COVID-19 effects can be felt in nearly every industry worldwide, and the cell phone industry is certainly not immune to its devastating disturbance.
With so much uncertainty on when the crisis will end, businesses in the cell phone repair and sales industry have a choice to adapt to the constant environment changes, or close.
Due to our industry listed as an essential service during these times, many cell phone shops have the ability to stay open and even grow their business if they follow safety rules as other rules established by the governments. Shops in malls have been hit hard during the COVID outbreak. If you are a phone repair shop in a mall location, you may want to consider moving your operation to a stand-alone shop, or a smaller location where you can easily enforce safety rules such as social distancing and others as per your government orders.
The Cell Clinic has made it a priority to not only survive during the COVID-19 outbreak, but to thrive as an essential service during these unprecedented times.
Here are some of the things we and others in our industry are doing to remain open during the COVID-19 crisis.
Safety and Sanitization
This pandemic, as we have seen in the news many times, has brought out the worst and the best in people.
The safety of your employees and customers is number one! Make sure you talk to your employees and find out what is of concern to them and then address the concern.
Cleanliness in your cell phone repair store needs to be a priority for your staff and customers! Customers need to feel like they are safe in your store. Here is what the Cell Clinic implemented week one when the fear of COVID-19 hit our area of Vancouver, BC, Canada:
Offered hand sanitizer to customers upon arrival
Implement physical distancing measures (6' or 2mm apart) -- if needed, install arrows so your customers can move safety around your store.
Installed safety signage outside the store (remind of physical distance & warning not to enter if sick or have COVID symptoms)
Installed plexiglass shields at reception desks
Used gloves when accepting and returning customers devices
Sanitize devices upon receipt and immediately before handing it off to the customer while wearing gloves.
Constant sanitization of all areas in the store
Appointments / In-Store Services
As a cell phone repair store operating during this pandemic, you may want to consider only taking appointments. If you are a one-person operation this might be the best option for you, as you won’t have to enforce social distancing. If you haven’t taken appointments before there are many free options online that plug into your website and allow you to take bookings for repair. Due to our location and staff complement, the Cell Clinic decided to offer curbside, mail-in and in-store repair services by walk-in or appointment basis
Curb-side Pickup - Online services - Mail-In repairs
In addition to providing in-store services, we have introduced various service options so customers can choose the option that best suits their needs or comport. For example, our customers can stay in their vehicles and we will serve them at curbside (payments made via etransfer / credit card). Or they can mail in their repair and we will offer them a free one-way mailing label and a bottle of Whoosh spray to keep their devices clean. Any product that you sell in your stock you can sell online via platforms such a Shopify. For example, the Cell Clinic sells pre-owned devices on our online store (www.cellclinic.shop).
Depending on where you live, your business may be eligible for government assistance to help you with losses due to COVID. This is typically in the form of an interest-free loans or wage subsidy programs if you have employees.
With the closure of many stores and the lack of traffic on community streets, the increase of break-ins is rising. Make sure you are protected your business and valuables during this time in the case of a break-in. There are multiple safety measures that can be put into place, and what is best for your needs should be assessed by someone in the business of providing safety services. For example, we have high tech security systems in our store, safety locks, strong metal gates and we do not leave any values in the store that can be taken by thieves if they do happen to get in the doors. In fact, here is footage of an exact incident that happened at our location when a thief got in and didn't get out (see link below). Since this time we have changed our locking system and the type of glass (no shatter) that we have in the store. Every second counts when a criminal enters the store. Constantly improve your security measures and access them against your risk. IF YOUR STORE IS CLOSED -- BOARD UP THE WINDOWS AND DOORS.
Here is a video of our strong gates holding up a robber long enough for him to be caught- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sKYLQWEx7M
Keep Your Customers Informed Use your customer mailing list, website, and social media pages to inform customers of the changes you have made to your business to in order to service them safely and efficiently during COVID-19. This will also make them aware that you are open during the pandemic and doing everything you can to ensure their safety.
Consider implementing promotions to help customers save money during the COVID-19 when funds are so tight. The key to success during COVID-19 is to stay in business -- keep your staff working and keep your customers happy!