Wednesday, February 10, 2010

One Out of Three Consumers Opt to Replace Rather Than Repair

According to a report from Consumer Reports, one out of three consumers with broken products, such as electronics and appliances, didn't even bother to seek a repair or stopped somewhere in the repair process. Instead, they simply replaced.

"If your appliance is eight or more years old, usually it makes sense to buy a new one," recommends Consumer Reports.

Accordingly, you should always offer customers a replacement option with every repair on every product. While you might be able to repair it, the customer might prefer a bright, shiny, new one.

Few companies excel at the promotion of product replacements like Apple. As an article appearing on Yahoo notes, Apple's made replacing batteries next to impossible by soldering them to the casing of iPods and iPhones.

The Yahoo article quoted Anthony Magnabosco, the owner of San Antonio based Milliamp, which repairs iPods and iPhones. Magnabosco said, "When Apple sealed up the first iPod in 2001 with a battery that you couldn't remove, they were sending a signal that they were not intended to be repaired. I believe they want people to come in and buy a new one when the device isn't charging anymore."

Apple has clearly benefitted from its emphasis on product replacement.  The Yahoo article notes, "Soaring stock prices and ramped-up revenues aren't built on third-party maintenance and consumer patience."

When presenting a replacement option, be prepared to address the environmental considerations.  As Consumer Reports notes, "Although junking nearly new products can make economic sense, it makes no environmental sense."

Consumer Reports is referring to consequences of disposal and the energy consumed in the manufacture of the new product. Thus, your replacement option should include a disposal plan for the old product that recycles as much of the product as possible and responsibly disposes the rest. Since most new products tend to use less energy or water than those being replaced, you should note the savings. Greater efficiency reduces homeowner utility expenses and the impact on the environment.

By reducing the environmental consequences of product disposal and noting the beneficial consequences of more efficiency, you reduce the guilt that might impede environmentally conscious consumers from doing what they really want to do, which is replacing the old, breakdown prone product with a bright, shiny, new one.

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