Community, News
April 27, 2020

Giving Earth a Fighting Chance Through Repair and Reuse

The Value of Connection During a Crisis

While writing this article in April of 2020, the world is facing a health crisis larger than we’ve seen in decades. Connectivity through smart devices, the internet, and social media has accelerated the speed of information and has allowed us to adapt quickly and take drastic action to protect ourselves against Covid-19. In 1968, another pandemic, Influenza A, swept the world claiming over one million lives globally, and more than 100,000 in the United States alone. Similar to today, vaccination wasn’t an immediate option and information became a powerful tool to combat the spread. Unfortunately, we simply didn’t have the means to connect with one another on a mass scale and advocate for drastic action at that time. 

 

Today, we find that connectivity through electronic devices has not only helped to advance the spread of information, but it’s also connected us in a way that helps us share, learn, and adapt faster. We’ve become dependent on this global social network and for good reason. While the 60’s didn’t have the internet yet, this decade ushered in one of the most significant eras of technological advancements: the rapid release of the first commercial computer systems. Smart device sales have grown steadily ever since.

 

When technology advances, what do we leave behind?

In 2014, there were more cellular phones in the world than human beings. By the end of 2020, it’s projected that there will be more than 4 internet-connected devices installed and in-use for every household in the world. This rise of the Internet of Things, though it replaces many modern-day inconveniences with quick-thinking AI, also presents a significant problem; one that may be difficult to acknowledge as we battle this pandemic, but one that is, nevertheless, essential to address. That problem is how to reduce the impact of waste caused by our technology products on our world.  

Ewaste, as it’s come to be known in the small industry channels that monitor and support the after-sales life of consumer electronics, is a rapidly growing concern; but we have a path to sustainability. Industries in the circular economy of after-sales equipment have a huge role to play in extending the life of the billions of electronic devices in the world and reducing their waste.

E-Waste Solutions 1080x1080

Cleaning Up After Our Tech

Ereuse.org is a not-for-profit group that started as a local movement in Catalonia. It now helps aggregate awareness and activism around the world and proclaims,, “a device or component is reusable if it has or may have use value for someone.” In other words, it’s reusable if there is a potential user that would still find it valuable with only basic refurbishment, like deleting data or reinstalling an operating system. However, the organization also says, “if the use value is too low, it can be increased through several types of refurbishment: repairing, replacing damaged components, updating or upgrading.

 

Reuse, repair, and refurbishment have become an essential part of the electronics ecosystem, often referred to as a ‘circular economy’ because so many of these electronics can be used a second or third time before depleting their value or reaching a logical end of life.

 

Today’s repair industry plays a vital role in this ecosystem by not only helping to maintain and support a longer, first-owner life of a device, but also by helping to properly refurbish devices that can extend value to a second owner.

Reuse and repair are key to preserving our world.

Through sustainability practices and social responsibility, we can significantly reduce waste generated by the disposal of consumer electronic goods. But protecting our products and extending their life is not only an ecologically necessary step, it is also an economically-viable means for improving our standard of living and keeping humanity connected and informed.

 

Amid all the topical news of the week, as critical as it is, it’s important to remember Earth Day and the values that we, as global citizens adopted into our culture on April 22,  1970. Fifty years ago we established Earth Day and gave a voice to an emerging public movement dedicated to protecting our world. Although it’s been half a century, the message of Earth Day hasn’t changed.  That is our Earth, its care and preservation, is an essential investment in our future. It is a message we must keep top of mind now, amid the pandemic which alone threatens to overtake our every effort.

 

Today, as we continue to praise and support the frontline workers performing essential duties during the pandemic, let’s also thank those who work tirelessly to support our connectivity, our products, and our planet. Repair is alive and injects vital support into our economy, bringing accessibility to information and community to many who may not otherwise reap its benefits. Most importantly, it helps reduce waste and slows the cycle of improvidence that is damaging our planet. By focusing on and supporting skilled repair and refurbishment of the products we’ve come to depend on the most, we are doing our part to give Earth a fighting chance to thrive for generations to come.

James

James Schellhorn

James is the Chief Business Development Officer for ServiceCentral, helping to positively influence the company’s brand and product direction based on our customer’s needs. When not in the office James loves to cycle around town, enjoy local beers, and play with his corgi.

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Community, Education, Events, News
March 18, 2020

COVID-19 Customer Notice

While the health and well-being of our customers, employees, and communities is our top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking critical measures to ensure your services continue without interruption. Here are the most important steps we are taking:

  • We’ve limited business travel and encouraged employees to leverage technology to hold business meetings whenever possible.
  • ServiceCentral has always embraced a flexible work from home policy for our employees. In compliance with the government’s recommendation for social distancing, we have requested our employees to work remotely daily, and will continue supporting our networks and you, our customers, with the high-quality service you rely on.

