Technibble Computer Business Podcast

Technibble Computer Business Podcast
By Bryce Whitty
About this podcast
The Technibble Computer Business Podcast is dedicated to helping you succeed in the computer business with revealing interviews and actionable advice. This podcast is designed for computer technicians who are looking to start a computer business or grow their existing one. We cover topics like how to start a computer business, how to get clients and how to change your mindset from being a computer technician to becoming a computer business owner. Whether you are just starting out or already have an established business, we have something for everyone.
Latest episodes
April 14, 2016
In this episode of the Technibble Computer Business Podcast (with transcript below), I’m going to talk about getting paid as a computer technician. Something I hear about a lot is technicians saying that “their clients didn’t pay them, they’re having to chase them up, and basically why don’t they pay me?”. The answer to that is your clients don’t pay you because you allow it to happen. Discussion: 00:11 – Why are clients don’t pay you 00:57 – Rules to getting paid 01:40 – Get them to sign a work order if they don’t pay by cash 02:19 – Target wealthy areas of town but still be careful 03:26 – If you must do any terms 03:27 – How to actually tell clients that they need to pay 04:40 – Ditch the bad clients and replace them with the good ones Download PDF Article   Tweetables “Your clients don’t pay you, because you allow it to happen” [Click To Tweet] “How to Make Sure You Get Paid as a Computer Technician” [Click To Tweet] Transcription In this podcast, I’m going to talk about getting paid as a computer technician. Something I hear about a lot is technicians saying that their clients didn’t pay them, they’re having to chase them up, and basically why don’t they pay me? The answer to that is your clients don’t pay you because you allow it to happen. When we first start out, we all want to impress. We want to make a good impression with our clients and we suffer a little bit from nice guy syndrome. The problem with this is that we get taken advantage of. In life, money is always better off in your hands. Cash in hand is always king and many of your clients are playing the exact same game. They’re holding on to their cash as long as possible. What is the solution to this? Here are my rules in getting paid by residential clients in order of preference. If they brought the computer to me, then they simply just don’t get it back until the work is paid in full. However, if you’re at their house, you lose a little bit of that leverage. Always get them to pay cash before you leave the house. Ideally, this is the best option. If they don’t have cash, get them to pay via credit card. In today’s day and age, it’s pretty easy with all the portable readers that are supplied by people like Stripe, Square, Paypal, and a few others. There are fees with them but it’s always worth it. If the fees do bother you, just increase your prices by five percent or so to cover it. It’s the cost of doing business. If they’re paying by anything other than cash, get them to sign a work order to say that they’re happy with the work. If they do something like file a chargeback with the bank, you can show a signed work order to say that they approved the work and they are happy with the work. If you need a work order template, you can find one in our Computer Business Kit. Only accept checks if you’ve done work with them in the past and they’ve previously paid and been pretty decent. With residential clients, no net terms at all. Home businesses are a little different because you do treat them more like a business but there’s absolutely no credit for residentials. It’s just really dangerous. If you followed my computer technician story, you may know that I heavily targeted the wealthy areas of town. In my early days, I was a little more lenient with the wealthy residential clients because they are “good for it” and I say that with air quotes. It is not a good idea to assume that you have no problems getting paid by wealthy customers. In fact, the most money lost to a single client was the wealthiest one of them all. People appearing to be good for it doesn’t actually make them less of a liability and makes them more of a liability. They often leveraged up to their eyeballs and have no liquidity. Be careful there, don’t trust anybody. For business clients, you do have to treat it just a little bit different. Again, cash is always preferred. It’s the absolute safest, best option. Card is next, similar to what I mentioned before with Square, Paypal, Stripe. If they must do check, and some businesses will actually only operate with checks so sometimes you do have to accept them, make sure you have a signed work order. If they don’t pay me, then I can forward them to debt collectors and use the work order as proof. If you must do any terms, the terms are fourteen days. Don’t go for thirty or sixty. The closer to the date that you saved them, the easier it is to get them to pay. When you helped them out long in the distant sixty days ago, then they seem to forget the bond that you actually got them out of. It’s much easy to get paid closer to the date. Again, make sure you have your paperwork in place and again, you can find that in the Computer Business Kit. When the money is due at task completion, you may want to had to actually tell them how to do it in a subtle way. The best way to do it is tack it on the end of what you’re saying. You say, “Yeah. No problem, so I can be out there at five o’clock. Just letting you know that payment is due upon completion and we can accept cash or card.” By actually saying that you can accept cash and card, you can say it as if it’s a convenience and not a burden. One excuse I often hear about not demanding payment at the time is, “I don’t want to lose them as the client.” A lot of people feel they don’t want to upset them. The thing is that they’re not paying you, you don’t want them as a client. Sure, I’ve given freebies in the past but they’re always on my terms. It was my choice, not theirs. Don’t forget that our services have value. Ditch the bad clients, replace them with good ones, and overtime, you’ll basically have nothing but good clients and you’ll love your work. Let your competitors have the bad ones that don’t pay. Be ruthless about getting paid. Try to get cash in hand first, card if they can’t do cash. Again, anything that isn’t cash have a signed work order which you can find in the Computer Business Kit. If you must do in those terms because the business won’t work with you otherwise, keep the date tight like fourteen days or so. Get the money in your pocket as quickly as possible. You aren’t a charity. You are a business. I hope this podcast has helped you in setting some ground rules in regards to payment. That’s it for this podcast. This is Bryce Whitty with the Technibble Computer Business Podcast. Thank you for listening. Source: How to Make Sure You Get Paid as a Computer Technician - Technibble.com
Feb. 11, 2016
In this episode of the Technibble Computer Business Podcast (with transcript below) I talk about ways to advertise a new computer business. I see a lot of new business owners who aren’t quite sure where to start advertising to clients. There are so many things you could be doing but people tend to get a little bit overwhelmed. Here are some of the first step you should do to get your advertising up and running. Discussion 00:26 – Get a website up and running first 01:40 – What you should have on your website 02:42 – Make your website mobile friendly. 03:08 – Look into Google Adwords for instant traffic 03:27 – Offline marketing that focuses on wealthy areas of your town. 04:47 – Make your ad stand out in print advertising 05:45 – Tips to always remember when doing advertising 07:02 – Find events in your own area or to wealthy areas. 