Appliance repair businesses are busy in 2021, and all indicators point to steady — or even above-average demand — lasting for the foreseeable future. Typically, high demand is great for business, but nothing has been typical about service in the last year. Many companies, especially owner-operator repair businesses, are turning customers and additional revenue away because they’re at capacity.
What challenges does the appliance repair industry face?
While industry demand has outstripped technician supply for at least the last decade, most businesses were able to manage — but COVID-19 exacerbated the challenges of a sector already pushed to its limits. Some of the biggest contributing factors include:
- A lack of qualified appliance repair technicians
- The need to ramp up service teams quickly due to heavy demand post-COVID-19
- Increased repairs due to heavy home appliance usage during the pandemic
- Supply chain shortages that resulted in fewer new appliances available for purchase — consumers delayed new purchases, and older equipment requires more frequent maintenance and repair
- Preferences for remote resolution options
“Repair companies are triaging calls, hiring new employees and navigating backlogs from the broken supply chain for parts,” states the Washington Post. The in-depth article details the extent of the gap between service provider availability and consumer demand across the country.
But rapid hiring, especially when paired with a scarcity of parts, puts added pressure on service providers who are already maxed out. Sound familiar?
How can appliance service companies scale up?
With the help of technology, there are solutions to upskill a new crop of employees quickly. This ultimately makes it possible for your business to take on extra demand while still providing exceptional customer experiences.
1. Upskill the New Workforce Quickly to Slash the Skills Gap
The workforce shortage is not new. Skilled trade positions, particularly technician and engineer roles, have been the hardest to fill. There are other obstacles compounding the issues, too.
The Baby Boomer retirement wave is in full swing. Your most senior techs are leaving and taking all their repair knowledge with them.
Millennials and Gen Z employees approach work differently. The two youngest generations leave jobs nearly twice as often as their older counterparts.
This result is an increasing skills gap, and most in the industry don’t have the resources or budget to spend months or years training employees.
A better solution: Hire motivated employees with minimal appliance repair experience and quickly turn them into seasoned experts in weeks instead of years. That’s possible using technology that provides accurate recommendations with as much ease as a Google search.
How Aquant helps: Our service engine has digested and analyzed every major appliance repair manual (from OEMs including Whirlpool, Maytag, Electrolux, LG, and more), combining them with real-life best practices from veteran, certified technicians. The intelligent tool is easy enough for any member of the workforce to use. That empowers every member of the workforce to perform as well as your longest-tenured employees.
When knowledge is easier to acquire, employees can work on honing soft skills like customer service and relationship building.
2. Increase Your First Time Fix Rate
It’s easier said than done. If everyone on the team could make accurate repairs more quickly, you could take on more clients and bill for more services. Bumping up your team’s first time fix rate is challenging in the face of other demands, especially with a more junior workforce — but it’s possible.
A better solution: Make sure that dispatch diagnoses the problem correctly during the initial customer complaint call. Then provide the technician with all the relevant information before they arrive on the job.
How Aquant helps: With a click of a button, your team can access information from all the major appliance manufacturers and pinpoint the problem and necessary parts needed with a high degree of accuracy. This increases the chances of your technician arriving with the right knowledge and the right parts to fix the issue on the first try.
3. Offer Clients Remote Resolution Options
How many times is a technician sent to a job site only to arrive and find that the solution was as simple as hitting the restart button or flipping a switch? Customers don’t want to wait days for a solution that they could have fixed themselves in minutes. And your business can’t maintain wasted truck rolls in the face of a demand avalanche.
A better solution: Train customer support to resolve less complex issues during the initial customer call. Instead of having them flip through manuals or consult decision trees (which takes time and can be frustrating), give them options to triage issues in a matter of minutes using an intelligent, digital tool.
How Aquant can help: We’ve created an intelligent — and evolving — database of service information based on millions of service tickets. Using the smart triage system, your support agent walks through two to four service issue scenarios with the customer, and the tool identifies the most likely solution. If it’s a simple fix, you can guide the customer through remote resolution.
Increase the number of brands you support while scaling up.
In addition to helping your technicians solve problems faster and more accurately, Aquant is like a cheat sheet for appliance repair. With data from top major appliance manufacturers, including Whirlpool, Electrolux, GE, Maytag, and Bosch, to name a few, you have access to a pre-populated database with the information any technicians need to get the job done, regardless of the brand. Schedule a demo today.