Let’s start with a no-brainer.
Smartphone repair techs do business to earn a profit. But their actual work – the motivation for it – may stem from other inspiration.
Some might base their impetus on pure passion. How else can someone fixate for hours on end over a damaged phone motherboard? Or tolerate the daily grind of customers struggling against cell phone repair shop software?
When the costs of repair trump replacement…
Sometimes, however, the desire to make monies has to take a backseat. Situations arise where the repair effort can wreak more damage than good. Maybe even surpass the ‘justified expense‘ threshold. The point where the costs of repair exceed the price of a new purchase.
But how do you convince the depositing client at this juncture? Particularly when emotions become part of the equation. Consider the situation where a customer professes a nostalgic fondness for their favorite device. The electrical trinket that they’re not ready to part with.
Well, based on my experience, there are about 5 effective ways where you can elicit an assent. Or at least a compromise – one where both business and client interests meet.
Let’s get down to each.
1. Impress with Numbers (a complete costs breakdown)
Nothing makes more convincing sense than added numbers. Particularly when they represent the amounts of money you’ll have to forsake!
First, narrow down the fair market price of the client’s cell phone. You can calculate this by determining the current market rate of the device. Subtract 9% of the device’s price for each year in use post-manufacture. The result should amount to the going rate at which you can choose to sell it.
Now, if the cost of repair (labor + parts + logistics) should exceed this valuation, the fix-job isn’t worth it. Especially if the same model can be purchased at a figure below this.
2. Factor in Time (how long would the job take?)
Sometimes, costs are not – or form only part of – the issue. There is such a thing as a repair job that is too time-consuming. Beyond the span of comfort; where the client can incur more loss by going off-radar. Both/either in terms of currency leaks or health – or what have you.
A customer may claim intense attachment to their phone. But if it’s a rare model, say, the parts procurement can prove problematic. Time-intensive – something the depositor isn’t willing or unable to put up with.
The only rational alternative here is to go for a new purchase.
It is in moments like these – note – that the repair tech is obligated to become part-therapist. Deploying a set of cognitive strategies to convince the client of the fallacy of their thinking.
What we discuss next.
Note: A number of cell phone POS software suites these days enable advance time assessments. Through their inventory tracking plugs, they provide a pretty good estimate of the repair wait.
3. ‘Do the soothe’
There’s a viral internet saying – attributed to a lot of people – that rings to the tune:
Up to 90% of one’s regular confrontations are down to tone of voice. Or another type of overt aggression.
I’m paraphrasing here, but you get the picture.
Our delivery matters!
And it becomes even more important when you’re in business. A special setting where you can do a little reverse engineering on the behavior-cognition plane to your advantage.
Issue tough advice – or oven censure – under the cover of expressive ‘sweetness’. The euphemism to make the patient take up the bitter prescription. A course that promises betterment.
I call this the ‘daily soothe’. Now a proud habit, it’s a tactic that’s proven continually helpful in resolving a number of personally distressing situations. Ugly, potential, scuffles effectively nipped in the bud before their fruition time.
4. Offer compensatory buybacks (only for long-standing customers)
Dealings with longstanding clients are different. They always come tethered to the promise of eventual profits. Accrued either in current or future time – practical by a longshot.
To these regulars, you can offer buybacks with purchase incentives. The opportunity for them to barter their repair-unfeasible devices for compensatory deductions. A good opening, also, for you as a merchant to upsell some of your other wares.
Sales ‘pulls’ like these guarantee a good success rate. The triumph here, of course, is the agreement of the client to be relieved of their phone.
Buyback tradeoffs can also be intangible. They can, for instance, include warranty extensions and personalized customer service. In the latter case, you don’t even need to dole out any cash expense. Only the investment of time, courtesy, and a will to troubleshoot does the trick.
5. Do a ‘Needs Audit’
A good way to usher a repair client down the convincing road is to do a needs audit.
Here, you sit down with your customer to a probing talk session. Question them on the retinue of their actual device needs.
This evaluation, which can also be accomplished with a modern repair shop software (Survey Mode) – is revealing. It sheds light on whether the repair-recipient is a light or hard user; field lingo generally defined as follows:
- Light – Your run-of-the-mill cell phone user. Taken to basic device functions: calls, internet surfing, video streaming, light gaming, social media profiling, etc.
- Hard – High-intensity users. Given to processor/memory/graphics-intensive tasks like professional gaming, graphics design, coding, satellite launches 😆, and the like!
Armed with this knowledge, you can go prescriptive. Cash in on a good opportunity, again, to upsell.
When doing so, recommend an alternative phone (new or used). Ideally, one that costs less than the price of repair [Point 1]. And that bests the broken-original in terms of new features. The cherry here – providential coincidence, really – would be an update on the same brand line.
With the exception of a client being a far-out non-rationalist, most customers, I think, would take the bait!
Just try and see.
Word to the wise
As I’ve made it clear (I hope), all these actionable nuggets are derived from my own repair shop experience. This implies that they’re probably best suited to someone with the same disposition.
Like a doppelganger version – to whatever extent possible – of yours truly. Minus, dear God, of my unhealthy fixation with point of sales software – deemed a ‘scourge’ by the relatives.
It’s certainly likely that they may not work the same way for you.
And I think that’s ok.
Because if all you did was scrounge off of someone else’s findings, how would you ever find your own. A new method, perhaps, that proves to be even more promising in scope.
So, if you’re going to take away only one message from this piece; enraged for some reason by the preaching narration – let it be this: