Marketing

How RepairClinic.com Uses Digital Media to Build and Service Its DIY Community

Servicing more than 3 million customers to date, StellaService Excellent-rated RepairClinic.com has made a name for itself amongst Do-It-Yourselfers who appreciate the site’s wealth of home repair how-to videos and generous 365-day return policy.

One customer writes: “Love your videos. Love your email. I am a 75 year old woman and these really help me not only to fix what I can and also not look like a fool when a repair man comes. I have ordered parts for my friends’ refrigerator and fixed it. He is 84 but doesn’t know which end of a hammer to use. THANKS AGAIN.”

We spoke with RepairClinic.com’s Jody Lamb, public relations manager and editor of RepairClinic’s DIY blog, to get her insight into how the company approaches customer service and the role that digital content plays in educating and servicing customers.

RepairClinic has more than 20 million views on its YouTube videos. When did you start to produce these videos, and how do you gauge success of the videos? 

Most people wouldn’t expect a replacement parts company to have a YouTube channel with 23+ million views and 23,000+ subscribers! RepairClinic.com uploaded its first how-to repair video in May 2010. Troubleshooting, repair help and maintenance information have been an integral part of RepairClinic.com since it went live in 1999. We’ve continually enhanced this content throughout the years. When YouTube launched and skyrocketed in popularity, we recognized that how-to videos would be far more effective than written instructions in helping customers fix appliances and equipment.

From a customer service perspective, the videos have far exceeded expectations. Customers are truly appreciative of the model-specific repair help they find on our site. Today, we have 1,500 how-to and how-it-works videos for appliances, outdoor power equipment and heating and cooling equipment. They’re viewed more than 40,000 times per day. Individual video success is measured by views, generated traffic to the site and sales of featured products. Overall, we know our videos are important to our customers’ experience with the brand. Free how-to content makes us much more than a place to buy parts. They view us as a reliable resource.

Your blog, DIY.RepairClinic.comfeatures safety and maintenance tips alongside company news, giveaways, and customer stories. How does this blog help from a customer service perspective? Which categories of posts tend to get the best response from customers? 

The blog definitely complements the website’s repair help and reinforces maintenance/safety information. It also enables us to more frequently share relevant, timely tips. For example, because this winter’s harsh storms and cold temperatures have touched so much of the U.S. and Canada, we’ve posted more snowblower, furnace, energy-saving and storm-preparation content. Customers have responded well to and appreciated this.

The blog also provides a closer look at the people of RepairClinic and our corporate culture. People have responded positively to learning more about our on-staff repair specialists; we believe it gives the brand greater credibility. Customers have also told us they enjoy checking out our state-of-the-art warehouse operations and learning more about the many fundraisers and community outreach programs we’re involved with locally and nationally. One customer emailed to say that though he doesn’t personally know any RepairClinic employees, he considers us “friends” simply because he thinks so highly of what we’re part of here.

The most shared posts are related to safety. Many people are not aware of the dangers associated with appliances, outdoor power equipment and heating and cooling equipment – if not maintained or operated properly. They like to share these tips with the people they care about in their lives.

Successful repair stories are always a hit on the blog and in social media. There’s if-he-can-do-it, maybe-I-can confidence building. Plus, who doesn’t love a good story about major money savings?

What kind of feedback do you get from customers around your content initiatives including YouTube channel, the DIY blog and help guides?

Every day, customers call, chat, email and write on our blog and social media accounts about our repair, maintenance and safety content. They say our website’s easy-to-use troubleshooting and repair help system, videos and related information have “empowered” them to successfully complete repairs on their own and save money. While competitors have followed our content-creation lead, our customers seem to favor the quality and reliability of our content.

Your company stocks a million different parts for a wide range of products including lawn mowers, small engines, snowblowers, string trimmers, furnaces, air conditioners, air handlers, heat pumps, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers and vacuum cleaners. Does this present a challenge for your customer service team when it comes to product knowledge and quickly answering questions from customers around product specifications? How does Repair Clinic approach this operationally?

It’s a challenge to keep up with manufacturer and vendor changes to products but we’ve always made data maintenance a top priority. As long as a customer has a correct model number, our customer service reps are able to find the right parts for his/her appliance or equipment quickly. Our reps are armed with great resources for helping customers make sure they’re ordering the right parts for their specific models.

Additionally, RepairClinic has a team of appliance, outdoor power equipment and heating and cooling equipment specialists. They regularly complete manufacturer training programs and hold certifications and master level technician statuses. This team develops training programs for all departments that interact with our customers – Customer Care, Marketing, Purchasing and others. It’s very common to see new models of washing machines, snowblowers, water heaters, dryers, etc. hanging out in training room and hallways.

Tell us about the “365 Days. Period.” Return policy. Why is it important that customer have a year to return products? How do you think this impacts the overall customer experience and customer loyalty? 

Due to the nature of the products we sell, the return policy is an important element of our customers’ experiences. Customers have one full year to return a part for a refund of the part cost. This covers everything – including electrical and installed parts. It remains the best policy in the industry. New customers often cite this generous return policy as one of the primary reasons they take a chance on us – and repairing something on their own. It’s also a reason customers say they repeatedly choose us, even if a product is priced slightly lower elsewhere. Customers appreciate the confidence that comes with knowing if it doesn’t fix the problem, they can return it without hassle.

What are some of your favorite RepairClinic.com customer success stories that you’ve heard?

We enjoy all of our customers’ stories but the most touching tend come from grandmothers, physically-disabled people, young parents with limited incomes and the self-declared unhandy people who had never previously attempted to repair anything. Our favorite recent stories include the spunky 85-year-old grandmother who fixed her neighbors’ lawn mowers, and the young man who felt he finally earned a good relationship with his in-laws after fixing their appliances.

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