In an effort that could help to fend off market share challenges from rival second- and third-tier TV brands, Philips said it is now offering consumers who purchase its 37-inch and larger flat-panel HDTVs a service plan with "lifetime technical support, next-day scheduling of in-home repairs and a simplified exchange program for those living in areas without authorized service support."
The program, which is called Philips Simplicity Advantage, was designed to "bring the same level of service to consumers that is already present in Philips technology," the company said.
As rival upstart flat-panel TV brands begin to make market inroads with aggressive low-price strategies, several first-tier manufacturers, now including Philips, have introduced expanded service and support programs as a value-added incentive for selecting their products.
Surveys have shown that one of the issues consumers face in selecting a flat-panel TV is their faith in the reliability of products from unfamiliar brands. Other studies have shown consumers are growing increasingly frustrated with both the difficulty they find in using new CE products and the level of support they receive from the manufacturer in figuring it out.
Philips said its program will offer "knowledgeable, human connections" who can assist with setup and operation issues such as "learning how to tune in local HDTV channels or what the best connection is for a Blu-ray Disc player," as well as assist with unexpected performance issues.
The Simplicity Advantage program is hoped to "provide the consumer with peace of mind, instill confidence that their purchase is backed by the support of an organization committed to resolve issues quickly and answer questions immediately — premium service for premium products," according to a Philips statement
Customers who purchase Philips' flat-panel TVs up to 32 inches will also be eligible for a refurbished replacement unit if they should run into technical problems.