07:34 – Join events of hobby specific events that you have knowledge in   Show Notes: Tech Site Builder Review: https://www.technibble.com/tech-site-builder-review/ Tech’s Guide to Pay-Per-Click Advertising with Rachel Logan: https://www.technibble.com/techs-guide-to-pay-per-click-advertising-with-rachel-logan/ Download PDF Article   Tweetables: “How to Advertise a New Computer Business” [Click To Tweet] “Where to start advertising your new Computer Business” [Click To Tweet] Transcription: In this podcast I talk about ways to advertise a new computer business. I see a lot of new business owners who aren’t quite sure where to start advertising to clients. There are so many things you could be doing but people tend to get a little bit overwhelmed. Here are some of the first step you should do to get your advertising up and running. First, get a site up and running but don’t spend a ton of time on it. I have seen people spending months getting a site just right but not actually starting their business. I highly recommend Matthew Rodela’s Tech Site Builder to get up and running really quickly. It does have a monthly cost but it’s not much. I actually have a review about it on Technibble which I’ll link to in the podcast show notes. The reason why I recommend getting a site up fast and quickly is that it adds instant credibility on day one and it looks professional which is actually again also why I recommend Tech Site Builder. Getting clients from the search engines does take time. The effort that you put into SEO won’t pay off straight away. It can actually take quite a few months, but by starting now and doing it first it starts the clock ticking and it can become a very inexpensive way to get clients. You do need to put in the hard yards first. People always look for ways to gain the system but Google is very wise to it and it simply won’t work. A well-designed site that loads fast and is mobile-responsive and has good content will always win. SEO is its own topic and I can spend hours talking about it, but the quick and dirt of what most technician websites should have is: Have your area name in your page titles. For example, ABC Tech so we’re seeing whatever and wherever areas in California. Have a page for each of yours services, and again have your service and location serviced in the titles of the page. For example, “Virus Removal Orange County, California”. Have someone have your keyword in a few headlines in the content using say an H2 or a H3 HTML tag. Use words that your customers will be searching for in your content but don’t overdo it. For example, if you mother wanted to find a computer technician on Google, what would she write into the Google search box. For example, you may not want to use the word adware Spyware and removal as your main search terms. To the uninformed pretty much everything is a virus. If you do virus removal as a service, make sure that your keyword is virus removal and not something like malware removal. Also make sure your site is mobile responsive. If someone is searching on Google from a mobile device, Google will display non-mobile optimized sites lower than mobile optimized ones.   As I mentioned before, SEO does take time. You probably won’t see much search engine traffic for at least three months but I suggest this first to get the process started. Start living in the domain age and use it as a form of early credibility. Once you have your site set up and you have the funds, looking to Google AdWords advertising to get instant traffic. Like the SEO, this is a really large topic in itself, but I interviewed a Pay-Per-Click expert, Rachel Logan in a past podcast which I’ll leave a link to in the show notes. Once your website is sorted, start looking to offline marketing. Think about what kind of customers you want to have. Whoever they are make sure they have money. If you’re doing residential work, I strongly recommend focusing on the wealthy areas of town. It’s a real uphill battle trying to make money from people with no money that is why I recommend the wealthy areas. A side bonus of targeting the wealthy areas is that many of the people in the wealthy areas got wealthy because they were business owners. It’s a good way to get your foot in the door for business clients. So how can you reach these people? Do they read a certain magazine or newspaper? Do they attend certain social gatherings? You need a way to get in front of them. If it’s a magazine or newspaper, make sure that has a decent distribution and they get in front of enough people. For example, I’ve seen a lot of text advertising places like school newsletters which go out to all the parents but what is the school distribution of that? Probably no more than 300. You can actually expect a very small percentage who will actually call you based off a newspaper ad but if it has enough distribution it can be totally worth it. Make sure enough eyes are going to look at whatever ad you create. In print advertising where there are many other ads, make your ads stand out. If someone else has white background with black text, ask the magazine if you can do a black background with white text. Scan the page that has the ads in it. What existing advertisers are standing out for you and why is it standing out? Emulate that. I know a lot of techs fear paying for any sort of advertising. A lot of the time the mindset I see is that they don’t have enough clients to pay for print advertising, so they won’t, but that’s like a negative feedback loop. You pay for advertising to get clients and put some of the money away for the next week’s advertising or maybe more advertising elsewhere. You generally have to put the money in first, get the money and then do more advertising. When doing outbound advertising like newspapers and mail ads, always track where the people are coming from otherwise you don’t know what ads are working and which of those are not. When you know what is and isn’t working, drop the ads that aren’t working and put those funds into more of what is working. You’re constantly looking to refine your advertising so hone in and figure out what your secret formula is. Here is a great tip to always remember when doing any sort of advertising. When people say that advertising failed, they usually blame the medium when in fact it’s almost always the message at fault. If your advertising isn’t working, change the message. An offer that converts is the Holy Grail in this business. More offline marketing is that if you find your target market to attend similar social gatherings, then you need to get out and network. When I was first starting out this was really nerve-wrecking but the easiest thing to do is ask other people what they do with their time. If it is not a business meet-up, it is very important to ask what they do with their time rather than what work do they do. The reason why is not everyone is happy with the work that they do and they don’t want to talk about it. By asking what do they do with their time, they can take it anywhere that they’re interested in. Eventually when the questions bounce back to you, make sure you let them know what you do and hopefully they can join the dots on their own if they need a tech guy. If you feel they might be interested, ask about their setup and suggest things on how you can help. Don’t be pushy though, approach with a helpful consultive angle, not a salesman angle. No one wants to be given the hard sell at social events, and definitely do not do the famous elevator pitch; you need to be more subtle than that. To find events, people tend to go to events in their own areas. So if you are targeting the wealthy people, look for events in the wealthy areas. Pay attention to what is on in the local newspapers, events guides or whatever. Meetup.com can also be a decent place to meet people. Some of them are business-related like marketing or entrepreneur groups which are good for business clients. Some are hobby-specific where you’ll have to work a little bit hard to convert these ones because they’re not out there necessarily looking to network themselves. If you aren’t confident talking to other people, start with the hobby-specific meet-ups where you’re an expert in that topic. It is very easy to talk about something you know about well. That’s it for this podcast. I hope it gives you some early direction in your advertising. This is Bryce Whitty with the Technibble Computer Business Podcast. Source: How to Advertise a New Computer Business - Technibble.com
Jan. 4, 2016
A lot of techs know they need to grow their business, and this could be having more clients this year or making more money. A lot of people really try to press their goals at the start of the year but few actually put anything into place. In this episode of the Technibble Computer Business Podcast (with transcript below), I’m going to show you how to find your way forward. Discussion 00:16 – The next step for your business to grow forward 00:46 – Check your CRM to know where your money came from 01:33 – Find out what is essential for you to grow 03:05 – Take what you think will work best 04:02 – Write down your goals and go backwards and think how to get there 04:50 – Focus on specific products/services that brings you money 05:22 – Upcoming Technibble Mastermind Download PDF Article   Technibble is launching a mastermind for computer technicians to help take their businesses to the next level. Fill out this form to be notified when its available. Tweetables: “Drive Your Computer Business Forward in 2016” [Click To Tweet] “Focus on the essentials to drive your business forward in 2016” [Click To Tweet] Transcription: Bryce Whitty here, and welcome back to the Technibble Computer Business Podcast. A lot of techs know they need to grow their business, and this could be having more clients this year or making more money. A lot of people really try to press their goals at the start of the year but few actually put anything into place. In this podcast, I’m going to show you how to find your way forward. The problem is, a lot of techs don’t actually know what to do. What the next step is forward. The tips I’m about to give is primarily for the people who have already gotten started, but I will have some advice for the people who are yet to start shortly. For those who already started, and already have some data on your business, take a look at your accounting software, or tech CRM. Where is the most of the money coming from? How much time