SEGA France and its after-sales service (SAV)
This article will be long. I am going to tell you about the history of SEGA France after-sales service, some analyzes on the perception of the brand and customer satisfaction and disclose some breakdown statistics. The last part will show you the (almost complete) procedure to follow to detect failures that could occur on a Dreamcast.
For those interested in reading the documents in my possession, I can make them available at my home.
The history of after-sales service through the ages:
I tried to retrace the history of the SEGA France after-sales service by reconstructing its chronology. Please note, errors have certainly occurred in my understanding and decoding of the documents in my possession. Steps are inevitably missing for some years.
On September 25, 1991, a contract between "SEGA France" and the company "ALTECT SARL" was signed for after-sales service. The logo of "VIRGIN LOISIRS", former Sega distributor appears on the contract.
This company had to repair SEGA products during the warranty period, which varied as follows:
-Console: 1 year after the date of purchase.
-Peripherals: 3 months after the date of purchase.
-Software: 3 months from the date of purchase.
After receipt of goods, Altec had to carry out the repair and ship the product in good condition within 4 days, in order to be shipped to the dealer within 5 days after receipt. The address of the company was:
29 Avenue de Tunis
Unfortunately, it was not able to handle this workload since delays of 21 days for the repair of consoles were noted, the equivalent of 3000 consoles in default. To catch up, SEGA had to carry out an emergency mission of one month by hiring temporary workers.
Their collaboration did not last long as Altec could not meet the requirements of SEGA France.
Evolution of the company (Altec):
1990 1991 1992
deposit of 100 m2 deposit of 250 m2 deposit of 500 m2
4 workers 12 workers 27 workers
1 PC 2 PC 6 PC
80 interventions days 400 inverventions days
As the situation deteriorated, 5 other companies then worked as a subcontractor for SEGA France. Here they are :
1) Dated April 15, 1992 "SAVEMI"
42 Brouardel Street
She was also in charge of the after-sales service of "CANON" and "TEXAS-INSTRUMENTS"
2) Dated April 15, 1992 "SIDEM"
130-134 rue Saint Léonard
3) Dated April 17, 1992 "REIS"
7 rue des Aulnes
69542 Champagne au Mont d'Or Cedex
4) Dated September 10, 1992 "I2M"
ZA 46 rue de Rethuy
At the time, this company provided "AMSTRAD" maintenance.
5) Impossible to date: "DD TECH"
271 Vendôme Street
The work represented by the repair of defective SEGA machines could represent 20% of the turnover of these companies and require the hiring of 2 people to handle this additional task.
We also note in the organization of the SAV, that they had a station divided into 5 zones on the French territory according to the population basin and the geographical zone, that is to say the "Center", "the North", "the South", "West", "East" and "South".
Due to a decision by "SEGA Europe" to centralize the various operational functions, the various contracts which bound SEGA to its subcontractors ended in 1994. However, SAVEMI was approved to take care of the processing of non-guaranteed products, which did not fall within the scope of SEGA France's obligations. The returns of material under warranty were made at "Performances Logistique" (read my article on storage).
Warning ! Lots of holes from late 1994. Everything that follows is just a baseline, a preview. The data is fragmented, incomplete. I may have decoded the documents badly, put the puzzle together badly. Steps seem to be missing.
On November 4, 1996 SAVEMI was the technical station which provided repair of equipment to bring them back into conformity with the status of exchangeable products in standard exchange. The standard exchange consisted in providing in exchange for a defective product a product of equivalent or better functionality with an extended warranty of 3 months from the initial date. "PREMIER LOISIR FRANCE" managed the activity known as "shipping of products in standard exchange" and the stock of these products. It was the management center of the SEGA France after-sales service. The 2 companies worked in collaboration, one was mainly responsible for logistics, storage and shipping while the other was in the technical, repair.
On June 11, 1997, PREMIER LOISIR FRANCE was the processing center for the after-sales service of SEGA France and as such, managed the repairs of products in the SEGA France catalog resulting from breakdowns under warranty, breakdowns during unpacking, and returns out of warranty (photo after-sales service charter).
It was also the logistics center for advertising furniture. We already find this company which was in charge of after-sales service at the end of 1994 (special cases), non-commercial activities of products distributed in the framework of sponsorship (hospitals for example, if I understand correctly).
We can clearly see the rise of the two companies. The collaboration with SEGA France had to go well, the tasks being assigned to them seeming well developed.
During a meeting to plan the after-sales service strategy for 1998/1999, SEGA wanted to move part of its activity from PLF Metz to Performance Logistique in Combs-la-Ville. One of the services to be provided by Performance Logistique was the dispatch of defective products and the receipt of products repaired by VISONIC Spain. This new organization would have started on March 30, 1998 for out and under warranty.
