Letting you in on a big, dark secret…
There are two kinds of tech support companies. There’s the ones that come and fix stuff when it breaks (break-fix), and there’s the ones that try and prevent things from going wrong in the first place (managed service)
Break-fix is a reactive service. When you need them, they show up, you pay them, and the relationship ends with the transaction. It might start again if something else goes wrong, but until that time comes, the relationship is ended.
A break-fix business can only build its business by helping as many clients as possible, so that revenue is always coming in. They can’t really specialize if they intend to grow to a point where there is sufficient staff to be available to answer the call when something breaks. What’s the problem with this?
From the customer perspective, that means if there’s not enough clients, the break-fix business might not be able to respond very quickly to a problem. They might have someone else’s problem to deal with first. That means you have to wait. There is no benefit to the break-fix business to providing preventative services. Services like performing improvements, monitoring for threats, updating software and hardware, and doing maintenance. If they were to be preventative, and the customer has fewer problems, that means less revenue and a failing break-fix business.
Managed services is both a reactive AND proactive service. In the same case as above, if there’s problems, technicians show up and fix the issue. This is where the similarity stops. The technicians then document that issue so it if happens again, they’ll know there’s something else which could be causing the issue and that needs to be resolved. The relationship is maintained even though the problem is solved. The customer pays a flat fee per month so that these issues are taken care of. Many times without additional costs for the repair service itself.
A managed services business builds business by specializing in certain kinds of customers. They need to specialize because they want to have deep knowledge in certain sectors. They provide that knowledge in the form of consulting for planned upgrades, customer business growth, and long-term planning. Why is this good?
From the customer perspective, they pay a low flat fee for the monitoring of equipment for impending failures, preventative services like regular software updates, managed antivirus, a cloud-managed firewall, and many more services that can help prevent problems BEFORE they occur. The fee also helps pay for the ability of the managed services business to employ great technicians and keep them available to resolve problems. There’s always someone to answer the call.
Here’s the bonus – the flat fee typically covers any repair and maintenance work. Why is that important? It is a commitment by the managed service business to the customer that they’re there to PREVENT problems. If a problem occurs, they’re going to take care of it without additional labor costs.
What We Do
We started out break-fix but we wanted to have long-term, healthy relationships with our clients. We also wanted to give back to the community by employing great people with good wages, and giving back to local charities. Managed services was the way to go for us and we have maintained a high rate of customer retention based on our choice.