does it take? You may actually be quite surprised to see where the money is coming from. What makes the most money and ideally takes the least time is what you should be focusing on. You can actually see some very quick gains here is you tend to focus on that. This is known as the Pareto principle, or the 80-20 rule. This is where 80% of your effects come from 20% of your causes. In our business, 80% of your income could come from 20% of your effort, or maybe 80% of your clients come from 20% of your advertising. This rule can be applied to most things in life. Once you find out where most of your money is coming from, find out what is essential to get to this goal, and focus on these things. We constantly have distractions thrown at us and new opportunities come our way. Opportunities can actually be sometimes a bad thing because they can take you off your course. Also, a lot of people get stuck “playing business”, which is going through the motions, doing things that you think you should be doing, but not actually making any advancements. Some examples of these could be minor tweaks to your business, sending emails back and forth, starting out craft online. All these need to be done at some point, and they can help a business, but they won’t help with big advancements. Bigger advancements can be made by reaching out to people, talking to business owners, getting out there and networking with your potential customers, finding new places to advertise, and so on. It actually takes a fair bit of discipline not to lose focus on these tasks and going back to “just playing business”. There’s actually a book on this topic that absolutely changed my life, it is called Essentialism: The Discipline Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. If you’re not collecting data, learning what kind of jobs you were doing and how much you are getting paid for them, then you don’t know your numbers and if you don’t know your numbers, you don’t really know your business, and it makes it very hard to make informed decisions on what to do next. Otherwise, you are just shooting in the dark. To track this, you could use a tech CRM, accounting software, or even an excel spreadsheet. To the new businesses or the one who are yet to start and don’t have this data, you really have to take a Ready-Fire-Aim method where you take what you think will work best, then take the shot, and then adjust it accordingly based on the results. Map out what you think will work, but keep in mind that what works for others, may not necessarily work for you. There are different locations, cultures, markets, populations, all of that. Go with what you think will work best. Go with your gut. Think about what steps are required to reach it. What is the absolute minimum you need to do to get to that goal? Do you remember back in the school days when you had a 5000 word essay and then you realized that it’s due tomorrow? The same energy that you have, and you go just the essentials, tap into that. The reason why you have a month to write that essay, you’ll take a month. If it’s due tomorrow, then you’ll focus on just the essentials and get it done quickly. Write down what that goal is, and then go backwards. What do you need to get there? What’s between where you are now, and where you want to be? Add only the essential items. Only the things that will make the biggest difference. Don’t get caught up in playing business. One thing I see a lot is computer technicians are infrastructure builders where we create big systems that can scale quite nicely to do something in your business, but is something of that level needed right now? Probably not, just do the essential. Distractions will constantly come at you in this business, but ask yourself, “Does this help me get closer to what my goal is?” You may feel that many things will help you get towards this goal, but does it really make a difference? Is it really essential right now to help you get there? You’re probably find that most things aren’t. To the guys further down the track, I want you to look at your data in your tech CRM, and see where your money is coming from, and then try focusing on that. Maybe put out advertising specific for that product or service, and then track the differences. For the new guys, I want you to write down what your goal is, and work backwards. Only focus on the absolutely essentials to get there. Again, like the school example when you have essay due the next day. Only what is essential, and be careful not to get distracted. That’s it for this podcast. If you need help remaining focused, staying on course, or even finding out what you should be doing, we’ll be launching a paid mastermind very soon. We can help you find out what to focus on, because it’s sometimes hard to see the shape of the forest when you’re among the trees. When you discover what you want to do, keep you accountable to those goals. If you’re interested, leave your email using the link at the bottom of the show notes for this episode and we’ll let you know when it’s launched. This is Bryce Whitty from the Technibble Computer Business Podcast. Thank you for listening. Technibble is launching a mastermind for computer technicians to help take their businesses to the next level. Fill out this form to be notified when its available. Source: Drive Your Computer Business Forward in 2016 - Technibble.com
Dec. 10, 2015
In this episode of the Technibble Computer Business Podcast (with transcript below), I’m going to talk to you about making offers to gain new clients. Why you should, what’s sort of offers you can do and how to do it right. Big businesses are always making offers. Discussion: 00:20 – How to make offers in your computer repair business 01:49 – Why collecting email addresses is important 02:23 – Make sure to track everything when sending out offers 02:51 – Examples of offers that you can do 04:14 – You don’t have to discount your core products 04:28 – Examples of offers you can do in between special events 05:20 – Offers are best to pull in new and “dormant” customers 06:10 – Podcast Recap 06:58 – Technibble Mastermind Download PDF Article   Technibble is launching a mastermind for computer technicians to help take their businesses to the next level. Fill out this form to be notified when its available. Tweetables: “Gain More Computer Repair Clients with Targeted Marketing Offers” [Click To Tweet] “How To Make Offers to Computer Repair Clients” [Click To Tweet] Transcription: In this podcast, I’m going to talk to you about making offers to gain new clients. Why you should, what’s sort of offers you can do and how to do it right. Big businesses are always making offers. You can walk to any shopping center, and you’ll see a variety of offers plastered all over their front windows. It could be 75% off sale. Buy one get one free. Whatever the case. They’re always making offers. Always trying new things. People like to feel like they’re getting a bargain, but that doesn’t mean you have to work for free, or even lower your core prices. In fact, I don’t recommend that you, as computer technicians, directly discount your main products and services, because you could end up making less money. Instead, make upsell offers by bundling. You can offer something else at a discounted rate when done together. The best kinds of upsells is something that is very automated, doesn’t add much time for you but adds heaps of value for your customers like, say, a half price tune-up that’s fairly automated for you. While you’re getting the full rate of the tune-up, it’s likely that they wouldn’t have gotten tune-up without the bundle offer. You actually end up making more money by having the bundling deal. I was at a conference last year and there was a speaker who was a consultant for other businesses. One of the things he said was, “If you don’t have enough leads, then provide more value and more offers out there in the marketplace.” This is actually known as a “trip wire offer” in the marketing world. It’s an irresistible offer to get people into your funnel. Once you have them in your funnel, and on your mailing list for example, then you can make other offers. This is why I say that collecting email addresses is so important. You can send out offers to your existing customers. So any time you’re a little bit slow, you can just send out another offer, and try and reactivate them. The people you send it to don’t even have to be your paid clients. You can send something out to your Facebook page, or even a local community group, saying that they can signup for some computer tips newsletter for free. Maybe after every 5 normal good, meaty, helpful newsletters, you can send an offer saying, “Free tune-up AFTER the virus removal.” When sending out offers though, one of the most important things is make sure you track it. Track it like crazy. Try different offers and see what brings the most customers. You can use something as simple as a piece of paper next to the fan with some columns, there at the top of the headline, having what each offer is. Then maybe put a mark or a tick text to it in the appropriate column as they come in, or as the phone calls come in. You may be surprised to see what actually works. You