Last week, I was pitching the new Krika Concierge business model to a Home Technology Professional. I was attempting to explain that starting at $25 per month per job for outsourcing 100% of its 24/7 support, it is a price so attractive that he could easily embed it in any kind of service and maintenance plan.
This is how it went:
Home Technologist: We won’t be able to include the price of your support because we offer total guarantee of service and support for the first year, so your service will be a 100% out-of-pocket cost for me.
Me: Ok, but what do you guarantee: your “work” or “the entire job” with all gears you install?
Home Technologist: You know, manufacturers give one year of guarantee of their products, so, we, as professionals, feel we should also provide something, so we offer a one year of guarantee on our work, I mean, on the job.
Me: I don’t get it. Please give me an example. What happens if the brand-new 4K TV does not work anymore after two months? Do you go onsite and work for free?
Home Technologist: Sure! We go for free; it’s part of “our one-year guarantee”. We take it back to the repair center and then, reinstall it after it has been fixed. This is what we call service and we’re proud of it! Clients like it!
Me: You bet they like it! But I still don’t get it... Please give me the definition of what you call “guarantee of our work,” because if the TV is not working, obviously it is not “your work” the problem, but the “product” by a manufacturer and you are NOT responsible for that.
Home Technologist: You know, it’s a “standard in the industry.” We all do it. We offer one-year guarantee on our work and everyone is happy.
Me: OK, now, let’s say your client is going to a local store to buy a TV and install it himself. If this TV does not work after one month, what do you think he will do?
Home Technologist: He will put the TV in his car and take it back to the shop.
Me: Is the store responsible for his problem? Did the store design and build this TV?
Home Technologist: No!
Me: The shop is just the intermediary, the in-between the manufacturer and the end user. Same as you.
Home Technologist: Yes, you’re right, but we’re talking about a $600 TV, and we’re doing $50K jobs!
Me: And? What’s the difference?
Home Technologist: You don’t see the difference? If a client buys a $50K car and it does not work, the company will offer all the services free!
Me: Ok, but in this case, we are talking about a direct relationship between the client AND the manufacturer with no one in between! If the car manufacturer must hire a tow truck to get the car from your client’s home to the garage, I can guarantee you that the tow truck driver will be paid! Do you send an invoice to the TV manufacturer when you go to your client’s house?
Home Technologist: No, we don’t.
Me: Do you charge Comcast or Verizon each time you have to go free-of-charge to your client’s house to reboot their cheap, crappy gears?
Home Technologist: Hell no! But we can’t charge for this, it’s just a reboot! And if they call Comcast, the technician will come for free!
Me: Yes, but once again, it’s a cost to the manufacturer, it’s his business, and every month the subscription money is going into Comcast’s pocket, not yours!
Home Technologist: We’re all doing it like that! And our client need this service!
Me: All big industrial catastrophes in the world have this in common: “We all do it like this” for years...
What you call “your work” is, for example, if you mess up the program of the remote control or a setting in a device. If the TV falls from the wall because you didn’t use enough screws, this is “your work”. If you didn’t install enough WIFI access points to cover all the house or didn’t choose the right product, this is “your work.” Fixing your screw-ups. And for all that is “your work,” yes you should offer a one-year guarantee, no discussion about that. Now, if a product is dead after one month, this does not fall under “your work.”
As soon as the client pays for this TV, it’s his personal TV, and you instantly transfer the guarantee of the manufacturer to him. From that moment on, your client is 100% responsible for his own TV he just purchased. If it stops working, the manufacturer will repair it for free, but the client should take it to the repair center himself. Now, if he wants anyone to do that for him, he must pay for it. If you go to any shop, cash, and carry a TV, during the one-year guarantee, you’ll have to take it to the repair center yourself.
Remember, you are just an intermediary, the guy in-between the manufacturer and the end user. Your job is to make this relationship works smoothly, but this wonderful and priceless job can't be free what ever the huge amount of money your client already paid for the job.
Make it clear in your terms and conditions and make it clear the first few minutes of speaking with your clients. You are not the manufacturer, you are an in-between. You’ll do your best to help your clients with all technology, but not for free. This is why it is absolutely necessary to have clear terms, conditions, service, and maintenance plans. This is part of the experience your client wants, and why those things MUST be discussed even before you start to talk about the technology you’re going to sell.
Remember, people don’t buy technology, people buy an experience. Technology has a price, experience is priceless!