Our teams have detailed plans to ensure our standards of customer service and responsiveness continue to avert service risks during this time. In addition, our cloud-based platforms are designed to run smoothly and without interruption from anywhere in the world.

We will continue to be vigilant, but if you have any questions regarding our preparedness to support your business needs and abate potential disruptions, please contact your account manager or our Technical Support Team at support@servicecentral.com.

Steve

Steve Teel

President and Chief Executive Officer
ServiceCentral Technologies Inc.

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March 12, 2020

Coronavirus in the Repair Industry

As global markets react to the swift spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus 2019), it is important that repair businesses assess the situation honestly and rationally. Several of our customers are asking themselves, how will this disruption affect my business? It is possible, however, to anticipate the implications to day-to-day repair business operations and how this disease might impact our communities. By looking at our internal network data, customer patterns, and historical pandemic impact, we provide some perspective on the implications to day-to-day repair business operations and recommendations on how to minimize the disruption.

Impact to the Supply Chain

The supply chain for electronics is complicated. Routinely, parts from at least 6 different manufacturers can be found in the latest smartphone. In fact, this year’s Samsung Galaxy S20 Teardown featured semiconductors produced in at least 3 different countries including the United States, South Korea, and China. 

In terms of the aftermarket parts landscape, the picture is no different. Aftermarket parts manufacturers like Injured Gadgets and MobileSentrix invest in overseas manufacturing to diversify supply chains and protect against market-specific impacts such as public holidays, political turmoil, and natural disasters. Ahead of forecasted events, these suppliers will work months in advance to boost manufacturing in order to ensure a healthy supply during the potential down-period. However, forecasting against a pandemic can be problematic. For one, overcompensation for market disruption can lead to a supply surplus that ties up valuable resources otherwise dedicated to advancing technology that could provide a competitive edge. Most suppliers instead boost stock based on market trends and internal data to accommodate 2-3 months of supply. Seemingly,such preparation well positions the supplier-side of the industry to be able to handle temporary interruptions to the manufacturing chain. 

 

Less clear is what an ongoing disruption would mean to suppliers themselves. After COVID-19 began to ramp up, China took the unprecedented step of locking down an entire city with millions of people in an effort to contain the virus. As the situation escalated, the government took further action by resorting to “mitigation” techniques. This meant discouraging large gatherings, closing businesses, and reducing unnecessary outdoor exposure. The most important manufacturing region in the world effectively came to a standstill unexpectedly and, almost overnight. This meant that although suppliers had boosted stock in their warehouses ahead of the outbreak and market closures, there was still a shortage of staff to package and ship the inventory.  Also affected were quality control teams who were used to working closely with one another, the inventory, and business partners to get the job done. 

 

China’s handling of the pandemic and its impact on the industry may be a sign of what’s to come. As previously mentioned, the manufacturing landscape has scaled rapidly over the last decade and, in an effort to hedge their bets, many electronics device and parts manufacturers shifted supply chains away from traditional marketplaces like China and into developing economies such as South Korea, India, and beyond. As the virus spreads to more countries, so do the impacts to the supply-chain with increasing closures of businesses through mitigation techniques. At its current rate of spread, it’s likely that these closures and impacts will peak around mid-March. Although this suggests that the spring will be better in this regard, it should be noted that reintroducing workers to shuttered plants may necessitate a long-term approach to avoid any flare-ups in infections that could further setback production efforts. Like we said, it’s complicated. 

 

Some key suppliers in the repair industry have already seen an impact to their operations with key team members tied up in quarantined areas and import sales decreasing by double-digits. Some repair shops, too, are reporting impacts to their parts supply and the quality of parts they are receiving. Such constraints are forcing them to turn to unconventional suppliers who may produce sub-par quality components like those found on major online eCommerce websites. In summary, we believe suppliers and businesses alike should brace for a major effect on manufacturing worldwide. It will likely hit hardest in the coming two to three weeks and could conceivably last for months.

 

Regions effected by CODIV-19 so far.
Factories that manufacture Samsung’s semiconductors

For Repair and Service Businesses

The novel coronavirus threatens the global economy and the decade-long bull market has officially come to an end. Our economic growth has become more dependent than ever on sustaining both consumer confidence (through spending) and manufacturing output. As the machine that propels the economy becomes more at-risk, consumers tend to retreat to safer assets and tighten their spending. Few businesses grow in a down economy—but repair generally does! In a down economy, consumers search for ways to make the stuff they own, last longer and that’s not only great for the environment, it’s also great for the local economy. Also, repair jobs are generally not offshorable. These jobs require skilled labor and are well paid. They are also in continually high demand and at low risk for being transferred overseas where there are fewer labor restrictions and workers with lower wage expectations.

