We’ve all been there. We’ve all been the victims of the dreaded Cellphone Disaster when we crack our smartphone screen, are unable to charge the phone, or when the microphone no longer works for video conferencing on-the-go.
What to do? Replacing the phone would be expensive. That leaves repair, but that repair would have to be done right.
What is needed is someone to repair the phone. Someone that can be trusted to do it the right way. Someone like Jonathan Strange.
While in high school in Montgomery, Alabama, Strange was out running and got caught in a pothole and fell, breaking his phone. Strange couldn’t find anyone who could affordably and quickly repair the phone, so he decided to do it himself. After repairing his phone, word spread and his classmates started turning to him to repair their phones the right way.
Strange soon found himself repairing a dozen or so phones a day and a business was born. In 2014 he founded XiRepair.
“When I started XiRepair there were little to no affordable options for myself or other customers to have their electronic device repaired the same day,” he writes. “I saw this as an opportunity to give individuals and businesses a reliable, unbeatable same-day service, and that’s what we did.”
November’s National Repair Done Right Month recognizes and celebrates the outstanding work being done by Strange and other dedicated repair professionals across the country.
It’s also an opportunity to applaud repair technicians and raise consumer awareness about trusted repair services, since nearly 60 percent of Americans told Consumer Reports that there were too few options for consumers who need to repair smartphones, small and large home appliances, and vehicles and more than half say we have replaced a broken product sooner than we wanted to because we couldn’t find a repair professional that would fix it the right way.
Fortunately, businesses like XiRepair can ameliorate those concerns by gaining CTIA’s WISE certification, ensuring that repairs are done right all the time.
WISE stands for Wireless Industry Service Excellence. It is the industry-recognized standard for retailers and technicians performing phone repair. The WISE Certification was developed as collaborative effort across the wireless industry.
Having a WISE Certification means that the repair shop meets the exacting standards developed by wireless carriers, device manufacturers, insurance companies, independent repair shops, and leaders in reverse logistics.
“We were an untrained industry before WISE,” Strange said. “WISE coming through and filling in the gaps with definitions and training guides and ultimately a certification program. To me, it was a winner for not only our shop but the customer, because ultimately the quality of service is much higher because of that.”
A WISE certification ensures that the repairs are done right, with more than 15,000 technicians across country who, like Strange, are certified to take care of all brands of mobile phones.
WISE’s value to consumers means a lot in the competitive repair market—so much so, that some companies are having all their technicians complete the certification process.
Batteries Plus CEO Scott Williams credits enterprise-wide WISE certification as a key factor in the company’s recent partnership with Samsung. “Last year, we became the very first company in Samsung’s global Independent Service Provider program, and we made it very clear in announcing that exciting partnership that our expansive WISE certification was the #1 reason Samsung initially approached us for the partnership.”
“Enterprise-wide WISE certification lets our customers know that their personal devices are being repaired by highly capable, certified technicians that adhere to national standards. Leading the way on WISE certifications brings us trust and credibility with customers, confidence for our repair technicians, and credibility for partnerships with some of the biggest names in the industry.”
So how do you make sure your technician is WISE certified? With more than 3,000 locations there’s probably one near you. Just look for the WISE owl logo, or go to the WISE retail directory.
There are two types of WISE certifications, depending on how badly the phone is damaged. Level 1 technicians are certified for common repairs such as diagnostic testing, data backup, restoring and recovering data, and testing and inspection when the technician doesn’t have to crack open the phone. Level 2 technicians are certified for more advanced repairs such as opening and replacing components including the motherboard, screen, connectors, and other parts.
For consumers who are new to the repair process, Michelle James, vice president of strategic industry programs for CTIA, the convening body for the WISE certification program, shares two key tips:
Check the terms and conditions for cost estimates. The repair shop should provide a brief written description when you hand over the device of your repair, along with an estimate for services to be rendered. There are occasions, once the technician has opened up the device, they find other issues that were not obvious when the repair was booked. Typically, the technician or shop owner will reach out to you to explain the issue and confirm next steps if there are other repairs that may need to be addressed after the technician performs the diagnosis and triage process.
Consider what replacement parts to use. Your selected repair service provider should provide you with the option of using original manufacturer (OEM) or third-party parts as a part of the repair. Be aware that unauthorized OEM parts can make a problem worse or even create a new one. When making decisions on replacement parts, be sure to also check your device warranty. A limited warranty can cover only specified parts or a warranty may cover the cost of selecting OEM parts.
