The problem isn’t the phones
When you buy a flagship you're buying more than a hardware set. The benefits of spending the extra cash on a flagship is to ensure a level of support and an ecosystem. With many but not all of the big name flagship providers you can be assured service for your device regardless of where you might be when service is required. You might also expect to be able to buy accessories, such as chargers, power banks and cases, as using third party chargers and power banks might be harmful to your device.
I bought my flagship Huawei a little over a year ago and the company already won't support it. Out in the cold after a several months is pretty disrespectful from a brand that is trying to offer a no compromise approach.
My experience with Huawei hardware has becn outstanding. The hardware itself is really top notch, particularly the camera. As a photographer I have been so pleasantly surprised at how well the camera has perfomed on my mate 9 and the mate 8 I had before it. Unfortunately great hardware on it's own doesn't make for a flagship experience.
The problem with Huawei isn't the phones, they are awesome, I loved my Mate 8 and still love my Mate 9 but the problem is service. I travel a lot for work and unlike Samsung and Apple who have service centers in all corners of the globe it is extremely hard to get service for Huawei in most places in the world and even in many States in the US. It is a sad disappointment for me because I actually really like the devices but I probably won't buy another because when things do go wrong there just isn't any service. I'm currently working in Hanoi and their is a service center here but they told me they won't service my Mate 9 because they don't sell that specific model in Vietnam. The girl in the shop told me my only course of action to get service would be to fly to Taiwan. That they would not service the phone or assist in having it repaired, nor would they assist in ordering replacement parts. Even after I offered to pay for the shipment of the needed parts and service from China to Vietnam, she still said she wouldn't help and I should fly to Taiwan or Hong Kong. For that cost I can just buy a new phone, likely not a Huawei, unfortunately.
It is doubly unfortunate that Huawei can’t figure out the service side of things because they really do make great phones. My present struggles with Huawei service do bring back memories of poor service from Huawei not long after I bought my Mate 9. It was a little over a year ago and after buying the phone I wanted to switch all my household chargers over to USB 3 and get a nice case for my brand new nearly thousand-dollar phone. The problem was and still is, because Huawei doesn’t have many of their own stores and in some regions none at all. At the time of buying the phone Huawei didn’t even have an online store where you could buy accessories for the phone. You could buy the phone through one of their local partners but you couldn’t buy anything from them in a store or even online. I thought it was disappointing because I have a couple of online stores myself and I know how easy they are to set up. So I was pretty disappointed that a billion dollar company couldn’t figure out how to create a couple of jobs at the same time as improving the customer experience surrounding their products. Here we are 14 months down the road and it seems the company still hasn’t figured out how to solve these really minor issues. At a time when they are spending millions of dollars on marketing trying to penetrate the US market it seems odd to me to continue to neglect the other areas of customer experience that could help foster strong brand loyalty.
I believe this service issue is a greater oversight than the company is capable of recognizing at present. The customers that will buy the high end versions of their phones are precisely the customers that will find themselves in need of service when away from their home country. People with higher salaries travel more and have a higher likelihood of being on the road for work. The issue doesn't even require a heavy-handed solution , an internal memo directing service center staff to ensure service to all huawei customers would alleviate a high percentage of the issue. With the addition of an online store that ships anywhere in the world would require about 3 additional staff for a global portal. A small price to pay to ensure the level of service expected .
Huawei, I am challenging you to do better.
An international web portal with phones, cases, chargers, battery banks, repair service and all the rest would take care of 90% of my issues with 华为。Also if someone at Huawei could call the Hanoi service center and tell them to please allow service for my Mate 9 that would be awesome. I'll even build it for you if you want. Just ask me.
update: June 14, 2018
I found myself in Yangon and popped into the Huawei service center to see if they would offer service. They did. In an hour while I waited they replaced my screen and battery. It was not warranty as the warranty has expired so I paid a reasonable 100usd for the repair. This is the kind of service I was expecting in Hanoi and didn't get. Why is the service so bad in Hanoi Huawei, why?
Btw, thank you for repairing my phone.