At the very heart of this company are the knowledgeable associates who care about helping our members. This week I had the pleasure of speaking with Wayne Archer, a technical author with Sears PartsDirect, who started with the company in 1994. Wayne is a Texas native who doesn’t like cold winter weather and will never complain about it being too hot. He is a father of two boys, grandfather to three girls and a great-grandfather to one (very spoiled) little girl. Wayne is also an active member of the Patriot Guard Riders, a group that rides, when requested, to honor fallen soldiers and other heroes.
Wayne is also a YouTube star for the Sears PartsDirect YouTube channel, which has almost 600 videos about diagnosing and repairing problems with appliances and yard-care equipment. He helps thousands of members troubleshoot issues with their water heaters, lawn mowers, refrigerators and more. Last year alone, the Sears PartsDirect YouTube DIY channel had more than 9,285,500 views. The page has 32,883 subscribers and provides valuable help for DIY repair jobs.
How did you get started in this field? What is your background?
In 1974, I took a job at an apartment complex repairing the appliances. At the same time, I enrolled in a technical trade school. After graduation, I took a service technical job with Montgomery Wards. I spent seven to eight years there, then changed to a company that repaired large, commercial products. I left the field service life and took a job with a technical support company that Sears eventually bought.
Why did you start making the Sears PartsDirect videos?
The videos came about because of the growing DIY market—it seemed to make sense that if we were selling parts to people for their appliances, we give them information on how to install those parts. The popularity of YouTube is the perfect way to market those videos. The troubleshooting videos were a natural progression from the repair guide videos. We also noticed that competitors’ DIY help sometimes tended to gloss over the details of how to fix things. We make sure our videos give the details the DIYer needs to replace a particular part or troubleshoot a problem.
How do you think these videos help drive awareness, traffic and revenue for the business to support the company’s transformation?
The videos drive awareness, traffic and revenue because they make SearsPartsDirect.com a more robust site; now, not only can you buy the repair part, you can also see videos that help you diagnose the problem and then fix it. It’s extremely satisfying to see the many positive comments on our videos about how the video helped someone fix a problem and how grateful they are that we created the DIY video.
Some individual videos have as many as 400,000 views in a year on YouTube. That’s getting the Sears PartsDirect name in front of a lot of potential customers—and they came to be because the team in Round Rock, Texas, created great content.
As the public face of the videos, I often get the credit for the troubleshooting videos we produce. But I wouldn’t be the ZZ Top of the DIY appliance repair world without team member Lyle Weischwill, another tech author who researches and writes the scripts; or Alissa Stout, our awesome multimedia person who makes me look and sound great—no matter how many times we have to reshoot the scene; or tech author Kim Hillegass, who reviews the parts used in videos and writes easy-to-understand part names and descriptions in addition to checking part photos. And then there’s our group choreographers, as I like to call them. Julie Riebe and Erin Hynes keep everything flowing in a professional direction to create the best repair info on the web.
Why are you proud to work for Sears Home Services?
I am proud to work for SHC and Sears Home Services because it helps people get more from their appliances—by giving customers the option to either have a trained technician repair the appliances or to repair it themselves. We also offer home improvement services that make the house in which the appliance resides more attractive and livable.
What would you tell others who might be contemplating a career as a technician or other Home Services role?
A career as a technician can really be rewarding, especially when you see a smile on the face of person whose appliance you’ve just fixed. And the service business is here to stay, because appliances need maintenance and repair over time.
Many of our videos may be helpful for a new technician to learn about new products and show them how to troubleshoot the product efficiently and correctly.
There are hundreds of reviews on the site from satisfied customers. Having to fix a broken lawn mower or water heater can be extremely frustrating and Wayne’s videos are a great resource for members. We are proud to have Wayne and his entire team as part of the Sears Holdings family.