'We thought, If we're growing this much, we need a system to back it up'

'We thought, If we're growing this much, we need a system to back it up'

MacRent, a Premium Service Provider from Sweden, needed an optimized solution that could help manage their exponential growth

Bas De Vries
Bas De Vries - COO and Director of IT-Operations at Amac

MacRent is an Apple Reseller and Premium Service Provider in Stockholm but has customers all over Sweden. They’ve been in business for over 20 years, with experience in sales, support, repairs, and leasing of Apple products. As a company, MacRent is deeply passionate about technology and sees themselves as having “service in their DNA” — a sentiment that we understand.

They do have individual customers but focus on small businesses that need intensive IT support, including repairs. They’ve got a solution for most entrepreneurial ventures, from large advertising agencies and TV and film production companies to smaller businesses like furniture stores, hairdressers, lawyers, photographers, and fashion designers. This means providing a standard of service that actively aids in the growth of local businesses. 

The Need

As with many repair and service providers, their need for an efficient solution came with rapid growth in business. MacRent diversified their services, and so had to divide up the different focus areas of the company.

“When we started to focus on the different business areas, we started to get more work,” Noah Gibson, CTO, MacRent. “We grew over 400 percent in five months. We started to realize that our old service system wasn’t really suitable for scaling. It was a stable and a good service system, but it was outdated.”

MacRent relied on a platform that could be modified to manage a number of different workflows, which is common in the repair business despite the growth of niche SaaS products over the past decade.

“It was built so you could throw anything in there really,” says Noah. “It wasn’t really made for Apple units or products at all. Throw in a dishwasher there and you could service it.”

And they came to the same conclusion that most modern businesses do about the central application that controls their core workflow — an optimized solution is the only answer to inefficiencies.

“We just thought, ‘okay, so if we’re growing this much, we need a system to back it up,’” says Noah

Finding a Solution

MacRent did consider developing their own software to do this. The difficulties were obvious, and primarily because of the resources an in-house application would need.

“So I talked to some colleagues in Sweden, and different AASPs (Apple Authorized Service Providers),” explains Noah. “They said it’s great to have your own systems because you have control over it. But it’s difficult to keep up with the API changes and some of the technical stuff in the backend. It's quite time-consuming and costly.”

This is the same conclusion that Fixably founder Joel Mansnerus arrived at five years ago, when he decided to start a SaaS company to fix the problem once and for all.

Noah continued his search for another solution and came across what was then called SirWise, now rebranded as Fixably. “I talked to our service manager and we decided on SirWise then because we had heard a lot of good things about it,” says Noah.

Moving During a Pandemic

They moved to Fixably just before the pandemic, complicating situations a bit. “I think it was just three months before Covid struck when we actually transitioned to Fixably,” recalls Noah. “The pandemic was getting out of control. So we got help from the team remotely, via email, in setting everything up.”

A remote installation is not a problem for a cloud solution, but training everyone to adapt to a new application and workflow is not usually an easy task. “We would have loved to have someone over to do the training, and Fixably offered, but we decided not to go ahead with it because of the restrictions,” says Noah.

“It was not without friction, but considering that we launched a new workflow, a fundamental workflow, for one of our biggest revenue streams in one week, I think it went really well,” he adds.

MacRent made the move after having tried out a few basic repairs. “We started using Fixably the second day after the APIs and the Apple tokens were in place. Yeah, so we just ran with it.”

A Year of Fixably

Fixably has helped in improving the efficiency of the repair workflow. It’s accomplished through a number of features that reduce the time a technician spends on the platform. The application has done its job only when technicians are spending the vast majority of their time repairing a device rather than using the repair management platform.

The best example of this for an Apple authorized provider is GSX integration. “The one thing that technicians really like is that they don’t have to use the GSX portal to create repairs anymore,” Noah explains. With GSX integrated, all the information on any parts they have to order is available within the Fixably platform. No switching between tabs and no duplicating data.

“You just add the right part to the repairs, and it becomes easier to track repair tickets as well. You don't have to copy-paste anything anymore.”

Another feature would be the use of a custom macro to reduce the time taken to complete a task. Noah noticed that the check-in macro for the front desk was particularly useful during the pandemic, when social distancing rules restricted the number of customers allowed in the shop.

“Fixably helped us register a service request at the front desk quickly, and so there were smaller queues. It’s quicker for the customer to drop in, leave the unit and get out. We would otherwise require more time with the customer to take down their information.”

Keeping Customers Happy

Of course, the impact is not limited to efficiency. Accurate communication with customers is a big part of a repair and service business. Fixably integrates all customer communication into the repair workflow, with much of it automated.

It’s set up such that customers are kept aware of exactly what’s happening to their devices via email or SMS. It also allows technicians and service managers to maintain a uniform tone of voice, adding to the brand that a business is trying to create.

“The communication functions raised our CSAT (customer satisfaction) score by about 10 percent or so,” says Noah. “To be able to automate that, it saved a lot of time and gained a lot of customer trust through communication.”

Fixably also offers a service portal as an easy source of information on every repair you’ve managed for a customer.

The Ease of Doing Repairs

“To get back to the fundamentals, Fixably is a powerful tool,” says Noah. “And I think the stuff that you guys are doing that we don't even see and can recognize, you know — like all the transitions with APIs and such — those things are invaluable for us. So it's a really great system.”

When every feature has a clear objective, to minimize manual work, the result is a tool that increases productivity and profitability.

“We could have never handled all the repairs that we're doing today without Fixably. We have quite a few technicians but keeping track of all the orders, it wouldn’t be possible.”

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