meeting with the stakeholder
Both small and medium business owners own different electronics that might break down time to time and those appliances not working means loss of income for that particular business. Defining the error and fixing it is not something that entrepreneurs have expertise in so they have to call maintenance services for that. This, however, is time-consuming and in this case, time is money. While machines are broken small business often can not provide their service and therefore they are loosing money. How might we help them fix their machines faster?
What it does
Fixbox is a platfomr where business owners and technical/mechanical experts.
For business owners, Fixbox helps to diagnose the problem and find the most suitable way of fixing it - whether is a handy do it your self manual, video call with remote expert or service visit onsite. He can book suitable time and pay for the service right away. Variety of options enables business owners to receive the service immediately.
For experts, Flixbox is a platform to offer their services independently. They can list their skills and expertise they offers, prefill schedule with their availability and prefer way of providing the service (remote, onsite).
How we built it
We began with the defining the problem how we see it. For us it was the fact that however expensive things are, eventually (or sooner) they will break. Depending on the electronic device you have two options: you fix the thing or you buy a new one. Compared to individuals, businesses have more at stake - they will lose customers and income when necessary appliances break down. For that reason, we chose small and medium businesses as our target group. Nevertheless, the businesses face the same option when electronics break - do they fix it or buy a new one?
Buying a new one might be the easier way but its more expensive and not that sustainable. However, fixing things takes up unknown amount of time. Our goal was to make that easier for the businesses so that they wouldn't have to go through the hassle we learned from our research.
We talked to a few business owners and there were four main problems with both maintaining and fixing their appliances: it's time-consuming to both find an expert to come and fix it (if you don't have a partner) and getting the broken appliance to work again, fixing it yourself might be faster, but it can be risky and in addition to fixing appliances, they also need routine maintenance.
From there on we started to ideate about what could be the solution that would tackle all those problems in a user friendly way. For that we generated user journeys and features we wanted the service to have. After a few rounds of iteration, when we found ourselves stuck, we decided to try the Crazy 8 method to create more possible features. To narrow them down, we voted among ourselves and decided on creating a platform that unites small business owners and technical experts to minimize time that takes to get electronics fixed, either by experts or by businesses with the guidance of those experts.
Throughout that process we had different ideas, including AR, Iot sensors, chat-bots, preventive notifications, etc. but creating a solution that satisfies the user needs, is viable, user friendly and better than the existing solutions seemed beyond our expertise. So we found a middle ground in creating a platform that uses the experts that exist but are hard to find and businesses that might need maintenance unexpectedly but fast.
Challenges we ran into
Our main challenge was narrowing down all the problems both individuals and business owners have into a solution that has the potential to satisfy the needs of customers and also be a sustainable.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're very proud that after all the ideation process we actually have a prototype that shows all the features we think the platform should have. We are also very proud of the process what we went through - starting with confusion over what we're actually supposed to do and delivering an design solution and a prototype that is a solution to a problem.
What we learned
Major observation and insight from interviews was that small business owners usually don't care about maintenance and error prevention, until something doesn't break. They obviously follow yearly maintenance checks, but they would rather not pay for additional service until something is really broken.
What's next for Maintenance in small businesses
With technology developing in such a fast pace, the current challenge is to utilize all the possibilities. Right now we already have so many tools, we just need to learn to use them the best way possible.