 

The repair industry has experienced strong growth in the past decade thanks to increased adoption of electronics and mobile data networks. This is especially true in the phone repair space. According to IBISWorld Industry Analyst Sarah Kahn, “The rising popularity of expensive damage-prone smartphones gave the industry a significant boost.” Consequently, the industry represents a projected $4.2 billion dollars in annualized revenue by 2024 to the U.S. gross domestic production and is considered to be an emerging economic factor due to the importance the space holds within the global economy.

 

As fixers, we’re constantly in a “state of war” with the second law of thermodynamics. Resiliency is in our blood and that’s served our industry well over the last 5 years. The potential impact a COVID-19 outbreak could have on business is challenging that tenacity. The threat is two-fold. From one direction, businesses are threatened by a decreased supply of essential materials and, from the other direction, the threat of uncontrolled viral spread could keep consumers out of stores.Advance preparation and a planned response strategy are critical for repair businesses to weather the storm.

 

Smartphones have grown in the last decade to become more important than ever in the lives of the everyday consumer. These devices are more expensive than more basic-feature phones and are therefore more likely to be repaired rather than replaced. These devices represent more than ⅔ of all phone sales and more than half of all mobile phone users. The rapid acceleration of smartphone use in local economies has created a need for more cell phone repair businesses to keep up with the growing market demand. As a result, according to iFixit, the number of cell phone repair shops has grown to encompass over 30,000 businesses. Since 2015, many repair shops have diversified their core offering from being a simple “part-swapper” to providing more robust services including board level repair, accessory sales, and refurbished device sales. These methods have yielded positive revenue changes while increasing overall profitability. In periods of supply uncertainty, as with now, it also has the added benefit of mitigating the impact a temporary disruption could cause. 

Service and maintenance businesses should consider deeper investments  in these areas while also adding services that continue to differentiate from more traditional approaches. Companies like CPR Cell Phone Repair, StayMobile, etc. are introducing advanced in-home and on-demand care that provides consumers with an option to receive service wherever they need it. Being able to provide repair in a home, office, or public area and not exclusively at a brick & mortar location allows shops to provide a more well-rounded experience that further strengthens the relationship with consumers.

opened iPhone with tools lying beside it

For Consumers

 

The economy traditionally thrives through the buying and selling of goods and services. As the global market stares down a possible recession and economic panic sets in, consumers would do well to reflect on the practices that saw us through downturns of the past. During the Great Recession of 2008, we made up for the economic slowdown by making do with what we had and turning to providers for more maintenance-oriented services instead of new device replacement. Data from the last few years since that period of economic turmoil shows that we’re rightfully continuing that trend. However, as communities rely on mitigation techniques that encourage working from home and reducing public interaction many of the services that facilitate making equipment last longer won’t continue to be offered. Similarly, as manufacturing comes to a halt, goods may be in short supply. Things that would have otherwise been offered as a service, created, or available for purchase won’t be. 

 

Due to these issues and lack of traffic to brick and mortar stores during the lockdown, smartphone sales are expected to decline by over 20% in China for Q1 2020, compared with a 5% drop globally, according to Counterpoint Research

 

Focusing on making what we have last longer is a critical first-step in protecting against the impact that may otherwise be felt. Committing to recycle and reuse our electronics, including encouraging our friends and family to do the same, will help limit the disruption in our lives..

 

 

Conclusion

The nature of COVID-19 and traditional best-practices to control and mitigate its spread will cause disruptions to the supply chain of essential goods and the providing of associated services, impacting the repair industry. Additionally, consumer confidence may be disrupted. 

 

Best Practices to Keep in Mind

  1. Don’t rely strictly on projections and forecasts. The stock market has turned volatile in recent weeks and that reflects a considerable amount of uncertainty. It’s important to consider multiple scenarios and deploy a diverse strategy to sustain business growth. 
  2. Don’t buy into the hype. One of the biggest risks to any business is self-fulfilling panic that clouds better judgement on your market and your customer base. 
  3. Listen to your customers and be prepared to adapt to their needs. Communication with your partners in the industry and leveraging of key data-points will help you make smart decisions to mitigate risk. 
  4. Plan for the “what-if” scenarios so that you aren’t caught off guard. Being cognizant of the impacts a lock down in your community like we’ve seen in Italy would have will help you withstand long-term economic issues.
  5. Think ahead. The situation will improve over time. Identify new business opportunities and strategies that you can capitalize on. Finding advantages in adversity may provide the “rocket-fuel” your organization needs to get to that next level. 

 

(A version of this article was published on Medium.)

Smiling Matt

Matt Zieminski

Matt Zieminski is the Director of Partnerships for ServiceCentral and has been in the electronics industry for almost ten years. Outside of work, Matt loves to hike and enjoy the great outdoors of Richmond, California.

