Offering Remote Support Plans to Everyone

We’ve begun offering all new clients proactive and reactive support plans. Why is it so important to offer both options to all customers? Look at the insurance industry. A healthy insurance company needs a good mix of clients who make no claims, some claims, and heavy claims. By selectively offering remote support in the past we’ve ended up only signing up our heaviest users and cannibalizing our margins.
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We just rolled out two new remote support plans. The plans offer proactive (we tend the garden for the client) and reactive (we empower the client to tend their own garden) levels of support priced at $49.99 and $27.99 per month, respectively. We’re offering all new clients these plans at time of close in the hopes we achieve at least 50-percent attachment. Why is it so important to offer both options to all our customers? Look at the insurance industry. A healthy insurance company needs a good mix of clients who make no claims, some claims, and heavy claims (a normal distribution). By selectively offering remote support in the past we’ve ended up only signing up our heaviest users and cannibalizing our margins.

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Our new workflow forces the sales person to present our service offerings to each and every customer. By setting expectations up front, we’re able to differentiate our product offering from our competitors and directly address a customer pain point (feeling helpless). Still, our sales and service teams have been skeptical about our ability to deliver on the promise of proactive support, and I don’t blame them.

Most of our after-hours calls result in remote reboot of errant Apple TVs or video surveillance systems, and some require the dreaded “truck roll.” Last night, someone called in complaining that their Nest thermostat control was missing from ELAN’s control app. Can we expect an after-hours support technician to diagnose and fix something like that? Can we plan for that? It turned out that Nest made a change to its software, which broke ELAN’s app. Sound familiar? Multiply these outlier scenarios by 100 and you get a good picture of our after-hours support calls. I’m guessing you get the same calls after hours but don’t have a revenue stream associated with them. Wouldn’t it be so much better to get paid for all the stress arising from after-hours tech support?

Murphy’s Law shows us that the first few weeks of a new system installation inevitably results in the client experiencing an issue that our remote support appliance (we use a mix of Ihiji and OvrC Pro) didn’t detect. It’s because of these Murphy’s Law incidents that we go overboard to stress early on that our proactive offering (Invision) will catch 80 percent of issues, but nothing’s perfect. We’re actually hoping to get more adoption of our reactive (Invision Express) offering because it’s up to the client to try to fix their system first using OvrC Home before calling into our Network Operations Center for help. The Invision Express clients seem to experience a higher level of satisfaction because the expectations are set lower.

After one of our clients signs up for Invision or Invision Express, we do the installation in the context of the larger project or at the end of the service call that triggered the visit. Our technicians all carry remote support appliances on their vans and are incentivized to sell them on each service call. Any service technician selling either plan receives 4x monthly revenue (as much as $200 per new account). Further, we’ll comp the service call if a client decides to sign up on the spot, in addition to comping the appliance. Each of these concessions, while reducing short-term cash flow, has a low creation multiple (time it takes to break even) of around six months. To help our sales efforts, all our new systems are being engineered using IP power and remote-management-friendly control systems.

Our 2016 managed services revenues are up 300 percent over 2015, with 2017 looking like a four-digit growth year. We won’t get there unless we offer remote support to everyone—and neither will you.

Are you already offering remote support? How’s it going?

Stay frosty and see you in the field.

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