also got to remember that what appeals to us doesn’t necessarily appeal to your customers. Try and get inside the customer’s head, and think of this offer that will appeal to them. What offers can you make? Some of the most common basics are New Years where a lot of businesses are pairing backup after the holidays. Many businesses get their year’s budgets at the start of the year. Make an offer that appeals to businesses. It could be offering managed services. You have back to school, which would obviously be a residential offer. Things like a tune-up, installing and setting up Microsoft office, printers, scanners, that sort of thing. Then there is tax time, especially just before the financial year takes over. Especially just before the financial year takes over. A lot of businesses do a lot of their spending just before this time, because you can claim the tax right off very quickly. Other retailers know this with their end of year financial year sales as well. School holidays where kids are back home so this would be a residential offer. It could be maybe getting a system running, installing an internet filter because the parents are scared the kids are going to surf to sites they shouldn’t when they’re home. Also, after the holidays, another back to school sale. Black Friday and Cyber Monday, of course, where everyone expects a bargain. If you were going to discount anything, this would probably be the most appropriate time to do it, because people are looking for percentages off. Again, that doesn’t mean that you have to discount your core product. If you’re virus removal cost is usually $100 and then a tune-up is $50, you could do the half price tune-up and keep the virus removal at full cost. These are just some easy ones but you should always be testing offers in between. Some examples of offers that you can use in between would be a half price tune-up, which I just mentioned, with every virus removal. It is an easy sale, because you know viruses can mess up a ton of stuff. A tune-up can bring a system running back to its best, or even just recommending a good antivirus product after a virus attack. Having a discount on that, after they’ve had a virus removal. You can have 50% off mobile phones and tablet covers, which actually should already be marked up about 200% after you do a mobile phone or tablet repair. You can have a discount offer on data migration services after people purchase a new computer or hard drive from you. With a product like Fabs Autobackup, this takes little of your time. Even offer an external hard drive enclosure if their old computer died, but the hard drive was still good. You can offer some of these in person as well, but you need to be careful not to butcher your normal income. Offers are generally best when pulling outside is in. Offers are also great to reactivate dormant customers who just haven’t got around to it. Speaking of activating customers who haven’t gotten around to it, always have an end date for whatever offer you put out. If they want to take advantage of it, it forces them into action. Plus, you don’t want to be stuck having to honor an offer that you made 2 years ago. It took me a little while to feel comfortable about making offers like that. I felt that I didn’t want to bother my customers, but I heard something that forever changed my perspective on selling. That was, if you owned a bricks and mortar retail store, and you had a customer walking around, would you ignore your customers? Moving forward: Think about what offers you can do to attract your target audience. Remember not to discount your primary stand-alone service, but discount upsells. People still feel like they’re getting a bargain. Make sure those discounts on up-sales are not labor heavy. Automated options tend to work the best. Take advantage of timely offers like back to school, Thanksgiving, and tax time, when people are looking for offers. Test like crazy, and track like crazy. Ask everyone where they heard about you and take note. You may find that a sudden offer for whatever reason converts like crazy. If that’s the case, then make that one a main stay in your advertising and then test some new ones. Eventually, you’ll reach a point where you’re advertising just converts like crazy. If you need a craft in your offer, we’re actually working on a Technibble Mastermind where you can have us looking at your existing offer and make suggestions to potentially make it work even better. If you’re interested in this, we have a link of the post of this podcast, where you can register your email address. We’ll let you know when it’s launched. Thank you for listening. This is Bryce Whitty of the Technibble Computer Business Podcast. Technibble is launching a mastermind for computer technicians to help take their businesses to the next level. Fill out this form to be notified when its available. Source: Gain More Computer Repair Clients with Targeted Marketing Offers - Technibble.com
Dec. 1, 2015
In this episode of the Technibble Computer Business Podcast (with transcript below), I’m going to talk about what you should do when you encounter pirate software on a client’s computer. Discussion: 00:33 – First thing to do when you found out your client is using pirate software 01:59 – Offering legitimate options for your clients 03:02 – Not accepting clients who insist on using pirate software 04:50 – Why you should care with clients using pirate software Download PDF Article Tweetables: “What to Do When You Encounter Pirate Software As a Tech” [Click To Tweet] “Why You Should Fire Clients Who Refuse to Use Legitimate Software” [Click To Tweet] Transcription: In this podcast, I’m going to talk about what you should do when you encounter pirate software on a client’s computer. I mean, it happened to many of us. A client will bring a computer to you, or perhaps you walk into an office and notice there’s some pirate software. It could be a simple activation error with a little pop up or maybe something like an enterprise version of software in a home environment. When you do spot pirate software, the first thing you should do is, don’t go gung ho accusing the clients of being criminals. You’ll find that there’s a very good chance that most clients don’t know that there’s pirate software on their computer. In fact, a lot of my clients used to think that Microsoft Office came with Windows, so don’t argue and treat the client like a kindergartner or anything like that, just calmly explain and resolve the problem. The first step is obviously to verify the legitimacy or illegitimacy of already installed product. If it turns out the product is pirated, then verify whether the client paid for it. If you find that they were charged for it, then you’ll probably need to send the client back to the original service provider to either get it fixed or refunded. In any case, tell them the negative impacts of piracy, so it could be that Windows isn’t getting updated and as hackers try and figure out new ways to break into Windows every day and Microsoft is constantly playing the cat and mouse game of trying to patch this up, a lot of the pirate versions don’t or can’t update. You also can’t get the official support that you may need and things may stop working at a potentially critical time when the software discovers that it is a pirate version and disables itself. For businesses, a lot of software companies often audit large businesses looking for pirate software and if found, they actually have some very steep fines. Start to lay out a game plan to replace your client’s software with legitimate options. If price is a problem, which often is for home users and some business users too, for software like Microsoft Office, you can either suggest open source options like Open Office (now Libre Office) or free options like Kingsoft Office or if neither of those are appropriate alternatives and they actually need the real deal Microsoft Office, then suggest something like Office 365, as it allows them to pay in small increments and they always have the latest version plus official Microsoft support. If it’s a cracked antivirus, then of course there are many free alternatives out there that are pretty good. If you explain the implications and explain that you don’t want to leave it that way because you’re a professional and you have a reputation to uphold, then clients are usually understanding and will go ahead with what you were saying. If they start arguing with you about how it’s fine to use pirate software, then just explain to them that it’s against your terms of service and kindly refuse their business. A lot of techs actually start out hungry for clients and will basically take whatever clients they can get and you know, that’s understandable when you’re new, but these are customers you don’t want. If a client is cheap and they use pirate software and have no moral issues with it, they’re very likely to be cheap with other stuff including your services. These people are likely to insist on taking shortcuts for everything. They’ll insist on never upgrading, never doing the recommended best practices that you want to implement. They often prefer to keep an office full of network cables hanging down