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Council on Energy, Environment and Water Integrated | International | Independent
Policy Brief

Assessing Good Service Practices in India’s Air-Conditioner Servicing Sector

Key Findings from a Survey of Service Technicians

Lekha Sridhar and Vaibhav Chaturvedi
June 2017 | Technology, Finance & Trade

Suggested Citation: Lekha, Sridhar and Vaibhav Chaturvedi. 2017. Assessing Good Service Practices in India’s Air-Conditioner Servicing Sector: Key Findings from a Survey of Service Technicians. New Delhi: Council on Energy, Environment and Water.

Overview

This brief is a part of CEEW’s research on the AC servicing sector, which analyses servicing practices in the residential (RAC), mobile (MAC) and commercial (CAC) air-conditioning sectors to identify potential policy interventions to reduce HFC consumption during servicing. The analysis is based on primary survey data, focused group discussions (FGDs), interviews and secondary data through literature review. This policy brief presents some of the highlights from the survey and FGDs. This survey lays the groundwork for further research and provides many useful insights on policy development for the service sector.

% of technicians trained in the formal and informal sector

% of technicians trained in the formal and informal sector

Source: CEEW Analysis (2017)

Key Findings

  • Expansion of training and skill development programmes, while important, are not sufficient on their own. Even though various government bodies like the skill development councils and ITIs are training hundreds of people, the quality of the training provided is not consistent and not in keeping with new technologies.
  • Many technicians who are aware of good servicing practices (GSPs) do not use them because of the lack of incentives to do so – lack of knowledge, training and equipment are not the only barriers to GSPs.
  • Increasing informalisation in the country, including in the formal sector is a concern as these low-paid workers would then have greater incentive to cut corners (keeping servicing to a minimum, rather than doing all that is necessary).
  • Creating stable employment opportunities with benefits or a system that is not commission-based AC servicing, along with provision of training on GSPs may incentivise technicians to minimise HFC emissions.
  • While the formal sector has better adherence to some GSPs, there is still much greater scope for improvement.
  • Manufacturing companies are in the position of mandating GSPs to be followed by their authorised service centres and could include these parameters among key performance indicators.
  • If the quality and coverage of the certification programme is low, then it would become an unnecessary barrier to entry that has no impact on reducing hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) emissions. If the government opts for voluntary certification instead, some incentives will have to be given to the technicians to obtain this certification.
  • Technicians report having a difficult time charging premium fees due to customers being price sensitive. If the certification scheme is given sufficient publicity and credibility among customers, it may incentivise customers to opt for trained technicians.
  • Technicians report that low customer awareness of GSPs, price sensitivity and need for short turnaround time for servicing affect customer choice of service centre. Technicians stated that that their servicing practices hinge on how happy the customer is and a large part of customer satisfaction has to do with low priced services.
  • Servicing enterprises could offer long-term Annual Maintenance Contracts at discounted prices for customers or extended warranty to encourage them to continue using authorised service centres.
  • Manufacturers could also raise awareness of proper installation and servicing practices when customers purchase ACs/cars and highlight the possibility of increased electricity consumption due to faulty installation/servicing.

Low customer awareness of GSPs, price sensitivity and need for short turnaround time for servicing affect customer choice of service centre.

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