Picture this: you park your car and walk up a small phone repair business. The “Open” sign is off, their store hours clearly state they are open 10-7pm, and it’s currently right around 2. You look through the window and don’t see anyone, but try the door anyway. It’s unlocked! So you walk in. It’s completely silent, with the exception of some faint noises coming from a back room that sound like birds screaming. What?! After standing there for about a minute, you try the usual things: clearing your throat, pacing a little, and finally speaking to the silence, “Anybody home?” Batting 1000 already, huh? A disheveled repair technician grunts and comes out from the back room, dressed in a torn t-shirt and jeans, looking like he hasn’t showered in two weeks.
Here you are thinking you were going to support a local business, but the thought of leaving your precious $900 electronic lifeline in his hands to get repaired is terrifying. And for good reason.
It’s the little things that matter when it comes to small business. Sales, profits, and accounting are all super important, don’t get me wrong. But if customers aren’t coming back through your doors, your doors won’t stay open.
So what are those “little things” anyway? I’m no business expert, but I’ve seen enough small businesses rise and fall to know a thing or two.
It may sound vain, I know, but think about the previous scenario. All it takes is a few minor changes to turn that wowwwww experience into a WOW! experience. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Start with your store. Make sure hours are clearly posted, the open/closed sign is always correct and lit up, the floor is swept, cabinets are clean, and any digital signage is fresh and up to date. The first impression your customers get is the most important.
Next, focus on your staff’s appearance. Create a handbook and set standards. Company-branded nice t-shirts, polo/golf shirts, slacks or nice jeans, and closed toe shoes. It may seem silly at first for a repair shop, but you will have people from all walks of life entrusting your shop with their precious smartphone or computer. Don’t give them a reason to feel uneasy from the start.
Set Proper Expectations
Now that your potential customer feels comfortable in your store, let’s earn their trust. Greet them right away. Even if it’s a one-person operation and that one person is in a back room turning screws, make sure that one person says something like, “Hey there, I’ll be right with you.” Help yourself to some coffee or a bottle of water if you’d like”. If they have to wait more than a minute or two, be sure to acknowledge them again. The check-in process needs to give them that “wow” experience too. Be personable, ask the right questions, show an interest, and above all else, be nice! Believe me, they aren’t happy to be there. They come to your store because of a problem; they know they need to give up their device for some time and fork over some hard-earned dollars.
Set the right expectations. We all know that most smartphone screen replacements don’t take too long, but often times there are little kinks: phone calls to answer, customers to greet, and a billion other things to draw your attention away. Give yourself a buffer and set time expectations correctly. It’s much better to say it’ll be two hours and be finished in one, than say it will be 30 minutes and actually take two hours.
Communication is Key
One thing that I always enjoy when dropping off something for repair is an acknowledgement of my item being received. Whether it’s a print out or an email confirmation, some sort of proof of receipt is great. RepairQ offers email notifications that can be triggered based on ticket status, which can be incredibly handy in communicating with your customers. If your POS system offers something similar, be sure to utilize it.
Give updates on the status of their repair. If additional time is required, let them know. If parts need to be ordered, let them know. If any potential delay arises, you guessed it, let them know! One other thing that RepairQ offers is a way for customers to check the status of their repair at any time. Remember that email confirmation they got at drop-off? You can easily include a link for them to check on their repair whenever they want!
When the repair is complete, use your POS tools (preferably RepairQ, of course) to notify them. Create a trigger to email your customer when their item is ready for pickup or just grab the phone and call them. Whatever method you utilize, just keep your communication clear and professional. Then solidify the experience with a handshake and a genuine thank you.
Gather Feedback and Engage
Coffee shops are really good at crafting an experience that compels you to come back. Some offer a rewards program, push out follow up emails/texts, present discounts, and design methods to provide positive or negative feedback on your experience. This doesn’t have to be a food and beverage industry-specific program! There are so many tools at your fingertips to do this yourself and engage with your customers.
Create a loyalty program and make sure to educate your staff on how to sell it properly. Make sure the customers know that even though they may think their screen won’t crack again, accidents can happen. Capture their info, sign them up for rewards, and use that as a means to reach out in the future.
Follow up after the sale. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a phone call. There are a few ways inside POS systems, like RepairQ, to automate follow ups. Create an email that goes out 7 days after the sale that asks if they enjoyed their experience. Use reputation management tools to encourage engagement and improve customer satisfaction. That includes following up professionally with dissatisfied customers.
When a customer comes back in that either you or your system recognizes, be grateful. Show your appreciation for repeat business by offering a freebie (coozie, magnets, stickers, etc.), small discount, or at least a handshake and a genuine “thank you for thinking of us again.” You’d be surprised by how much the little things count.
Travis is a Business Analyst and Implementation Manager for RepairQ, with 12+ years in the wireless industry. His previous experience with sales, repair, and management in the repair industry bring a different perspective to the company. When he’s not in the office, Travis devotes his time to his wife and daughter, his church, and his community.