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Community, News
December 6, 2019

ServiceCentral® Technologies Powers Up The Gift of Music Foundation

ServiceCentral Technologies Inc., an all around business management software company for repair shops, announced that it will be donating its product, RepairQ, to The Gift of Music Foundation.  The Gift of Music Foundation is a non-profit founded in 2015 as a response to the nationwide decline in funding and prioritization of music education. The organization provides musical instruments, music lessons, and after school music programs with the aim of returning music to the country’s at-risk youths. The non-profit generates some funding on its own through its musical instrument repair shop, which is where RepairQ comes in. 

 

More than just a generic point-of-sale platform, RepairQ also offers repair shops: 

Full business management: inventory management, business intelligence, accounting, and invoicing

Ticket tracking: live repair status updates, repair queue, and repair intake

CRM: appointment scheduling, lead generation, and repair status update sharing

 

ServiceCentral will help The Gift of Music Foundation’s musical instrument repair shop by providing payment processing, repair ticket tracking, inventory management, employee management, and more repair shop management essentials. After a check up with the organization, ServiceCentral’s President and CEO, Steve Teel said, “They are extremely pleased with how RepairQ has automated the repair and payment processing, and are becoming a vocal endorser of us within that industry.” 

About ServiceCentral and RepairQ 

RepairQ is the first software built uniquely to manage any type of repair shop. From point of sale that focuses on services, consumer experiences that focus on excellence, or unique tools that bring financial, supply, and referral services closer to retailers, RepairQ has everything a growing repair shop needs. With over 40,000 service providers supported, ServiceCentral hosts additional software, solutions and services that span business including OEMs, insurance companies, reverse logistics depots, 3PLS, and local repair shops. For more information, visit www.repairq.io and www.servicecentral.com or find us at facebook.com/repairq.

Photo of Thabiso, author of this blog post.

Thabiso Ndiraya

Thabiso is the marketing intern for ServiceCentral. He is a helping hand for SEO and market research projects related to both ServiceManager and RepairQ. Outside the office, you can find Thabiso chasing a ball around the soccer field, strumming random notes on a beat up guitar, or devouring a Braum’s vanilla ice cream cone in 3 minutes.

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Community, Education
October 4, 2019

What About The Employer?

In modern workday culture, everything revolves around pleasing the employee. Work environment policies, company culture, and benefits are all examples of areas that employers are now intentionally focusing on to ensure that their employees feel valued, important, and safe. While it is incredibly important and a positive move to forward our society, we forget that the bosses still need some respect and honor as well. So, let’s address a few ways to enjoy this new era of employees being treated well in the workplace, but at the same time provide the same level of value, respect, and honor, to employers. Maybe after reading these four tips and applying them to your daily interactions with your boss, you can finally get that promotion.

 

1. Come to work ready to help your employer succeed.

With a significant amount of the work environment being employee-focused, the actual work itself should be dedicated to the success of the employer and the company. Every time you clock in for work, you should tune your mindset to do anything that can help your employer be at a more successful state than the one they are in right now. Every time you are on the job, you (the employee) should ask yourself questions like “How can I use my role to better the company?”, “What can I do to lighten my boss’s workload?”, and “How can I exceed my boss’s expectations of me?” Each of these questions is a prime example of the type of mindset that will improve your employer’s work environment. If you can’t answer these questions for yourself, then just ask your employer. They will be very happy to see that you are not on the job to only benefit yourself, but that you genuinely care about their success and that of the company as well.

 

2. Learn, know, and understand your employer.

On the subject of asking questions, focus on questions that will help you understand your employer. How are you going to help your boss if you do not know what they are trying to accomplish? How are you going to exceed expectations if you do not have a good grasp of the standards? “Research also shows that open communication between managers and employees is essential to building trust and therefore improving the quality of organizational culture in the workplace”  (PR Newswire, 2010). Every person, employer, and company, is different. Do not try to do things based off of what your former employer liked, or what you have heard other people do for their boss. Ask your employer about the specific duties they expect you to accomplish, even if they are not mentioned in your job description. Personalize your work skills to fit the company, and then use the new information and abilities that you acquire over time to set new standards for yourself. This will please your boss because they will notice that you are taking initiative and intentionally making time to understand and address their needs. There is no better way to make someone feel appreciated.

