If you are like most smartphone users, we buy a new device every two-three years and never need to have a repair done. Most problems that come up may be that we have a bad SIM card, a software update goes awry or the device simply acts up and we take it to the carrier's store and ask for help. But when something actually breaks and needs fixing, like an on/off switch, volume rocker or something more serious, where can we go? This is exactly why two former rivals are teaming up to open up dozens of Mobile Klinik stores throughout North America, in an attempt to offer customers that must often go to a mall kiosk or a small one-person repair shop, an easier way to find a shop and receive faster, guaranteed repairs.
Former WIND Mobile CEO Ken Campbell and head of Rogers wireless cable divisions, Rob Bruce will open the Klinik stores under a franchise agreement with Point Service Mobiles (PSM), a Paris-based repair shop with over 200 stores in France, Belgium, Germany and Great Britain. The stores will be staffed with trained personnel that can quickly diagnose the problem, give the customer an instant price quote and complete repairs in under an hour. Mr. Campbell said, "Not all the best ideas have made their way to Canada yet. If you've ever broken your phone, the experience is variable - it can be great, or it can poor. It's an industry that's never consolidated. We're taking an advantage of what we've seen as something that's missing in the Canadian market."
The Campbell and Bruce have known each other for years and the Mobile Klinik idea came during a brainstorming session. The two will be both investors and advisors in the business and plan on opening up 60 stores over the next three years - mainly in the Montreal-Toronto corridor, but would also like to hit Alberta and British Columbia as well. They plan on placing them in high traffic areas and near retail stores run by the Canadian carriers in hopes that those carrier stores will refer customers that need repairs to their Mobile Klinik stores.
They also own the rights to open stores in the northeastern US and Texas. One research sort said that right now, repair stores are "very hit and miss" and even though they are repairing an expensive piece of equipment, often have that "dollar store look." He said that many consumers pass on the insurance and "if the pricing and positioning are done well...this can grab that niche definitely."