Lenovo Shift Gears to Focus on Customers after Successful Q4 2016
Lenovo is no stranger to the PC, mobile or data centre space. The company has been in an active expansion in the previous five years with the acquisition of big name businesses such as IBM data centres and Motorola Mobility. While expanding its corporate footprint and headcount, Lenovo has also quickly become a well-known brand in the consumer space for budget-friendly mobile devices and high-performance PCs and laptops. The company has quickly become one of the foremost manufacturers of PCs and laptops with strong brands such as the ThinkPad and YOGA under their belt. It comes as no surprise that the company still holds the title of the #1 PC maker in the world. That said, Lenovo has a lot to do in the coming quarters to maintain its position.
Shifting Gears to a More Customer Centric Lenovo
In the past, Lenovo has been a company that has focused its efforts on developing the best product. However, Mr. Ken Wong, President of Lenovo Asia Pacific & Senior Vice President of Lenovo Group, believes that this approach is fundamentally wrong. He notes that the driving force behind the success of any company needs to be a renewed focus on the customer. Conversations in the company were predominantly focused on issues such as pricing, route to market and order volume – that’s about to change.
Mr Ken Wong further elaborates that their new focus will be on making customers happier and also servicing the customer better. The change in paradigm is a stark change to how the company has worked in the past churning out a deluge of products and competing at price points.
Some of the main efforts driving this change will be a more dedicated workforce; each focusing on specific product categories or services which Lenovo has. Expertise will be more focused to ensure that they can better service customers and resolve pain points effectively. This would mean that data centre division workforce will be better equipped with more specialised knowledge and also have a better network to refer to should the need arise. The same can be expected for the PC and mobile divisions.
One of the most obvious changes consumers will notice is a shift from a point of purchase strategy to a more wholesome customer experience coming from Lenovo in the months ahead. The company will be focusing on enhancing four key touch points: the website (Lenovo.com), their storefronts, Service centres and their purchase points. The website will perhaps be the most obvious to the consumer as many of us actively search for information regarding our purchases from the internet. To make the consumer journey a little more informative, Lenovo will be adding more features to their websites including more specifications, details on accessories and an emphasis on the community aspect, particularly for their gaming devices. They will also be updating their storefronts to be more relevant to their current brand image with their new logo and more brand specific imagery. In addition, they will be focusing on enhancing their service centres by hastening response times and introducing a new premier support service at a nominal charge.
A New Identity Driven by the Customer
The past few months have also seen the announcement of a few new brands under Lenovo. Perhaps the one which embodies their new ethos is their newly launched Legion brand. In their interactions with gamers, Lenovo learnt that the gamers long for a community and identity. In response, they have changed their product-centric “Y-series” name to “LEGION”. Their willingness to listen and interact with the gaming community has resulted in the company achieving No.1 gaming brand in Thailand and remaining in the Top 2 gaming laptop brands in Malaysia. In addition, their interactions with the gaming community have also allowed Lenovo a leg up to their competition in understanding that their customers’ needs may vary.
In their efforts to grow and nurture the gaming segment, Lenovo has worked with Intel on the League of Champions event. The gaming tournament which was sponsored by Lenovo saw huge success and support from the gaming community. Hence, Lenovo is looking into a new League of Heroes this year.
Rethinking and Innovating in the PC Space
With analysts predicting the shrinkage and death of the PC space, it has become even more imperative that companies continually innovate.
“There is no reason to buy. There is no sexy product that will trigger you to spend the money in your wallet to buy a PC.” – Ken Wong, President of Lenovo Asia Pacific & Senior Vice President of Lenovo Group
Lenovo is perhaps the company which first realised this. They can proudly claim to be the innovators which brought to market the multimode laptop with their YOGA line of devices. However, the company isn’t just stopping there. Lenovo invests a whopping USD$1.2billion (RM5.11billion) in research and development to bring innovative solutions to all their customers. Their R&D focuses on bringing more innovative form factors and features which will make the PC and laptop space more appealing to consumers.
While the PC and laptop space may be on an overall decline, Lenovo is seeing growth in the multimode segment and also the thin and light segment. The trend could signal a shift in the nature of devices which consumers are looking for. It comes as no surprise then, that Lenovo is well underway developing and innovating to deliver more innovations in these segments.
Home PCs and the Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) and Artifical Intelligence (AI) are two aspects of technology which are increasingly popular. Lenovo, like many others in the arena, has been gearing up to innovate. The company’s investment doesn’t just stem from products, in fact, Lenovo has recently hired a new Chief Technology Officer (CTO) with extensive experience in the AI arena. This is also inline with the company’s vision of being more customer oriented allowing the know how to stem not only from the technical staff but also from the top brass. The company also invests 20 to 30% of its R&D budget (USD$240- 360million) on research into AI.
“We strongly believe that devices have to be smart.” – Ken Wong, President of Lenovo Asia Pacific & Senior Vice President of Lenovo Group
With their focus set on IoT and AI, Lenovo is also rethinking the role of desktops in households. The needs of the customer in an ever-connected world are vastly different. The household PC now needs to be a multipurpose device which can interact with multiple other devices such as smart assistants. In fact, they should integrate seamlessly into smart homes.
The future seems very bright for Lenovo having gained all these insights from their customers and analysts. However, their success hinges on their innovation in all the areas they have ventured into including Augmented and Virtual Reality. That said, the company seems poised to follow up their success with more innovative products which will be able to inspire and captivate the consumer.