 

3. Take the initiative.

Once you know and understand your employer, start taking initiative in tasks that you have a high degree of confidence that they will appreciate. An example would be noticing that your manager has a busy week, and the company just got a new hire in your department. The manager tells the new hire what to do, but then he is barely available for the rest of the week because of all the other tasks he has to fulfill. Before the manager even comes to ask you to train the new hire, you should already be on it. You can show the new hire the daily routines of the office, company culture, a typical day in your department, what their daily tasks will consist of, and how to accomplish certain tasks. If the new hire has any questions, you should make sure that you are the first point of contact that they go to so that they do not rely too much on the manager’s time. As you fulfill this task, you should do it fully and happily, so that the new hire feels welcomed and follows the positive energy and attitude that you bring to the job. If the manager sees this, they will be very pleased because you would have lightened their workload, taken initiative as a leader would, and attributed great value to the company. This is what giving back to the boss is all about!

 

4. Fulfill your side of the bargain.

Industry and business leaders are starting to realize that whenever they are intentional about improving the workplace to make their employees feel happier, safer, and more fulfilled on the job, it motivates their team to show that same level of intentionality, if not more, through their work. So as an employee, you have to stick to your end of the bargain. Since the employers are doing their part to make your work life better, you should do your part to make their company better:

 

  • Get to work on time and give your boss their money’s worth of work until you clock out. We all know that sometimes life is unpredictable and there are random inconveniences that can ruin your morning and make you late for work, such as a flat tire, accidents, or a sick child. These should be the only reasons you should ever be late for work. Since your boss is counting on you to be at work on time, you should take the responsibility to make sure that you are punctual each day, with no excuses. Once you get to work, you should make sure that the time you spend there is productive and pushes the company forward. Fulfill your daily responsibilities, help other coworkers whenever you can, and ask for more tasks if you complete yours early.
  • Respect the people around you and be an example of a respectable employee. Though employers are making the workplace safer, more enjoyable, and comfortable, it is your responsibility to make sure that you don’t counteract those efforts. Employees should always find ways to make work even more enjoyable for the people they work with. Offer a helping hand if a team member is struggling with job responsibilities that you know how to do, ask them about their well-being, be compassionate, and respect their space and belongings. 
  • Treat your work space with care. Employers spend thousands of dollars on office equipment to make sure that everyone has efficient tools and technology to successfully push the company to the next level. With this in mind, you as the employee, should treat every piece of equipment with great value because that shows respect to the employer and the investment that is poured into them. Keep your work space clean and organized, handle each office equipment with care, and only use the amount of material that is needed to fulfill the task.

 

Each of these things is a way to show your employer that they made the right investment in choosing you for your job. It lifts their spirits knowing that investing in a great company culture and work environment returns such great work ethic into the company. This will encourage them to keep on focusing on maintaining a healthy work space for their employees while simultaneously pushing the company to newer heights. Everybody wins! #DoItForTheEmployers

Photo of Thabiso, author of this blog post.

Thabiso Ndiraya

Thabiso is the marketing intern for ServiceCentral. He is a helping hand for SEO and market research projects related to both ServiceManager and RepairQ. Outside the office, you can find Thabiso chasing a ball around the soccer field, strumming random notes on a beat up guitar, or devouring a Braum’s vanilla ice cream cone in 3 minutes.

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Community, Education
April 30, 2019

Differences of Returns and Return Repairs

When viewing completed Repair Tickets, you will see two different return buttons: Return and Return Repair. Each can be used for a specific function.

Returns are pretty standard. A customer might buy an accessory that winds up not working for them. The return button would allow you to select items from the original ticket to bring back into stock. You could then choose how that item is returning. Is it good to sell immediately? Does it need to be returned damaged or is it in need of some refurbishing? Once you’ve decided this information, then the customer can choose what they want to do with the money they are getting back. Do they want to just take their cash? Do they want to buy something else with what they are getting back? A return ticket will allow you to choose how you do it all.

Return Repairs, on the other hand, offer an entirely different solution. Let’s say a customer brings back a device that you replaced the LCD for several days earlier. You could go the return route, but then you would need to find the part you returned in inventory and change the status to either damaged or pending RMA. Instead, you can use the return repair function. When you start a return repair you’re able to see a list of the parts you used in the original repair ticket. When you select which part you are replacing a modal appears allowing you to select which status to bring the part that failed back into inventory as. You can then add notes to that specific part detailing why it failed. Once you continue with the modal, RepairQ automatically pulls an identical part from inventory to use on the new repair.

Both the return and return repair features provide unique ways to handle different types of repairs. Used correctly they can greatly enhance not only the level of service you offer, but also efficient ways for you and your employees to handle any return that comes into your store.

For more information on Returns and Return Repairs, check out our knowledge base articles below for detailed walkthroughs on the different processes.

Returns

Return Repairs

Chipp

Chipp Shearer

Chipp Shearer works as an Onboarding Support Specialist for ServiceCentral Technologies. He helps train new stores in using RepairQ, as well as a lot of behind the scenes work on the back-end. In his free time Chipp enjoys working on his computer as well as buying games on Steam – then not playing them.

