Do you have a PDA, Smartphone or other handheld device that that has died or become less functional due to breakage or wear? Do you suspect it could be repaired but you do not know how? Afraid it will cost you an arm and a leg– and are not these things more expensive to repair than replace? You'd like to take a chance on one of those online, mail-in repair centers but how do you know who really has the expertise, who is trustworthy and what price is right for your repair? If it is something simple, will they sell you the part and give you a little assistance to do it yourself?
Reputable, professional repair services do exist and they want your business. They are fast, efficient and able to meet your needs. If you do not know one and do not know how to find one, follow these steps to find help and get your beloved device working for you again.
First, decide upon some likely search terms and enter them into the search engines (eg terms like "PDA Repair", "PPC Repair", "Blackberry Repair" and "Do It Yourself PPC Repair.") Use more than one search engine because although they appear to have the same information, each is a little different in its search terms and may not have exactly the same business services listed. When you have accumulated a group of websites that seem like possible candidates to contact, subject each one to a deductive reasoning process to "filter" your range of options. Use the following guidelines to scrutinize the sites. At the end of the process you should have a small group of repair service providers you feel good about.
First Filter: Scrutinize the sites you've found to determine which ones market their products and services directly to your current need.
Do they have expertise with your brand and model? Have a significant inventory of parts? Look for lots of parts for lots of models; the chances of having quick access to what your device needs are greater with a repair service that is well stocked and ready to advertise it.
See how much attention they devote to Do It Yourself customers rather than other repair businesses. Do they offer you technical assistance by email or phone, or both? You will not need this for certain simple repairs and part replacements, but you may want breathing, speaking human being for something more complicated, just in case the pesky tech manual or leaflet falls short of your expectations. Which online parts and repair services are clearly sending you the all-important message, "We're here to help"? Steer clear of a business that seems to be a mere parts-supplier.
Some other signs of success and good business practice are customer lists that include well-known corporate clients, who increasingly repair and refurbish their PDAs and smart phones rather than replace them, saving them thousands of dollars every year. Personal customer testimonials are less reliable but still valuable as part of an overall picture.
Second Filter: Next, go where the pros go to research expertise and professional reputation. Conduct deeper research on each site that you are considering, seeking reviews, ezine articles, forum posts and blog entries that feature the company and its services. Use the repair site's name as well as the owner's name or other names mentioned on the site as your search terms. (You might find these in the "about" or "contact us" sections of the site.)
Use more than one search engine and check a few social networking sites as well. Be willing to go deeper into the search engine pages, looking for older instances of your sites and names, and keeping out an eye for obscure journals and newsletters that may be known to only a handful of people in the business. Refuse to be intimidated by tech terms and acronyms.
Walk around all the jargon and look for the recommendations of people who work in the profession. Do they give an impression that the business lives up to its promises of customer satisfaction? You do not needlessly need to know what all the technical terms means to get a sense of what the collective voice is saying. Notice what the site owners and their associates may have achieved in their field. Have they developed new products or procedures that others are writing about?
Watch to see whether or not they are keeping up with the latest developments in their field, both in the hardware and software areas. The world of hand held devices and accessories is volatile and new products and services emerge often. Does their business reflect this?
Repression among people may be a sign that this online business is a labor or love as well as profit. This is what you want.
Third Filter: By this time you will have narrowed down your list of prospective repair services and even more importantly, you'll be more educated. Begin to make email and phone inquiries. Many online businesses like to begin new relationships by email. Either you or the site can suggest switching to more personal telephone communication. Have they provided a toll-free number?)
Do not be embarrassed to show a lack of expertise. Ask them to pause, if necessary, as you make notes. Creditable repair services and sellers of replacement parts want to take care of you. They are interested in being good teachers and consultants when their customers need it.
You may know exactly what you need, for example a touch screen to replace a broken one, or a new sync connector. Most people can perform these replacements. Do you need some specialized tools? Ask. Even if you have to purchase a new tool along with a part you may still save significantly. Other repairs may be more complicated. Unless you love to find out how things work, you may want to turn this over to an experienced technician. Have your questions ready and ask the representative to make recommendations, and then ask why. You may discover that the innards are not as complicated as you thought, and enjoy the savings of doing it yourself. Leave all your options open.
Realize that they may need to examine the device before they can tell you exactly what is wrong and what needs to be replaced or if it can be (most problems really can be solved-even if you dropped your device in water.) Like any good professional, they will have seen your problem before, and they'll know how to ask you the right questions to narrow it down. Once you have sensed a zone of trust within your communication, you've probably found a service you can rely on.
Be sure you understand their return policies and shipping policies, warranties and testing procedures.
You've researched, you've communicated, and you know that in today's world online repair business is legitimate and booming. You may find yourself in the enviable position of having your own "tech guy or gal" to whom you can transfer all or part of the responsibility of keeping your device going for a long period of worry-free service at a price you can afford, with the added convenience of online shopping.