'Technicians want to do technical work, they don't want to mess around with software'

'Technicians want to do technical work, they don't want to mess around with software'

As the largest Apple Premium Reseller in Belgium, Switch needed a repair and service platform that could bring greater efficiency to a thriving business

As the largest Apple Premium Reseller in Belgium, Switch needed a repair and service platform that could bring greater efficiency to a thriving business

Switch was, at one point, the largest Apple Premium Reseller in Belgium with 21 stores spread across Flanders, Wallonia, and Brussels. They were based in Antwerp, and was founded in 1992 with over 300 employees. Switch served a range of customers, from walk-in individual repairs to SMEs and schools.

They pride themselves on offering customers a great overall experience using Apple products, even offering professional workshops for both novice and advanced users.

Their journey towards finding Fixably was littered with several platforms that were “reasonably good” but never perfect for what they wanted to do — provide the service excellence that Apple customers have come to expect while running a successful repair business.

The Mission

“Most of the time, there was extra admin work when doing repairs,” says Sven Busselot, Operational Services Manager, Switch.

“Technicians want to do technical work. They want to repair a unit, they want to order parts. They really don't want to mess around with a system. It has to be quick and fast. And the system we had wasn't quick and fast.”

Fortunately, the recommendation to try out Fixably came from within Apple, with a representative helping Switch get in touch.

“We made an internal business case to understand how things would change. And we rapidly found that the time spent in the system to be significantly lower,” he explains.

Sven’s estimates showed that Fixably had cut the time spent on repair management dramatically. Their repair technicians were now spending three times less on documentation and other administrative tasks.

This, naturally, would make the repair workflow more profitable. “We would gain a lot of man-hours, mostly while ordering parts or in setting up communications with customers,” he adds. “We really wanted to lower time spent on administrative tasks, and that's where Fixably helped us.”

Switch takes their corporate social responsibility very seriously as well, and is a “green Apple reseller”. Fixably’s efficiency gains add to this mission.

Moving Forward

Despite the size of their operations, shifting from their existing solution to Fixably wasn’t a disruptive process for employees, especially for repair technicians.

“We found that it was very easy to train people because of the ease of use of the program itself. Once you actually show it to technicians who are already familiar with the work — how to order parts, how to lookup stock items — it isn't much different from previous programs.

“If we did run into certain issues, we were able to send off an email or launch a ticket. And we got replies really quickly. So that helped us a lot as well.

“The parts ordering is very intuitive. The technicians themselves didn't have any issues. They found that they were able to look up a serial number or a part type, order the part and do whatever they needed.”

Integration for the Win

For an Apple authorized provider, access to Global Service Exchange is a necessary part of every repair. Technicians have to shift between the repair platform and the GSX portal while doing repairs to ensure that everything is documented properly.

This naturally means that an API integration would have to combine repair management and Apple GSX use in a single user interface, a Fixably feature that got their service manager’s attention.

“It seems normal now that we’ve used it for a year. It seems normal to be able to have a unit and a serial number and... you order the part all from within one system,” says Sven.

“Before, we had to go into GSX, look up the serial number, go through all of the steps set up by Apple and then copy and paste the information from GSX into our system.

“That was maybe a minute, a minute and a half that we saved per service order and we do about forty thousand of those. The calculations added up.”

And this is just one of the numerous optimizations that make Fixably the best available solution for Apple technicians.

Offering Service Excellence

Fixably has been able to help on the customer side of things as well. Apple’s service excellence requirements are not easy to meet, and customer support is a big part of that. Repair shops need to be able to offer clear communication without it increasing their overheads too much.

“Being able to send an email from within the service order itself or sending a message from the service order, and receiving a reply within the same workflow so that the technician can move on (is useful),” he adds.

“We started using the customer portal in June 2020, but it was not really because of the pandemic. The main (customer) entry point for us is through Apple itself.

“But the main feature of the customer portal for us is the tracking of existing service orders. We get between 1,000-1,200 calls a day. About two years ago, that was the last time we actually checked, 70 percent of those calls were service-related. And most of those would be repairs. ‘I have an issue with my iPhone or laptop. What do I do? Do I come to you? Which store? What are the prices?’ Things like that.

“But also, the status of my repair. And this is something that was very important for us because it’s something I calculated. And if we could divert most of the calls to a customer portal, we would save a lot of money and a lot of man-hours.

“The customer can track the repair (and communicate with technicians) — ‘I agree with the quote. Can you send me some pictures? What is the status?’ This direct connection impacts our customer care center a tremendous amount. Now we see that there are fewer calls.”

It also helps their branding efforts. A clear communication strategy also enforces a standard of customer service and relationship that fosters a strong brand relationship.

“This (the communication module) helped us to standardize our communication with the customer,” says Sven. “We have to say exactly what we mean. They are also able to look up their own file (repair order) on their own time (on the customer portal) and they don’t have to do it within business hours. They can do it over the weekend or in the evenings.”

(UPDATE: Switch was acquired by Lab9, also a Fixably customer, in mid-2022)

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