across walls and back of desks and plugged into old hubs and slow switches which are daisy chained around the floor under desks instead of actually doing a good Ethernet wiring job and patch panels and wall plates all going through a good central switch. These people are often short-cutters. Things will go wrong and they’ll probably blame you when it does. When starting your business, don’t start out desperate. Start out with high standards and decent prices and while you will grow a little bit slower, you’ll be able to build a sustainable business with quality customers that are more likely to stick with you. Customers who pirate are more likely to go elsewhere when you have a price hike or decide to go completely legitimate if you started out otherwise. Even if you do want to take on these people and do want to make them happy with pirated software, you’re unlikely to be able to keep them. Some techs actually don’t see a problem with pirate software and some are even supplying it, thinking it allows them to get a price edge over other competitors but beyond the moral, civil and criminal problems and of course the client problems I mentioned before, it only takes one customer to be upset with you to report you or one jealous competitor and companies like Microsoft do pursue it. I’ve also heard a lot of techs say, why should we care? It’s not our job to police our customers and enforce any piracy laws. Well it may not be our job to enforce anti-piracy laws, it is our job to make sure our client’s systems are running safely and reliably, which we can’t do with pirate software. It is also our responsibility to maintain our reputation because the reputation in this business is pretty much everything. If you do see pirate software, let the customer know in a non-condescending way because they may not know that there is pirate software. Let them know the negative impacts of piracy, how it puts them, it makes them vulnerable to hackers and other things, the businesses know that they can be potentially fined quite steeply and then build a game plan to get them going with legitimate options. If they don’t care or argue with you, just get rid of them. They’re not going to be worth your time and they’ll probably be a problem in the long run. That’s it for this podcast. If you liked this podcast, please leave us a review on iTunes. If you’re listening to this as a once off download, consider subscribing, every new podcast automatically pushed to your device. I love turning my drive time into learning time with podcasts and as many of us are onsite techs, there’s plenty of drive time we have to do. This is Bryce Whitty with the Technibble Computer Business Podcast. Thank you for listening. Source: What to Do When You Encounter Pirate Software As a Tech - Technibble.com
Nov. 13, 2015
In this episode of the Technibble Computer Business Podcast (with transcript below), I’m going to talk about the importance of collecting your client’s details, why it’s worth doing this, why their email addresses are really valuable to your business, and why you shouldn’t waste too much time building up other ways to contact your clients like Facebook or Twitter followers. Discussion: 00:28 – Contact Details: The most valuable thing in your business 01:16 – Why you want the clients’ email address 02:50 – Right and wrong way in sending out emails to clients 03:52 – Don’t rely on Social Media to get in touch with clients 05:09 – Focus on assets that you can control like your Email list 06:11 – When to ask the client’s email address 07:11 – Every post or page needs a call to action that gets people to join your email list Download PDF Article Tweetables: “Why You Should Be Collecting Client Email Addresses” [Click To Tweet] “Why email addresses of your clients are very valuable to your business” [Click To Tweet] Transcription: In this podcast, I’m going to talk about the importance of collecting your client’s details, why it’s worth doing this, why their email addresses are really valuable to your business, and why you shouldn’t waste too much time building up other ways to contact your clients like Facebook or Twitter followers. A lot of computer businesses, especially new ones, are not putting enough emphasis on collecting client details. I think most of us will always get their name phone number and maybe the address of the client, and potentially storing this on just a post-it note on the computer. I know I did this in my very early years of computer repair. The problem with this is that your client’s details is probably the most valuable thing to your business. If you ever sell your business, while the name does carry some value, what a potential buyer is really interested in is the client list. Some when they’re buying the business to operate under the same name will also be interested in obvious things like profit and loss. If you are just closing your doors, then your competitor will be interested in the client list. What is really important is the email address, which is super valuable to a computer business. The reason why an email address is so valuable is that any time you have a slow period, you can send a message out to your subscriber list with a special offer. It cost almost nothing to do. It was free to get the details, and there’s no postal cost with delivery. You can mention a special you are running, a reminder for people to test their backups. If they don’t have a backup in place or maybe they don’t know how to test their backups, then you can help them do so. Some people are a bit hesitant about contacting their customers because they don’t want to bother them. Imagine you’re a retail shop employee, would you ignore the customer who just walked in the door or would you walk up and ask them if they needed help with anything? Don’t be afraid to make relevant offers. Don’t slam them with messages talking about yourself and why you are the best computer business in the area, but instead send out offers that are relevant to them. For example, ask if the pictures of their baby are safe on their computer, do they have a backup, what would happen if they lost all these. Maybe you have some business clients or some medical clients. Is their medical practice HIPAA compliant? They could get stung with massive fines if they aren’t. You can turn information like this into a monthly newsletter and integrate it with information that your clients may be interested in. It could be the latest virus, the latest Apple product, some helpful shortcuts, keyboard shortcuts and so on. There is a right way and a wrong way to go about sending out messages to your customers in a technology sense. You don’t want to send from your ISP email, as you’re likely to get flagged for spam. ISP’s look for massive amounts of emails coming out of a single IP because this certainly looks like an infected computer that is being used as a spambot. Plus, the deliverability which is the amount of emails that will get through spam blockers on the other end will be a little bit lower coming from an ISP. The best thing to use is a mailing service like Constant Contact or MailChimp, because they can throttle outbound emails and they work really hard at keeping their deliverability levels high. At the time of this recording, MailChimp is for free up to about, I think, it’s 2,000 subscribers. They are cheap, easy, and integrate with a ton of software. When choosing a service, if you use a CRM, then I recommend looking at what mail providers that the CRM integrates with so everything plays quite nicely. Some people are building up other assets to get in contact with their customers like social media, and while it does have its place, it’s generally a bad idea to rely on it. You really want to be focusing on building up that customer email list instead. Facebook is obviously one of the biggest social networks, and everyone says that every business should have a Facebook page and get lots of likes. Likes work a little bit like a subscription where people get the information that you post to your page. In early 2014, I think it was, Facebook changed their algorithm where only 10% of the people that you have that liked your page will actually see what you posted on it. The reason why they did this is everyone’s feeds were getting full of page posts instead of social stuff, like what their friends are doing. I understand why they did this, but it’s not good for business. To use myself as an example, at the time of recording this, Technibble’s Facebook page has 2,700-ish likes. These are technicians who want to know when I post articles and other relevant information that I occasionally send out. The problem is, only 270 people will actually see the message that I posted on their Facebook walls. Always focus on building up an asset you control, like your email list. It doesn’t matter what social media is the in thing tomorrow. Social media platforms all rise and fall in popularity. One day they’re cool, the next day they’re not. Imagine if you had 1,000 of your customers as your MySpace friends. It’s pretty pointless to build up that asset. People will still be using email and third parties can change the rules at any time, just like Facebook did. As I mentioned