Malcolm Frazier built his first computer at age 11 from pieces and parts he found in a dumpster, and it’s still running. “I named it Frank,” Malcolm, founder of Tech Repair service company FrazCom told me. “He’s come a long way since I found him in that dumpster, but he still has some of the same first parts that I found out behind my dad’s house.”
Today FrazCom is a B2C computer repair company that supports consumers in many of the “oops” moments that happen day to day. “As I see it, people don’t have a personal tech repair person. People have dedicated service providers for mowing their lawn, cutting their hair, unstopping their toilets, but the only number they know to call if their computer crashes is Best Buy’s Geek Squad and their prices are outrageous.”
From personal experience I also know the Geek Squad might wind up saying there’s nothing we can do but still charge you for their time. “At FrazCom, we listen to the problem the customer’s having and then tell them whether we can do anything or not. It kills me to think you can charge someone when all you’ve done is looked good and said you can’t help.”
FrazCom services everything from installing home theater systems to fixing cracked iPhone and iPad screens to updating software and removing viruses. “A lot of people just want to tech-up, too,” he said. “We have a lot of clients who are older and sort of missed the computer modernization phase of the past 10 years. When I go in and see a computer still running on an XP operating system, I try to talk to the user about how far technology has come since this was released and how we can catch him up.”
In India (and I’m sure other countries with histories that are older than America’s, but I’ve been to India so I know about this, at least a little) the vast majority of middle-class households have someone who comes around every day to clean, someone who comes around to collect clothes for ironing, etc.
In the United States we have laundry rooms or laundromats. Many might claim that this makes life easier, and perhaps so. But you still have to factor in time to sort, wash, fold, and put away. Before you know it, laundry turns into a 2 hour ordeal that no one really wants to do despite how easy it may be.
Companies like FrazCom are coming up all over the U.S. now, though, and showing what kind of service economy might start out of internet driven 2013. “Our main form of promotion is Craigslist,” Malcolm said. “We post on there several times a day which gets our site some good traffic. We put out a neighborly vibe. We’re not trying to pretend like were some big company that plays by corporate rules. I think people are sick of that—we’re just being us, and it’s working.
“I think services like Groupon and LivingSocial have helped small businesses get the word out quick, too. But the coolest part is that with the Internet we’re in charge of getting our name out there. We don’t have to worry about ads in the Yellow Pages anymore. That’s refreshing.”
He also mused that there’s been an ironic rise in trust that’s come with the Internet. “You know, you turn on Dateline or 20/20 or whatever those shows are and all you see is a report about another person attacked through some chat room on the Internet. That scares a lot of people, but on the whole I think people are more trusting on the Internet than ever and a lot of that is aesthetics.
“Most of our competition has websites that look like a scam when you go to it. Many didn’t even pay for full rights to the iStockPhotos but just left the copyright mark on them. That look doesn’t breed trust. But just like a really nice storefront makes people want to come shop there, a nice looking website can garner some serious trust right off the bat.”
Online Appointment Scheduling With FrazCom
“TimeTap has made a huge difference for us,” Malcolm said. “Especially because I can embed a ‘Book an Appointment’ button right onto our Craigslist postings which lets people know when their issue can be resolved ahead of time.”
He says that displaying his availability on his website has also been a huge boost to the trust factor. “I tried to just have a contact form on there at first, but people are just much more hesitant to fill that out. I don’t know what the psychology behind that is, but online appointment scheduling is sort of a no brainer for people looking to get issues resolved.”
Malcolm also said that the email and text message notifications and reminders have been a huge benefit. “I can’t tell you how many hours I spent just confirming that I got their information and then sending reminder emails manually. Having that off my to-do list is a huge relief.”
Above all, however, Malcolm says the best thing about having online booking software is being able to send Thank You follow ups. “I include satisfaction surveys in each of my follow up emails so I can complete a full customer service experience and get testimonials to host on my website.”
Well, he said that was the best thing, but then he one upped himself. “The other best thing is that it’s so easy to use. Not only from my perspective using the backend side to set everything up, but with most of my clients being upwards of 60 I’m really glad there’s not 20 buttons to push. I’m glad there’s just ‘Next’ and that’s that. No one gets confused and that’s a beautiful thing.”
FrazCom has been a TimeTap user since May 2013.