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April 8, 2019

Employee Theft: What You Need to Know

You are a business owner or manager. You want to hire good people to help you run a profitable business. Some people appear to be trustworthy, but later prove to be otherwise. Employee theft is not something you want to think about, but it’s incredibly relevant to running a successful business. Take a look at these staggering employee theft statistics in a report from Static Brain:

  • 75% of employees have stolen at least once from their employer
  • 37.5% of employees have stolen at least twice from their employer
  • 33% of all business bankruptcies were caused by employee theft
  • 42.7% of inventory shrinkage is due to employee theft (35.6% is due to shoplifting)

Those numbers feel a bit grim right? However, there are measures you can put in place to make employee theft more difficult to achieve and easier to discover. Before we get to those, let’s first look at why employees steal.

 

Why employees steal

Employees steal mainly for the following reasons:

Financial stress The employee has college or credit card debt, personal or family medical bills, gambling debts, or drug addictions and their needs might outweigh their morals.

Dissatisfaction The employee who feels undercompensated or undervalued is able to justify the theft based on performance or how they are treated at work.

Opportunity The employee has access to enough inventory without oversight to feel that they can successfully steal and believe they will never get caught.

 

How employees steal

Employees steal through various ways, such as price overrides, discount abuse, fraudulent returns, and inventory or cash theft. For example, they can charge the customer extra, if the price isn’t displayed, the item doesn’t have a scannable barcode, and if they are able to override the price in your POS system. The employee then keeps the excess. Or, an employee could steal cash from the register or deposit bag. An employee could also enlist the help of a friend who returns stolen goods for cash.

 

How to detect employee theft

One way to detect employee theft is to know your employees and watch for changes in their behavior. Here are some employee behaviors that could be key indicators of potential theft:

  • Strong objections to procedural changes related to financial, inventory, or supply matters.
  • Avoiding spending time with you one-on-one. If an employee has changed from being social with you to distant and avoiding eye contact.
  • Sudden devotion to work and working late.
  • Lifestyle well above salary levels.
  • Drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Evidence of compulsive gambling or persistent borrowing.

Another important way to detect employee theft is to use a POS system that allows you to closely track inventory, balance your cash drawers daily or at the end of each employee’s shift, and to monitor financial reports. If theft is occurring, you may notice issues with inventory counts, an increase in how often you need to reorder supplies, or lots of voids, discounts, and cash drawer imbalances.

 

What to do if you detect employee theft

If you suspect an employee of stealing from you, be sure to thoroughly investigate and possibly seek legal advice before contacting law enforcement. False accusations can lead to lawsuits. When you have enough evidence, do not shy away from disciplinary actions and from having law enforcement come to your store to make an arrest. This will serve as a deterrent to other employees who see this because they will know you do not tolerate theft.

 

How to prevent employee theft

There are proven ways to prevent theft-related losses within your business. One excellent way is to put systems in place to monitor inventory, cash flow and receivables, such as using a good POS system. Here are some other ways to prevent employee theft:

  • Pre-screen applicants. Check references, order a criminal background check.
  • Make employees feel valued. Create a workplace that provides meaning and purpose so employees feel they are making a difference in the lives of your customers.
  • Lead by example and be a positive role model. Maintain a positive attitude and do your best to discourage negative behavior because it can undermine employee morale.
  • Arrange employee schedules responsibly. The probability of employees getting away with committing theft in the workplace increases when they:
    • Work in isolation.
    • Control too many aspects of any financial transaction.
    • Lack third-party scrutiny.
  • Carry out impromptu audits. Carry out random, spontaneous cash counts at different times of the day. Your employees will be unsure about when the cash drawer will be checked, so they’re less likely to take the chance of stealing from it. Inventory should also be counted on an unplanned basis. Inventory management tools can help you to track suspicious inventory trends. Review the number of returned or damaged goods to try to identify any unusual activity.
  • Review financial reports often. Look for changes or discrepancies, anything that stands out, such as a large number of voids or returns performed by the same employee. If your sales are up and your profits are down, somebody is probably stealing.
  • Put your workplace under surveillance. Install cameras in key places, such as near the cash drawers and by high dollar merchandise.
  • Set up a confidential whistleblowing line. Let employees know that their report will be kept confidential and that there will be no repercussions for them. Chances are good that another employee will see evidence of theft before you do. If you don’t set up a third party reporting line, then you will need to be approachable so employees will feel safe coming to you directly with information.
  • Spell out the punishment for theft. Talk to your employees about theft and have a clear theft policy and code of ethics for them to read and sign. Make it clear that your company will not tolerate illegal or unethical behavior. Having policies that are signed by each employee can save you a huge headache and legal fees in a situation where a former staff member sues for wrongful dismissal—it’s easier to prove that the employee was aware of regulations if you have proof that they read them.