As of March 30, 1999 Performance Plus is the logistics center which ensures the exchange of equipment under warranty and out of warranty for SEGA France products. He ensures the follow-up and repair of defective items.
To give you an idea of the volume of merchandise handled by the after-sales service, an assessment for the period 1995/1996 shows 240,000 products handled (140,000 entries into stock, 98,000 exits, 2,000 internal movements, such as inter-company transfers. ).
This information, even incomplete, allows us to see the evolution of SEGA France's after-sales service year after year. They had to adapt to the needs and technologies of the moment and face the constraints of the French market.
After-sales service analyzes:
An analysis of a sample of 227 complaint letters received between January 1, 1993 and April 30, 1994 enabled the causes of customer dissatisfaction to be classified into 5 groups:
1) Reliability. Robustness challenged. Exchange request.
2) Material delivered different from that expected.
3) Unreliable software.
1) Difficulty in presenting proof. No more proof.
2) Deadlines considered too short. Poor organization of exchanges with the seller.
3) Request for warranty extension.
Quality of service :
1) Bad reception of the after-sales service Disputes on diagnosis.
2) Too long response times or no response.
3) Value for money disputed. Bad repair.
1) VARIOUS REQUEST FOR ANOTHER APPROACH TO SERVICE, such as:
A foreign customer, resident in France, who wishes a SEGA Service for products sold outside the SEGA-FRANCE market.
Request for instructions.
Request for response to a mail without follow-up.
Request for material, accessories or components.
Request for information and advice on authorized repairers or after-sales service.
Request for exceptional favors.
2) SEVERE CHALLENGE OF THE SERVICE POLICY
Practiced by SEGA-FRANCE with formal notice and threats of prosecution and opening of proceedings.
The perception of the SEGA brand:
projection of a notion of power and responsibility
innovation and know-how
power of advertising investments, reputation for high profitability
- Japanese brand
notion of opportunism
-Brand aimed at children and teenagers
Between January 1992 and June of the same year, 52,650 portable consoles were sold. 30% of failures (estimate) were due to damage to the LCD screen. Below, some spare parts for the GG:
Top Case GG Export All
Batt. Blade 1P A
IC Custom Chip GG QFP 144P NEC
FL Light GG (Back Light) Elebram
These data make it possible to see the reliability of the Megadrive in 1991 and to know what constituted the main failures.
Some figures giving indications on the number of Saturns sold per period and the number having encountered various concerns.
The launch of the device to meet some disturbances ... A problem in the production of 32 x destined for France has postponed its release. The first 2000 consoles were only compatible with the Megadrive 2. Depending on the delivery schedule, the following quantities were compatible with the Megadrive 1 and 2.
Customers should be informed that the early 32Xs could not be used with the MD1. A sticker was stuck on the front of the product referring consumers to the 3615 oo the 3618 for detailed information.
The after-sales service and the consumer services had to keep their interlocutors informed in a precise and regular manner and to prepare a possible procedure for handling complaints. The after-sales service had to circulate as quickly as possible the customers receiving the first 2000 32X.
Another problem occurred in parallel that the first deliveries of games had the "Blister" (rigid no doubt) with the cardboard marked Megadrive and not 32X. This problem will be quickly resolved.
Some observations with very old MD1:
After 5 or 10 minutes of playing, the screen suddenly froze as the sound continued.
After playing 10 minutes, the picture started to shake. The TV seemed to lose the video signal when it was not.
A few complaints were that the box was incomplete. The cable connecting the MD1 to the 32X was often missing ...
Procedure, Dreamcast period:
Let's go through the troubleshooting process for a Dreamcast. There were different levels of similar processes. Let’s focus on level 1. This diagram gives an overview of the different steps to follow. The measures to detect possible failures were rigorous. The work of the men in the shadows was impressive.
Receipt of products, therefore defective dreamcasts
Data entry on the NAVISION system
Spare parts stock
Control of failure (s)
Game test with Virtual Figther 3
GD C1 test (a checker, I will come back to this below)
Softchecker (a checker, I will come back to this below)
Electrical test control
Closing the file
Material required for quality control
1) Television, compatible SCART RGB connector
2) Main thread
3) AV (RCA) or RF wire
4) RGB Scart connector
5) 4 levers
6) Virtua Fighter 3 Disc
7) Disk for checking software
8) Closed circuit back cable for serial testing
9) GD C1 verification disc
10) Alternating current / energy consumption meter
11) Equipment for insulation resistance test
- Make sure the top is free of scratches or scratch marks
-Open the door (GD-Rom reader) and check its damping movement when it opens. At the same time, check for dust.
-Check that the feet are mounted on the lower part (the pads below the console)
-Ensure that the underside of the console is free of scratches or signs of significant scratches. Inspect the screws and their dirt.