before, social media does have its place. It is a free channel for marketing, so you probably should have a page, but everything you do should be trying to get people into your sales funnel, pulling people away from Facebook and other networks, and on to your own website, your own mailing list, or getting them to give them to give you a call. This is part of the reason why I mentioned in the creating A Website That Converts podcast that you don’t want to link out to Facebook on your page. While would you want your customers to go elsewhere, where you can only contact 10% of them. When you are getting the client’s email address, one key tip is don’t ask for the email address before you have the job. Ask it after they have already committed, maybe offer to send the receipt via email too, or so that you can let them know the status of their repair via email. Maybe just say, “Would you be interested in receiving discounts and helpful tips from us every now and then via email?” Of course, if your client doesn’t want to give their email address, then obviously respect that. Some people simply just don’t want to be contacted. Moving forward, make sure that you gather details on more than just a post-it note. Get their name, phone number, and address, as you probably have always done, but next time, ask for their email address. Chuck it into a CRM or use a form from the Technibble Computer Business Kit. Don’t use it time to time building up your social media platforms. They can change the rules at any time. Own your client list. If you do your social media, use it to pull them from those social networks on to your page. Every post should have a call to action that either gets people on to your side, joins your mailing list, or to give you a call. Make offers to your clients via that email list, a sale that you’re having, a reminder to check their backups and newsletter or helpful tips. Keep yourself in the front of their minds. Don’t be afraid to sell. Don’t be like that retail shop employee that ignores the customer, but that said, don’t be like that retail employee that comes on heavy handed. Be helpful. Make technology suggestions. Let them know about the latest viruses scan they need to look out for. Your customers will feel that you are looking out for them. That’s it for this podcast. Thank you for listening. Source: Why You Should Be Collecting Client Email Addresses - Technibble.com
Oct. 29, 2015
In this episode of the Technibble Computer Business Podcast (with transcript below), I’m going to talk about what to do when your business is experiencing a slow period. Discussion: 00:17 – Look at your accounting software to determine slow times 00:48 – When does slow times in business occurs? 02:40 – Slow period might be due to internal issues 03:20 – Not advertising when you are busy 04:08 – Consider Managed Services 04:39 – Doing cold calls 05:39 – Summary on what to do during slow times Download PDF Article Tweetables: “Slow day at your computer repair shop? No calls or sales? Here’s how to handle it.” [Click To Tweet] “How to handle slow periods in your computer repair business” [Click To Tweet] “Slow times of year in the Computer Repair Business” [Click To Tweet] Transcription: In this podcast, I’m going to talk about what to do when your business is experiencing a slow period. We often freak out thinking something big has changed. It’s pretty stressful, we may be thinking, is it the end of our business, have we done something wrong, whatever but before you freak out, take a look at your accounting software. Is it like this at this time every year? I mean even here at Technibble we have our slow times and our peak times. It’s pretty much always been this pattern since we started in 2006 so I don’t freak out about the slump and I make sure I’m prepared when I have peak periods. Of course everyone’s situation is different. There are different holidays, different weather, different tax times between countries but even computer businesses in the same area have different type of clients so there’s no hard rules on when you’re likely to see slow points. However, some of the common ones that can cause changes during tax times when you can see rises before and after tax time and lower amounts of work during tax time as people can either be expecting a tax bill or waiting for their tax return. Before tax time, businesses tend to buy out before the tax year ends so they can claim for it quickly. Residentials however often have tax returns to spend. You’re more likely to see residential clients want to spend money with you after they get the returns. Also, depending on who your clients are, in late December and early January, it can sometimes be a bit dead. Lower-income clients generally blast their cash on Christmas and usually don’t have much to spend on the New Year. However, higher-income clients may have new machines and new set ups and want their data transferred so you might see some more business from them. If you are handling decent size business clients, you may see a rise with various corporate departments as their new budgets come into effect in January. Also, something that can affect slow times is really bad weather. When it is miserable, people are just less likely to go out. On the other hand, if it’s violent weather, you may actually see some surged computers and water damage so you actually may see more work. If your area has frequently bad weather like the United Kingdom for example then a nice day may actually slow things down as people get out and about on the one good day there is. Of course, the slow period may have no external cause whatsoever and may actually be entirely internal so you might want to check the ways to contact you. Call your own phone, can you get through? Does your voicemail work? Is your voicemail inbox full? Check your phone for any diversions. Check your existing advertising that’s out and about. Use your phone number out for example. Check your Google Places details, are they up to date? Has your Google Rankings fallen? Are you even still ranked at all? Search for the keywords that you generally show up for. Does the form in your website work? So you might want to send yourself a test message through there. Did you stop advertising when you were busy? This is a huge trap that I say a lot. You need to advertise for this week for the work that you get next week. A lot of people come busy this week and think I don’t need to advertise but they don’t realize they’re hurting themselves for the next week. When you do know what your downtimes are, the solution to that is you can do things like do promotions specific to that time. If school is coming back then you could do a back-to-school sale or if it’s tax time then you can push new computers after people are getting their tax returns. You can push out some advertising during early January and say that you can help people set up those new computers and gizmos that they’ve got for Christmas. To also level things out, you might also want to consider manage services. Since you’re being paid monthly, it levels out the potential of feast and famine. If you need a manage service contract, we have one in the Computer Business Kit. Of course, most of these need to happen before you are seeing the slow time right now. If you are feeling the slow time right now then reselling your services to your existing client base is always the smartest and cheapest option. They already trust you and the cost is very little to market to them. I hope you’ve been collecting the email addresses of every client. It’s just such a valuable resource but if you haven’t yet, you can also cold call. Now, I know most people find cold calling scary and some don’t want to really come off as a used-car salesman but it doesn’t have to be that way. Call your existing clients and tell something like: “Hello, Mr. Jones. This is, your name, from your business.” “I’m just following up to make sure everything went okay in regards to the work we did last month.” “Ah that’s great to hear.” “While you have me on the phone, are there any other issues I can help you with? An application you don’t know how to us, a little nagging error message, advice for your next technology purchase and so on?” Then stop and listen. People tend to switch off when you impose your spill on them. I mean I sure do when I get cold calls. This way, the balance of power is in the other direction where you are there to listen to them and it works great. You don’t feel sleazy and it shows that you care. So, moving forward: Pay attention to your accounting software to predict future ups and downs and do some marketing before it happens and don’t freak out. Make sure the ways for clients to get in contact with you are working. Make sure that you’re clicking email addresses so you can just send a mail out to our special or something next time you are slow. If you are experiencing a slow time right now, follow up with your clients, ask them how your last job went and if there is anything you can do for them. That’s it for this podcast. This is Bryce Whitty from the Technibble Computer Business Podcast. Source: How to Handle Slow Times in Your Business - Technibble.com
Oct. 23, 2015
