Cell Phone Repair industry has seen tremendous growth since 2010 as smartphones became more expensive and fragile. Perhaps, there is a recent influx of cell phone repair centers popping up in nearby shopping centers and malls, and promising customers a more affordable solution of fixing phones and retrieving the information stored on damaged phones. Indeed, the affordability and ability to retrieve information are the only two pillars that give the industry its current strength. However, will our two pillars continue to exist in the next 3-5 years, or is it now the time to re-evaluate the business and adapt to a changing landscape?
The biggest challenge we foresee the industry would likely face is to convince customers that repairing remains to be a cheaper alternative to a new device. Since the launch of Apple iPhone 6S, every major telecom carrier in the U.S. has provided its customers with the ability to finance phones with zero upfront payment and interest rates. Moreover, telecom carriers such as T-Mobile has gone one step further with its JUMP ON DEMAND program, offering its customers the ability to upgrade their phones up to 3 times a year as long as the customers trade in the last upgraded phone. One might argue that such benefits of early or multiple free upgrades are only available to postpaid customers who do not truly represent the customers served by a typical cell phone repair center. Perhaps, prepaid customers are even more spoiled and have gotten accustomed to heavily subsidized devices, often starting at $0 with a new line of service. Certainly, customers will soon lack any incentive to spend money on repairs that cost anything more than $0.
But isn’t it true that customers pay for repairs because of the vital data stored on their devices that they want to retrieve at any cost? Not Really. With the advent of cloud services available on both Apple and Android platforms, customers are now blessed with a particularly inexpensive solution of backing up their important data for as little as $0 a year.
In fact, it is now time to learn an important lesson from some well known cell phone manufacturers and telecom carriers whose actions have caused such uncertainty in once thriving repair industry. Both manufacturers and carriers are increasingly becoming customer centered, relying on providing their customers with the freedom to choose among different services in return for their loyalty. They understand that customers desire novelty and demand assistance, and that the customers’ issues must be addressed instantaneously. Now that we know one possible solution, it is imperative to discuss the ways to fully capitalize on the traffic that walks into your repair centers, to adjust to the changing landscape and to build your customers’ loyalty towards yourself.