 

How you can utilize RepairQ to help prevent and detect employee theft

  • Reconcile your VCT (cash drawer) daily, or with each employee shift change if you tend to have a lot of cash transactions.
  • Set up maximum discount limits for each employee user login.
  • Log out of RepairQ when you walk away from a terminal so employees can’t use your Admin login.
  • Set employee user roles, which define what areas and tasks each employee has access to in RepairQ. The default user roles can be further refined for certain subscriptions via custom permissions.
  • Set up IP address whitelist for each employee to determine allowed RepairQ login locations. Also prevents an employee from clocking in or out off site.
  • Track employee activity via system logs, ticket logs, inventory logs, and more.
  • Print inventory labels with barcodes and SKUs so they can be easily scanned into RepairQ to be added to a ticket more efficiently and accurately.
  • Check employee timesheets for accurate clock ins/outs. Employees cannot adjust their own timesheets.
  • Perform regular inventory counts by sections of your store or by Item Type (for example) to see how your physical inventory compares to the inventory records in RepairQ. You can assign inventory counts of the same items to multiple employees to see how their counts compare to each other.
  • Use Purchase Orders for tracking and adding inventory to RepairQ.
  • Utilize RMA Tracking for damaged items.
  • Set up automated notifications so you will be notified of certain changes to inventory, purchase orders, RMA items, and more.
  • Create Custom Forms to set requirements for various ticket types (such as adding an image of a customer photo ID or requiring a customer signature for item returns).
  • Monitor financial reports, such as revenue, profitability, employee productivity, returns, price overrides, waived charges, cash flow, summary report, and more.
Renee

Renee Stelle

Renee is the Customer Support Manager for RepairQ. She has years of experience as a Support Tech and over a decade in the telecom industry as a phone switch provisioner. She enjoys drinking a mocha while reading a book, playing board games with family, hiking, camping, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing.

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Community
March 2, 2019

ServiceCentral Paying it Forward

Our company has made it a priority to give back to our community over the past year. We are always looking for ways to grow and to affect our local community in a positive, healthy way. In the past our organization has volunteered at the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, where individuals or groups can spend a few hours weighing, sacking, sorting, distributing, and/or storing canned and fresh goods for the people that need assistance, but we are constantly looking for potential opportunities to give back and to build up our team members through volunteer and community-based work programs.

Jared Warren, ServiceCentral's digital marketing manager, having fun volunteering at the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma

It’s more than a competition to see which one of your developers can get the closest to weighing out 13 pounds of heads of lettuce over a three hour period of time. It’s more than coming together with a group of strangers and pushing hard to finish your quota. It’s even more than developing efficient systems and moving effectively as a team to accomplish a specific goal. It’s about giving up time that would otherwise be used for professional gain of the company to positively impact the groups of people that might be struggling, or that just need a hand up. That’s our primary motivator; everything else is just icing on the cake.

Have a fun idea for giving back to the community? Let us know via social media or by emailing us at marketing@repairq.io.

RepairQ volunteers at Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma
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Jared Warren

Jared Warren

Jared is the Digital Marketing Manager for ServiceCentral Technologies. He is the lead copywriter for all digital content related to both ServiceManager and RepairQ, and enjoys spending his time outside the office dedicated to his passions of competitive gaming, reading, and his wife Rachel.

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Community, Education
November 15, 2018

Social Media Marketing - Fighting the Good Fight

Social media is a beast, an unscrupulous, multi-headed gatekeeper to generations of pseudo-tech-savvy and relatively research-oriented potential customers. Our goal is to help you understand some of the finer intricacies of the social media machine and hopefully create better insights on how to utilize it effectively to gain a closer relationship with potential clients and leads.

The Issues

We have a huge tendency, as small business owners, to bring our own thoughts and preferences to the way we market our services. I see time and time again that mobile device repair stores having NO social media presence, NO business listings, and NO connection to a younger audience that has no other concept of connection, other than through social media or text-based services. Sure it might be a bit uncomfortable to get over the learning curve with a Twitter account or to try to match the ever-shifting style that Instagram affords, but it is absolutely necessary in the current climate. We live in a time where people, services, and products are so interconnected, the major difference between your shop and a big-box retailer OR an e-shop is the human element and unique service experience that you can provide. Innately, with rapid improvements in technology and the desire for immediate, easy service, repair shops are fighting an uphill battle.

Moving Forward

RepairQ simplifies a ton of processes that are intrinsically frustrating to deal with at a foundational level, as well as providing tools that help build the service experience for in-store and online customers that may be browsing around. There is only so much that we can do, however, without a strong social, online, and service presence that you, on the frontlines, have to develop and nurture.

But How?

There are innumerable resources available online that highlight tips and tricks to designing and fostering a healthy web-presence, but here are a few great places to start.