WISE-certified technicians are used to answering questions like these and are proud to provide a quality product that consumers need.
Dustin Insell started iTech Rescue to fill a gap in his community. “I heard some people I knew who were driving 45 minutes to get a battery replaced on their phone, so there was a need for this in our community, there was nowhere local to go.”
“I reached out to WISE, because in doing my research I saw many companies were certifying their techs with WISE Certification. That certification was important to me, because when you give someone your personal device, you want to know they know what they are doing.”
By using a WISE Authorized Service Provider, consumers can be confident their technician has met the requirements established by wireless industry subject matter experts. With WISE consumers can rest assured data is handled with best practices, and basic safety protocols are followed. Certified repairs should be performed with the highest of quality industry recognized standards.
“The industry has come a long way,” said James. “We want to earn consumer trust through standards-setting, certification development, industry-wide transparency and ongoing communication. Consumers deserve a trusted option that takes a repair experience as seriously as they do.”
Retailers small and large including: Batteries Plus, Cell Phone Repair, Asurion Tech Care Centers, Fix-It Mobile, XiRepair and iFixOmaha, joined this evolution to bring the best care to the mobile repair market.
As Rodney Schlosser, senior vice president of business development and strategic partnerships at Asurion shares, “Consumers want confidence when they have their devices fixed. By setting industry standards we let the public know what level of quality they should expect when they go in for device repair or other services.”
“From grading and technician training to parts and software that might be upgraded or refreshed during the process, we help maintain this ongoing expectation of quality for your smartphone so that it functions as it should when you leave the store or open the box.”
For Asurion Phone & Tech Repair, Batteries Plus, Cell Phone Repair, XiRepair, iFixOmaha and other retailers, working across industry—with original equipment manufacturers, repair parts and tools suppliers, insurance providers and others who are involved in the device repair ecosystem—to create a common set of expectations has been critical to the repair market’s success.
Another piece of the industry’s growth is their ability to help consumers meet their sustainability goals.
Reduce, reuse and recycle has long been a mantra for people who want to lessen their impact on the environment, and for many consumers, rethink, refuse and repair is a natural extension of that mindset. If it’s done right, repairing a broken cellphone keeps money in a customer’s pocket, while also keeping their device from becoming e-waste.
Repairs done right are more than just a quick fixes for an ailing cellphone, as a critical part of the circular economy that keeps materials, products, and services in circulation for as long possible by keeping that cellphone going into the trash.
Mobile Klinik is part of that circular economy. With 121 stores across Canada, Mobile Klinik is a leader in professional smartphone and tablet repair, refurbishment and resale. The company is so committed to keeping devices out of the landfill, Mobile Klinik is offering $100 off the cost of repair when activating the device on a plan.
“Anyone who activates a plan with us, because we are so tied to extending the life of devices and keeping them out of the landfill, we’ll give you a $5 a month sustainability credit as long as you have your phone,” said Mobile Klinik CEO Tim McGuire.
While the company started out as a repair business, McGuire said they came to realize that there was a market for refurbished phones in Canada.
“We started out as a pure repair company. If your phone wasn’t broken, you didn’t need to come to us,” he told Retail Insider. “We’ve realized that Canadians need a low-cost, high-quality provider of all the services they need to keep them connected and to do so at great value in order to keep things going forward.”
Sustainability became a new business for Mobile Klinik, and it opened a central refurbishment facility
“Now we are Canada’s largest buyer and seller of used devices,” he said. “We have rapidly moved to become the full-service, everything for your phone shop and that’s what the buy, sell, connect is all about.”
Today, we depend on our cellphones more than ever. They provide us with a way to keep in touch with our loved ones, provide entertainment, let us keep abreast of the latest news and are a lifeline in case of an emergency.
With all that power at our fingertips, it’s no wonder we want to keep them in tip-top condition, and we want to ensure that when we they need a repair we entrust them to someone who can make sure the repair is done right.
Breaking a cellphone is never fun, but a WISE certification takes some of the anxiety out of cellphone repair because consumers know it’ll be done right. While November is National Repair Done Right Month, those with a WISE certification will be doing repairs the right way all year long.