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Harald Schützeichel

What do customers think about off-grid products?

Today many products are distributed and installed for people living off the grid: starting from mobile lanterns up to SHS and TV, fridges, fans, radios etc. To ensure the quality of some of these products, Lighting Global provides a quality seal for lighting products after a paid test in their laboratories. When Lighting Global started, it was the first try to implement quality thinking also into the policy of developing countries.

Later, Global Leap started with competitions for other appliances: TV, fans, fridges. The next step to provide information about the quality of products for the off-grid sector…

 

What is missing?

Lighting Global and Global Leap are testing products mainly in laboratories. But as the industry is growing, we also need public feedbacks from the market: from households, NGOs, technicians, MFIs, sales people, etc. These customers are using products in daily practice and therefore can give a crucial knowledge in addition to the lab testing.

We know such customer feedback from most other industries: for hotels, books, movies etc. For lot of customers worldwide, these feedbacks are important to see whether the theoretical testing in labs is correspondent with the ease of use in practice.

 

Three categories

For off-grid products, I see in a first step three basic topics on which I would like to know the experience from practitioners:

  • Quality: How do you rate the quality of the product delivered?
  • Durability: How is your experience with durability and lifetime of the product?
  • Ease of use: What is your general experience in the daily use of the product: easy to understand and easy to handle?

Of course, the feedback should be accompanied by the information about which type of experience is the base for this rating: as an installer or as a household as MFI or NGO etc.

 

The more the off-grid sector is growing the more product ratings become important. Seals of quality like the Lighting Global Certificate and product ratings from practitioners are two sides of the same coin. It is time to make the second side of the coin visible.