  1. GOOGLE YOURSELF – Make sure that your business listing information is correct and pertinent. If you type in “your business name, city name” and your business doesn’t pop up, it’s time to pay someone to get a website and some SEO work done.
  2. MAKE A SCHEDULE AND KEEP TO IT – If you decide to actively post in an effort to engage your customers with ads, new products, industry news, or business highlights, be sure to keep a steady flow of information going. Too many gaps isn’t a good thing. Trust us on that one.
  3. QUALITY IS KING – Quantity isn’t important at all on social media. An extremely common misconception is that “If I put out more content, more people will see it”, but unfortunately that’s not the way it works anymore. Videos and photos are the best tools of engagement on social media platforms right now. The more people “engage” with your content through liking, commenting, or sharing, the more it will be seen by other, like-minded individuals.
  4. DON’T BE AFRAID TO EXPERIMENT – Try different things. Try boosting a post, hosting a giveaway, or posting a picture of your pet cat “Scooter McPuffinstuff”. Social media is an open-source foundation for you to bring unique programs and service offerings to your customers, don’t get bogged down by what everyone else is doing.
  5. DON’T GET OVERWHELMED – It can seem like a lot, and honestly, it probably is. There are always other people ready to help that have unique and fresh takes on what works and what doesn’t.
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Jared Warren

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Jared Warren is the Digital Marketing Manager for ServiceCentral Technologies. He is the lead copywriter for all digital content related to both ServiceManager and RepairQ, and enjoys spending his time outside the office dedicated to his passions of competitive gaming, reading, and his wife Rachel.

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A Tulsa-based software company, RepairQ, is merging with ServiceCentral Technologies to improve the quality of life for small business owners around the globe.

Traditional brick-and-mortar retail is evolving every day and small, local businesses are  painfully realizing that it’s time to adapt or slowly slip into obscurity. RepairQ and ServiceCentral have banded together to make that overwhelming concept a bit less daunting by equipping retailers, who see the potential of device repair, with the tools and resources to connect big brands with local consumers.

Local brick-and-mortar retailers suffer year over year in an ever-changing market where the customers’ focal point is no longer the product, but rather the service experience. However, one industry that isn’t floundering is the device repair industry. Why is that? A study shown by SquareTrade explains that one in three smartphones will either encounter repairable hardware issues or become damaged over the period of their usage. That, paired with the increased cost of consumer electronics over the past five years, encourages consumers to hold onto their devices for longer periods of time, which in turn positively affects repair industry growth. Even Dish Network has started to branch out from its traditional satellite installation offerings by offering a delivery-based device repair service.

The cell phone repair industry is booming, with an estimated 4 billion in revenue last year and an expected three percent increase by the end of this year. The merge between RepairQ and ServiceCentral is embracing and harnessing that growth to help OEMs, like Apple and Samsung, connect with more local, authorized repair companies. If fact, Apple has recently announced they are expanding the availability of it’s “Horizon” machine to more authorized repair centers. Not only does this help the brick-and-mortars with their supply chain network, but it also supports the end user by providing a cost-friendly and convenient alternative to OEM specific retailers, like the Apple store. According to an article in the Economist, “Authorized dealers are often far-flung, much more expensive than independent ones and often cannot fix a problem.”

“Authorized dealers are often far-flung, much more expensive than independent ones and often cannot fix a problem.” 

RepairQ and ServiceCentral’s partnership is focused on alleviating those issues for both customers and the local brick-and-mortars servicing them. Every two seconds, somewhere in the world, a smartphone breaks, cracks, or malfunctions. iPhone users alone have spent 14 BILLION dollars repairing their devices over the past ten years – and that’s ignoring the opportunity cost of travel, time, and energy! Our goal is to influence the market by enabling any level of business in the retail space to compete with the “big guys”.

This merger enables shops to simplify their processes required to offer repair services and their ability to serve consumers more quickly with OEM services, saving them (and their customers) time, effort, and money. For the many manufacturers of consumer electronics, this access to local retailers is unprecedented and brings proximity to end users like never before.

“For the many manufacturers of consumer electronics, this access to local retailers is unprecedented and brings proximity to end users like never before.”

As the repair industry continues to grow and the world’s reliance on consumer electronics deepens– people will need access to high skilled repair services and the original manufacturers will want more control over how their devices are repaired. As recent history has shown, the retailers who see the writing on the wall and make the moves to adapt to an evolving industry are the ones who will be left to serve the needs of the consumer.

Jared Warren

Author

Jared Warren is the Digital Marketing Manager for ServiceCentral Technologies. He is the lead copywriter for all digital content related to both ServiceManager and RepairQ, and enjoys spending his time outside the office dedicated to his passions of competitive gaming, reading, and his wife Rachel.

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