In this episode of the Technibble Computer Business Podcast (with transcript below), I’m going to talk about buying from proper business to business distributors. Rather than retail locations like Newegg, and Amazon. Discussion: 00:32 – Purchasing from major retailers 01:15 – Warranty problems and other issues 01:53 – Real business to business distributor 02:15 – Benefits of having proper distributors 03:50 – Technibble Computer Business Kit has a list of distributors 04:04 – Does this make you less competitive? Download PDF Article Tweetables: “Why Every Business Owner Needs A Proper Business-to-Business Parts Distributor” [Click To Tweet] Transcription: In this podcast I’m going to talk about buying from proper business to business distributors. Rather than retail locations like Newegg, and Amazon. This podcast is a bit more for the techs who are starting to get busy rather than the new startups. However the new businesses can still get a lot out of this, to know what to look for in the future. When you do start your business you probably see an opportunity to buy hardware cheap at places like Amazon, and Newegg. Mark it up a bit, and you can still be cheaper than a lot of the big box retail stores like Best Buy in the U.S. or Curry’s in the U.K. I personally did it this way for my first few years, and it was fine while I didn’t have too many clients. Then it changes. Problem with purchasing from Amazon, and Newegg is it doesn’t allow you to advance. Whether you purchased one part from them or thousand parts. You are still treated like a consumer buying their first part. If you are starting to move a fair bit of hardware. You are definitely going to want to get a real business to business distributor. One of the issues I see a lot when you buy from consumers sources is warranty problems. I mean what happens if you buy a part in say January, have it sit on your shelf until you sell it in March, and then the part fails in February the following year? You will be caught out, because it’s after the warranty when you bought it, and still in the warranty period between you, and your customer. Another issue we’d buy from consumer locations is, when you buy licenses it’s not always easy to track them. Also what happens if you get a bad license? It does happen occasionally. You have to go through the normal slow consumer channels. So, the solution to a lot of this is getting a real business to business distributor. Sometimes you are going to pay a little bit more, sometimes less, but whatever the case if you pay your dues now, and start purchasing through the proper channels, you will come out ahead. Eventually you will cross a threshold where you actually start getting 20% off, and then 30% off, and then even more. Proper distributors isn’t just about the price of the parts either. They can give you access to training. They can send you swag like posters, and caps, and USB drives that sort of thing. Some will also give you sneak peeks at upcoming products, and will also give you demo units to play with. Some will give you portals to manage your licenses, so you know what you bought, when you bought it, and who it was from. Direct support is also a huge one. Again to use the license example, they will help you out when you get a bad license. They will often help you out when you are in a tight spot, and send you couriers when you need a part say in just a few hours rather than waiting the 1 or 2 or 3 days it could take to get it from Amazon or Newegg. Some will also offer you credit if you can’t afford parts to complete a large job right now. These representatives are here to solve your problems often before you even buy a product. Of course they are up front, and back end rebates. Again that save you a fair bit of money. That’s a quite a few offers that go on like that. Some will also make it so the warranty starts when you sell the product. Not when you bought it from them. Avoiding the warranty problem that I mentioned before. Also if you stay in touch, and are friendly with the representative at the distributor. They can potentially send you work. Eventually as you raise your reputation with them some distributors will allow you to even choose what warehouse the part comes from. Reducing proceed cost, and time. Some will even offer free shipping on large enough orders. Of course some products are only available at through proper distributors, and not at consumer levels. If you do need to find a business to business distributor there are quite a few listed in the Computer Business Kit for the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia. In there we have the addresses, foreign numbers, and website URLs. There are quite a few of them. You may say this makes you a little bit less competitive. That you are paying the higher prices to build reputation with a distributor, and of course your prices are going to go up to your clients. In turn making you less desirable. You will find that this is not the case. It doesn’t really matter what you charge, if you are installing the part for the customer. To use an example, let’s say you have a plumbing issue. The plumber comes in replaces some copper pipes, and hands you an itemized bill showing that he charged $50.00 for the 2ft of copper pipe. Then you go down to the hardware store, and find that you can get 2ft copper pipe for $5.00. Are you going to call the plumber, and yell at him, because he is charging you $50.00 for the supplies? No, you are just happy that the water isn’t leaking into your wall anymore. You can charge much more than you think for parts if you are installing them. Sure, some little odds, and ends are fine going through Amazon, and Newegg, but for higher price parts that you are selling a lot of, go through a distributor. Pay a little, extra build the reputation, and take your business to the next level. This is Bryce Whitty with the Technibble Computer Business Podcast. Source: Why Use a Business-to-Business Parts Distributor? - Technibble.com
Oct. 14, 2015
In this episode of the Technibble Computer Business Podcast (with transcript below), I’m going to cover how to charge for small blocks of time, and why you should be charging for small blocks of time. A client calls for a quick five-minute question which you answer and then send them on their way. The problem is it happens again and again and again. Discussion: 00:19 – Why clients that keeps on contacting you with these quick questions can cost you money 01:40 – If you can’t answer the question with a YES or NO, turn it into a ticket 02:12 – How to de-condition your clients 02:58 – how to properly charge small blocks of time 03:37 – If you are not confident selling blocks of hours 04:25 – Tracking and using a ticketing system 05:16 – Summary of Steps Download PDF Article Tweetables: “Clients keep contacting you with minor questions? Here’s how to charge them” [Click To Tweet] “Answering those quick client questions is costing you money” [Click To Tweet] Transcription: In this podcast I’m going to cover how to charge for small blocks of time, and why you should be charging for small blocks of time. A client calls for a quick five-minute question which you answer and then send them on their way. The problem is it happens again and again and again. The problem with this is you actually condition your customers to actually expect free work from you. You allow it to happen. You may think it’s good customer service or that it’s good to keep the customer happy, but they will just keep coming back for more. Computers are fairly confusing for a lot of people, and if they can find someone who will answer their questions for free, of course they’re going to call them. Think about it like this. Let’s say you’ve got six little 15-minute calls that came in today and you feel that they’re a little bit too short to bill for. The total amount of time taken on these little jobs will be 85 minutes, just under an hour and a half. If your normal hourly rate is $70 per hour, then you just lost $105. It’s not just today. If your clients expect free 15-minute calls, it may be happening every day. In one week on a Monday to Friday you could have lost $525 of billable time. If you keep this going, it could be $2,100 a month or $25,200 a year. That little just-this-quick-email could be costing you some serious money. Matt Rainey from Podnutz Pro said it best on CallThatGirl’s Office 365 Podcast. He said, “If I can’t answer it with a yes or no, it’s a ticket.” Those tickets happen to carry a half hour minimum. Make this a strict rule. If you can’t answer it with a yes or no, then turn it into paid work. A great benefit of this is you can use this kind of work to fill in the time between normal jobs. Turn something where you might have been twiddling your thumbs and hitting up Facebook into something that’s great for your business and clients. The way to convert this into paying jobs is selling blocks like four to eight hours, or five to ten hours, or whatever. Don’t surprise them by suddenly sending a bill. Decondition them by listening to whatever their problem is and say something along the lines of “This issue could be a number of things. I’ll need to take a look at it. I suspect it won’t take so long. What