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LG's extended warranty is a good first step towards restoring trust
Last week we learnt that LG is now offering a Second Year Promise Program, to extend the warranty of its LG G6 flagship from one year to two for new and existing customers. As well as ensuring that buyers can have confidence in the lifespan of their expensive new flagship purchase, LG’s extended warranty also appears to be a gesture aimed at repairing some of damage done to the company’s resolution over the bootloop issues that have affected a number of its devices over the years.
It took LG a long time to officially acknowledge the issue
In case you missed the kerfuffle, a notable number of LG G4 customers, along with more limited cases affecting the V10, V20 and Nexus 5X, were seeing their handsets stuck in a bootloop due to faulty hardware. It took LG a long time to officially acknowledge the issue, with customers being told that certain models weren’t eligible for repairs. The long delay in diagnosing the problem left many consumers outside of their usual warranty repair time frame, and it wasn’t until January 2016 that LG addressed the problem fully.
Obviously, this left many LG customers with a sour taste in their mouth and the fallout dented the brand’s reputation not just among its existing fanbase. You’ll still see references to the issue throughout comments sections in various LG articles all over the web.
A two year warranty is a reassuring message all around and one that was certainly needed to start rebuilding consumer trust after the boot-loop saga.
When it comes to the bootloop issue, this improved warranty is of little consolation for those who went through the channels trying to obtain a replacement for an older model. Although I should point out that LG has already promised to repair G4s affected by bootloop issues in a bid to restore some faith too.
With this new warranty, those who have had trouble with LG handsets in the past can be more assured that support will be more forthcoming if they chose to upgrade to a new LG G6. Furthermore, those who weren’t affected but may have been put off based on the stories and rumored should have less to worry about now. It’s a reassuring message all around and one that was certainly needed to start rebuilding consumer trust.
While it would be unrealistic for the company to extend warranties for older handsets or promise broad sweeping replacement options for aging models, there are some limitations to the extend of this warranty even for G6 owners. For starters, it’s only available for US customers, leaving a big portion of LG’s consumer base without the extra cover.
The bootloop problem wasn’t reserved for US models and the regional nature of this promotion will certainly leave some feeling left out. It should be noted that LG already offers a two-year warranty to European customers due to regional regulations, so the US is caught up in this regard. However, there’s still India, East Asia, and many other consumers that deserve the same offers of protection too. If LG wanted to go a step further to secure consumer trust, the company should consider going above and beyond basic warranties too.
If LG wanted to go a step further to secure consumer trust, the company should consider going above and beyond basic warranties. See HTC's Uh Oh or Samsung's Premium Care programs.
The likes of HTC’s Uh Oh program, which was an optional 12-month warranty upgrade for its flagship smartphones, offered to replace handsets even if they broke due to the user’s fault. Although this type of protection is more expensive, it’s a useful extra to offer consumers who are looking for extensive coverage of their expensive flagship purchase.
Alternatively, see Samsung’s similar Premium Care option – a $12 monthly subscription which extends the default warranty for your Galaxy smartphone for as long as you pay the premium. The program also offers faster access to support and video chat options. Speaking of Samsung, LG might also consider an upgrade program in the vein of Apple and Samsung, which allows consumers to upgrade their handsets more regularly and also includes a longer 24-month warranty option. Building this brand loyalty and rewarding dedicated customers is a great way to build trust and a strong consumer relationship.
Interestingly, LG identified a trend during the announcements of its Second Year Promise Program, observing that customers are “are now using their phones for 24 months,” suggesting that users are keeping their phones for longer than before. Another way LG could garner some extra good graces would be too start supporting its handsets longer with software updates over more years. LG is already supporting its flagships with two years worth of software updates, but quicker updates or better support for mid-tier handsets would certainly go down well with consumers too.
That being said, these are all somewhat costly additions in a smartphone market that is particularly ruthless for those looking to charge a premium price point. LG might not be able to do all of the above, but any of these type of extras could keep the company’s public image back on an upward trajectory.
Of course, adopting a 24-month warranty program with its latest flagship release is a step in the right direction for LG and is now a better offering than many other US OEMs provide. Hopefully, this move will lead the way for other manufacturers to begin offering their own 24-month warranties as a minimum.