‘Hybrid’ Service Concept Expands OpportunityRobert Coolidge
For the past several years, the mantra in the consumer electronics service industry has centered on business diversification to combat drops in television pricing that sometimes make replacement more economical than repair. While some TV servicers are staying the course, others have determined it’s in their best interest to expand their offerings.
These ‘hybrid’ techs are growing their businesses beyond one product category to help draw more customers and generate additional revenue. Many TV servicers have gravitated toward major appliance repair as a logical fit for their existing skill sets.
This evolution was on full display at this year’s National Professional Service Convention hosted by the National Electronic Service Dealers Association (NESDA). For the first time in NESDA’s history, more appliance servicers were new “first timers” to the convention than purely electronics techs. NESDA catered directly to this growing part of their membership by offering a wealth of appliance training courses such as refrigerant theory and handling, sealed systems, Panasonic commercial microwave, LG dishwasher, Samsung home appliance technology and Electrolux/Frigidaire refrigeration.
In July, Encompass is offering a popular training course aimed at helping electronics servicers cross over into appliance repair. The class, led by Level 2 Learning, introduces refrigeration and cooking appliance repair. Judging by the response we’ve received so far, servicers are eager for this type of training. And it’s not just electronics servicers who are diversifying. I recently had my clothes washer repaired by an appliance tech who mentioned he also installs flat panel TVs.
Beyond appliances, all kinds of technology is emerging that requires experienced repair techs, such as digital signage, virtual reality gaming systems and recreational / commercial drones. Encompass had drones on display in our booth at the NESDA convention as we have diversified our own business into this sector to supply parts and sell whole units. Several enterprising servicers at the NESDA convention expressed interest in selling drones at their counters this holiday season – more evidence of enterprising techs seeking opportunities to build their businesses.
Digital signage and mobile devices are other categories worth exploring, as well as home security systems and personal computers. As more warranty companies are moving toward insuring any device in the home, techs able to service multiple products will be in high demand. Electronics techs should have a clear edge as their technical acumen can translate across just about anything with a power switch. (And of course Encompass is here to support your repair parts needs for dozens of different product verticals!)
If you’re not looking for innovative new ways to grow your business, you will get left behind by your competition. There are myriad opportunities to expand whether through product sales or new service offerings. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and use your expert skills to try something different. If it doesn’t work out, you’ve lost nothing and gained new experience.