Mobile success could depend on this often-overlooked campus service

Technology repair services on campuses will likely be seen as a higher-ed essential critical to boosting outcomes and helping students save time.

campus-technology-repairYou can’t use what doesn’t work. But this “duh” technology problem is more than just a frustration on today’s campuses–it can lead to significant time lost during and after class, ultimately affecting student outcomes.

And it’s this time loss problem that’s leading a growing number of college bookstores to offer on-campus tech repair services to fix damages and minimize the time students are without their devices (should accidents happen).

As the use of technology in education continues to grow, and as students have become increasingly reliant on their smart phones, tablets and laptops, it’s never been more critical to ensure students can successfully and efficiently complete their school work in a timely manner.

According to recent research from McGraw-Hill Education, 48 percent of students definitively said technology saves them time while studying. Moreover, 77 percent of those students indicated technology saves them two to five hours per week or more.

But what if a student breaks one of their all-important devices?

“I don’t know how you could do well in school without technology today,” said Chuck Morrison, COO of technology repair company Staymobile. “Access to technology is essential, and it’s a lifeline in some senses as a lot of classes don’t even use textbooks anymore. It would be very challenging not to have any devices and get through college, and that’s happened pretty fast. You wouldn’t have said the same thing 10 years ago.”

Whether it’s a cracked screen on a phone or a virus on a laptop, the importance of quality repair services to alleviate problems such as these that students often face can not be understated moving forward, especially during important times such as finals week or simply when working on a group presentation.

Also, when technology repair services become readily available, students and even faculty often feel more comfortable about adopting new devices and software, due to the knowledge that they will be protected should anything go wrong.

“Having proper technology repair will be almost an essential service going forward on campuses,” said Morrison.

(Next page: Georgia Southern University’s tech repair service; the most common repairs needed)

A Tech-Repair Implementation

Boasting the largest consumer electronics/technology store on a college campus in the U.S., Georgia Southern University’s The Tech Corner was a natural choice for Staymobile’s first higher-ed partnership. The company now has three other institutional partnerships in development for 2015.

Founded in South Carolina in 2009 when the iPhone and similar devices began to take over, Staymobile has since completed over 250,000 repairs and expanded to more than 20 retail storefronts in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia. Aiming to provide repair services from certified technicians in as little time as possible, the company has paired up with numerous K-12 school districts, which has expanded into higher ed.

The company believes it’s a natural fit for education not only for fast repair time, but for its recommendations on accessories designed to enhance the functionality and utility of devices, as well as offer protection plans intended to cover devices, data and identity. All repair services (other than water damage) from Staymobile come with lifetime warranties.

“We’ve been very pleased with their whole operation,” said Bill Gargano, a long-time veteran of college tech center management and the director of Computer Sales and Services at Georgia Southern University. “They’re very professional, use quality parts without doing any re-using, and they have lifetime guarantees. Overall they’re a very professional company that I would recommend to anybody.”

Even before partnering with Staymobile, The Tech Corner always serviced the computers they sold, but ordering parts for repairs could often take up to a week. However, the partnership with Staymobile (which rents space in the college bookstore), allows for repairs more quickly by factory-trained technicians, since the company stays stocked with the parts needed for the most common repairs.

The Most Frequent Repairs Needed

Staymobile has identified cracked screens due to falls as the most common problem across all student devices at GSU, with water damage and data restoration being other major issues. Other common issues include battery problems and damage to charge boards due to constant jamming of chargers into devices.

“If there’s any technology issue on campus, bring it to us,” said Morrison. “We want to help diagnose the problem, and we don’t mind being a help desk.”

“It’s great that students don’t have to go find somewhere to get their devices fixed,” said Gargano. “Many freshmen don’t even have cars. So staying on campus and saving time is the biggest benefit.”

When asked to identify the biggest challenge of mobile repair on a college campus, Morrison was quick to point towards uncertainty of the market as the most challenging factor.

“We know exactly what a K-12 districts’ devices are,” said Morrison. “On a college campus, you can’t know what people are going to walk in with. We try to have the right inventory for the right products, and we generally know at least 75 percent of it, but you can never know for sure.”

There may also be issues with providing tech repair from the standpoint of campus bookstores as well.

“One issue can be simply finding space in the bookstore,” said Jonathan Bibo, COO of the Independent College Bookstores Association. “Is there a place that can be turned into a tech service center? Promotion and marketing on campus is key to getting up and running operationally as well. But once students know, these sorts of technology repair services have come off as truly successful. College stores in general just need to keep challenging themselves to find products and services customers want.”

(Next page: Benefits outside of repairs)

Hidden Benefits

Getting, and keeping, students in the bookstore thanks to a tech repair corner can be a great benefit as well.

“What we do has no seasonality, and drives traffic into the bookstore at non-traditional times,” said Morrison.

“The more services college bookstores can offer to keep campuses up and running and content, the better,” said Bibo. “Offering services like tech repair brings people in and shows them it’s a year-round place meant to support students with a host of services, and not just where they go to buy textbooks, a computer and a sweatshirt when they get back to school.”

Offering technology repair services on college campuses can also carry other unique benefits for students.

For example, “One of the greatest things about going to campuses is being able to provide jobs,” said Morrison, who explained that it’s a great opportunity for willing students to receive high-quality training in a booming service industry while simultaneously providing them with a part-time job and some extra money.

Helping students all-around

As for whether or not Staymobile often recommends specific apps or software in order to help students stay organized, Morrison says that they recommend whatever works best for the customer.

“People are creatures of habit,” Morrison noted. “Most people try a lot of apps, but keep going back to what they’re used to. The learning curve of switching to something new can end up killing time rather than saving it, so people should just go with what they’re used to.”

And when it comes to familiarity, it’s important that students can always count on their technology when they need it.

“Students these days do everything on their phones – texting, e-mails, socializing, gathering information – it’s so much a part of their life, this service isn’t going away,” said Gargano. “Handheld devices are not easy to take apart, so it’s nice to have Staymobile’s trained people to take it apart and then put it back together. If you bring in your iPhone in the morning, they’ll have it ready for you in two or three hours. Such great turnaround time in getting it fixed same-day by knowledgeable people can make all the difference for a student.”

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