we can do is sign you up to our pre-paid plan, which allows us to bill in 15-minute increments instead of me charging you the full hour.” From here they can either sign up, or suddenly the issue isn’t that important and they go away. You can tell them that you’ll log a ticket whenever you reply to the email, or make it so that your support email address goes to your ticketing system and automatically creates a ticket. For pricing something like this, you don’t want to take your hourly charge and divide it by four, as there’s still some unbillables like admin work. The amount of admin time generally remains the same whether you worked for 15 minutes or an hour. You’ll want your 15-minute charge to be a bit more than your hourly charge divided by four. If you’re in the managed service provider space, push them towards your MSP plan. You can say something like “By going on a proactive plan where you can maintain your computer and prevent problems before they happen, you can also make those quick, guilt-free phone calls and emails. We can be there to quickly answer those little emails and quick remote support sessions.” If you don’t feel confident about selling blocks of hours, or don’t think that your clients will go with it, you can tell them that you time is always charged and that you’ll take notes. Once it gets to three or four of those 15-minute fixes, then you invoice them together as one item, so either after one hour occurs or at the end of the month, whichever comes first. The reason why you want to have an end of a month option as well as just a once an hour ads up is because when a balance runs longer, they’ll actually forget about it and the benefit they got from it. Or they didn’t think that you put that much time into it, which can result in even more un-billable time explaining it to them or chasing up the payment. So either one hour total or whatever they’ve created in that month, whichever comes first. If you have some really good clients who do send you a ton of work or large jobs, and you do want to let a few quick emails slide without charging, always keep track of them in some ticketing system, even if you mark the balance as zero. The benefit of this is after a few months you’ll see how much time you’ve actually spent on offering the free help and you can determine whether it’s something you should be charging for, or it’s low enough that it’s not a big deal. If you are looking for a ticketing system, you can use an entire business organization system like RepairShopr, which is fairly inexpensive and has some free options, or ZenDesk, which is a ticketing-only system and is at about $1 per month on their lowest plan. You can also use an email account for a while and use labels to set them as pending or solved, but this is not really a good solution. The action steps going forward: Get some sort of ticketing system. Set up pre-paid hour blocks that allows billing in 15-minute increments. Set up a webpage. Set up a page on your website selling the benefits of your pre-paid hours, so things like it’s a faster response, it works out cheaper so that you don’t have to charge them the full hour, etc. When each new email comes in, run by the rule. Unless it’s a yes or no answer, then it’s a ticket. A good quote to always remember is by The Joker from the movie The Dark Knight: If you’re good at something, never do it for free. Thank you for listening. This is Bryce Whitty from the Technibble Computer Business Podcast. Source: Charging for Those “Quick Questions” from Clients - Technibble.com
Oct. 7, 2015
In this episode of the Technibble Computer Business Podcast (with transcript below), I am going to talk about how to handle customers who come back with the same problem shortly after you fixed their computers. Discussion: 00:20 – A client returns with the same issues you already solved 00:55 – Always offer to look at their computers and not argue 01:48 – Two possible options you can do 01:58 – Solve the issue with no charge and advise them 02:33 – Tell the customer outright about their browsing habits 03:10 – Ask them to leave reviews when they leave happily 03:50 – Decide if customers are worth keeping 04:00 – Podcast Summary Download PDF Article Tweetables: “How to handle customers returning with the same computer problem” [Click To Tweet] “Clients reinfected their computer? Here is how to handle it” [Click To Tweet] Transcription: In this podcast I am going to talk about how to handle customers who come back with the same problem shortly after you fixed their computers. We have all heard it before, you fix a clients computer, you get paid, the client goes on their way happily and week later they say that the problem has returned. Maybe you removed a virus then a week later they are reinfected. From their perspective they may believe that you didn’t fix it right the first time, from your perspective they were probably visiting shady sites again. Its very easy to get defensive when a client comes back with the same problem a short while later. Some will simply say “Oh, that issue is back” while others will outright accuse you of not doing your job properly and it can sometimes feel like a personal attack. The problem is that you may think that the reinfection is their fault, and maybe it is. The thing is that until you look at the computer you don’t know who is at fault. The time to fight, argue or debate isn’t when you lack evidence. Be as nice as you can and do whatever it takes to get that machine back on the bench. Once you get the machine on the bench, then you take an honest look at it, determine what is wrong and collect your evidence. Always offer to look at the computer, you can say something along the lines of “I am sorry to hear this is happening. I would be more than happy to take a look at it and see what the problem could be” From there, you can investigate the computer. If you find it was you who missed something or determine it’s a simple fix that is not worth arguing over, simply patch it up and apologize for the inconvenience. From there, you have a customer that goes away happy, knows you are trustworthy and stand by your work. If you find the customer caused the issue like a reinfection from browsing porn sites and it will take a fair bit of time to remedy, you generally have two options: Clean the computer a goodwill gesture, with applications like RepairTech it should be fairly automated. But tactfully advise the customer it’s his browsing habits that have caused the problem and that future jobs will be charged at full rate. Get a screenshot of installed programs, copy virus scan logs and attach them to the customer’s report. Never embarrass them, but very subtly let them know at some shady sites can get them reinfected. At this point it is worth a few moments teaching them how to avoid these sorts of things, most customers will appreciate this and will feel that you are looking out for them. The other option is to tell the customer outright. Again, get screenshots of the installed program list, virus scan logs and let them know that the problem was again down to their browsing habits. Spend a few moments proving beyond a doubt it was them. You can do a lot of this by looking at Windows Reliability Monitor and tell them that bad program X was installed at 1am on Saturday night. They’ll know what they were doing at 1am last Saturday night. And if it wasn’t them using the computer at 1am on Saturday night, they’ll probably know who to question. From there, you can determine how to fix it and cut them a deal to fix it again. In the end you want to have a happy customer leave the door. You can actually turn this into an great opportunity; when they leave happy, ask them to leave you a review on Google, Yelp or whatever system is popular in your area. The value of that can be far greater than what it cost you in time. The thing is, its cheaper to give them a free repair or a heavily discounted repair than to upset them and lose a customer for life, whether they were in the wrong or not. Understand your customer acquisition costs and understand how much a customer is worth to you. If they cost $200 to obtain, it doesn’t make sense to upset them because you didnt want to take 10 minutes of your time fixing them up again. Of course, if the client is a serial offender and they are taking up way too much time of yours, then you need to do the math and decide whether they are worth keeping or not. So remember: Always offer to take a look at the system, whether you think its their fault or not. If its a quick fix, just do it and send them on their way happily, remembering to ask them to leave you a review If its not a quick fix, gather evidence so you can show them beyond a doubt that it was because of them, and make a deal with them to repair it again. They will usually not complain when they know beyond a reasonable doubt that it was them who caused the problem. That’s it for this podcast. To follow my own advice, if you liked this podcast it would really help us if you could leave us a positive review on iTunes. A 5 star review would be amazing. This is Bryce Whitty from Technibble.com Source: How To Handle Customers Returning with the Same Problem - Technibble.com