Most successful computer consultants realize at this point that instead of relying on hourly service charges to bring in their income, they need to be charging flat monthly fees through a managed service plan. The days of depending on hourly repair for maintaining a successful support business are long gone, and proactive maintenance is the way to go.
Computer consultants still though must answer the difficult question of how to convince clients – many of which might have been paying hourly-rates for years – that managed services is a more cost effective way to support the network.
The most important factor for solving this problem is that you absolutely must convey to your client that they will be receiving a benefit in this structure. You need to show them the value in what you are doing, and from their perspective.
Besides the fact that they are going to able to predict their monthly bills and budget appropriately, you need to explain how affordable the plan is in the long run, by reducing or even eliminating problems that might have plagued them in the past, which might have caused unexpected, high billing periods.
You should impress upon them that their computer systems will become even more reliable due to your constant monitoring, and the ability to recognize problems as they begin to occur will prevent more costly issues down the road.
This can also greatly boost productivity, because you will be able to prevent the types of issues that cause downtime. Downtime is very expensive. Reduce downtime and increase productivity and you’ll be increasing their bottom line.
You can show your clients how, with software programs that you will invest in (which are relatively inexpensive to you), you will be able to monitor their systems remotely and deliver the proper support and recommendations before they become an issue effecting productivity.
The remote access you’ll use to address network and end user issues will also increase their productivity and reduce support costs.
By connecting to a users workstation remotely, you’ll be able to get employees back to work almost instantly as opposed to having them wait for you to arrive on-site to fix a problem. Even minor issues add up to major productivity losses, and remote support can reduce these minor problems dramatically.
Plus, by charging flat-rates, you give your client the freedom to have all issues, big or small addressed as needed without the stress of having to associate a billable charge with each of the problems being fixed.
Besides being extremely valuable to the client, you should also recognize the value you will be receiving by operating this way. By being proactive in addressing problems, you will have less major issues to deal with, easier scheduling due to a reduced amount of unexpected problems, you will be able to reduce travel time to and from your clients’ locations, you will keep your clients happier thanks to faster response and increased productivity, and you will eliminate all of the time spent creating and reconciling your billing on both ends.
When you add up all the benefits the client will receive through an increase in their productivity, a reduction of downtime, faster response times for support requests, and an overall increase in the performance of the network, converting clients from break/fix hourly support to flat-fee managed services becomes a transition that works in everyone’s favor.