he believes helps Servify to work well with brands. But although the company is growing and adding partners, Sreevastha is aware that service as a touchpoint will not lead to great engagement for the users.
"Even if you have 10 gadgets in the house, that means you'll talk to my app a max of 10 times in the year, and that too only because something is not working," he says, "that is not a good experience. That's where the next phase for the company, enabled by its fresh funding, will be headed.
"We are working to build products to engage the consumer, and are partnering with different ecosystem players," he explains, "whether it's discovery and purchase platforms, but we're also looking at partnering with re-purchase companies, like a Cashify or Attero."
The idea is to be present at every stage of a product's ownership, from the point you start looking for a new gadget, to the time you're ready to sell it and get another new device. The company also wants to address the period when you own and are actively using the gadgets.
"We want to unify the product experience, bring it all under one platform," he says. "So we're building more features now, looking for more service providers, but we're also looking at things like community building. So that once you have a product, you can connect to others who have the same device, whether you want to talk about problems, share tips for care, or talk about things like accessories, we want to enable this as well."