-Check the fan for the presence of dust. Remove the Modem to see if there is any dust or thumbprints on the metal.
-Slowly turn the console and listen for internal debris.
-Check the presence and condition of manufacturer labels:
1) Serial number and identification label
2) Laser warning label
3) CE label
4) "Warning - risk of electrocution" label
The console must be connected in normal configuration to the television and all peripherals except the power of the main conductor which must be connected in series with an AC power consumption meter. In this configuration, the meter and its associated connections are set according to the potential of the main conductor. Turn on the console and check the start-up with no game inside the console. After a few seconds, the current should stabilize and measure less than 22 W.
Once the VM is connected to controller port A, insert the Virtua Fighter 3 game disc. Play in training mode for 30 seconds and check all graphics, sounds and the speed of response of the controller by pressing all four times. buttons (absolutely all buttons even analog). Key presses appear on the left of the screen. Validate the stability of the graphics when you change the viewing angle using the analog buttons (the analog stick does not work during this test).
It will be necessary to exit Virtua Fighter 3 to return to the main screen of the console. We then inserted the GD C1 which will allow the tests to be carried out. This disc should be used with care because it is the reference disc, if its surface were damaged, the results would be incorrect. It had to be checked regularly.
Once the disc is loaded an option menu screen will appear. Option 1 ("C1 Error Check Soft") must be selected. The verification software then scans the drive and displays a graph of C1 errors. "Max" errors should not be greater than 30.
Press button B to return to the test menu screen and select option 2 to start the 1/3 rd seek test. The "Max" results for the AB, BA tests should not be greater than 370 msec.
We are going to shut down our Dreamcast and then replace the C1 verification disc with the GD needed for testing the games. There are 2 different versions of this disc, the "Loop Checker for REPAIR version 2.15" and the "DC checkers for REPAIR version 2.05". Connect the rear cable and test the controllers, turn on the console and let the verification disc perform its tests. It will ask you to open the disc compartment, at this time check that the disc stops spinning within 2 seconds. Close the disc compartment and check that the sounds are heard correctly. Remove the controllers when prompted to do so. The final screen displays all successful tests on a blue background. Errors temporarily suspend the tests and are indicated on a red background. Once the tests are complete, remove the rear cable, check that all plugs come off easily.
Read my article on the release of the service discs
Connect the console to a television using an AV (RCA) or RF wire to check signal quality and reset indicator on the console serial device. Turn on the console and press the Clear button to turn off the LED. The console should be tested with Virtua Figther 3 games in demo mode for 2 hours in an ambient temperature of 30-50 degrees. The reset LED will light up if the game is reset. At the end of the test, make sure that the console is still working and that the reset LED is off .
Connect a controller to port A and insert the GD test which will check the software. Turn on the console, keep the directional pad pressed to the right and press the X button at the same time to start the game verification mode. Once in the simple verification mode, press the bottom of the 5-way to select the game. option "ERASE FLS 02" then again to the right and down to select "FLS 0201". Press button A to activate "CHIP ERASE" which will erase the recorded date and set the language to English. The test is complete when it displays the message "PASS". You can remove the disc, turn off the console and disconnect it.
Finally the last step, the security test
We will measure the resistance to insulation between the accessible parts of the console independently of the peripherals. The Insulation Resistance Tester should be set to 500V, 200Moh, connected between the test power lead and the Insulation Resistance Tester on the metal shield of the Dreamcast which is accessible under a grille on the back of the console, near the AV socket.
When the Dreamcast is on, it is tested by pressing the red button for one second or until the display is clear. The minimum insulation resistance for DC equipment is 10Megohm. The measurements obtained were often results greater than 200Megohm.
Sega Europe was to be informed of any result between 10 and 200Megohhm. In the event of a result lower than 10, the tests had to be stopped immediately (total failure). The unit had to be inspected by the quality assurance department of SEGA Europe.
Here we are at the end of the inspection of our faulty Dreamcast. We were able to spot where the failure was. We can therefore proceed to repair the console.
Do not forget the telephone service set up by SEGA Europe, here are some forecasts for the launch of the Dreamcast. The call center was not to be outdone.
SEGA Europe Custom Care Service Center
Hours of operation were 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (12 p.m.) Monday through Friday. On holidays, Saturdays and Sundays, switchboard operators took calls between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Estimates of call volume:
- England, 150 calls per hour or 47% of calls
-France, 90 calls per hour or 28% of calls
-Germany, 50 calls per hour or 16% of calls
-Spain, 30 calls per hour or 9% of calls
These forecasts were based on the number of calls received during the launch of the Saturn.
Thanks to the pen of a friend who wishes to remain anonymous.