Are Your Service Revenues Under Pressure?

November 11, 2012

As IT spending tightens one of the first budget line items many look at is the annual fees they pay for maintenance and support contracts. Indeed, numerous IT consultants offer to help enterprise buyers negotiate these fees down. One analyst told us he advises his clients to only pay 12% per year. That’s a far cry from the 18%-22% that most vendors are used to.
To address this challenge, we invite you to attend a unique training program, which is designed specifically for personnel with responsibility for selling maintenance & support – either as part of the upfront sale or at the point of renewal. Read the rest of this entry »

Tech Support Superstars Training Class

October 2, 2012

I recently created a new training workshop specifically designed for tech support reps. This hands-on 1 day workshop has been well received in it’s initial class. Have a look at the agenda and let me know if we are covering the right topics. Thanks, Bill

TECH SUPPORT SUPERSTARS TRAINING

8:00 – 8:15 Introductions
8:15 – 9:00 Effective Call Handling Processes
9:00 – 9:45 Why is Self Service so Important?
9:45 – 10:00 BREAK
10:00 – 10:45 How the Levels of Learning affect service
10:45 – 11:45 The Impact of Informal Leaders
11:45 – 12:00 Open Discussion/Industry Trends
12:00 – 1:00 LUNCH
1:00 – 2:00 Dealing with Difficult Customers
2:00 – 2:30 Tech Support’s killer issue:Transparency
2:30 – 2:45 BREAK
2:45 – 3:45 Problem Solving & Troubleshooting
3:45 – 4:00 What is Top Talent for Tech Support
4:00 – 4:45 Understanding different Communication Styles
4:45 – 5:00 Wrap Up – Your Future Career in Tech Support

Contact Bill Rose directly at BillRose@BillRoseINC.com

August 18, 2012

Originally posted on Supportsense's Blog:

With Europe in turmoil and economic growth moderating in North America, IT departments are likely to face continued pressure on operating budgets.

Unfortunately, one of the first budget line items many look at is the annual fees they pay for maintenance and support contracts. Indeed, numerous IT consultants offer to help enterprise buyers negotiate these fees down.  One analyst told us he advises his clients to only pay 12% per year. That’s a far cry from the 18%-22% that most vendors are used to.

View original 576 more words

Defending Maintence and Support Pricing Workshop

May 28, 2012

With Europe in turmoil and economic growth moderating in North America, IT departments are likely to face continued pressure on operating budgets.

Unfortunately, one of the first budget line items many look at is the annual fees they pay for maintenance and support contracts. Indeed, numerous IT consultants offer to help enterprise buyers negotiate these fees down.  One analyst told us he advises his clients to only pay 12% per year. That’s a far cry from the 18%-22% that most vendors are used to. Read the rest of this entry »

Could Your Customers Survive Without a Maintenance Agreement?

June 21, 2011

In a recent workshop focused on Defending Maintenance & Support Pricing we had a great discussion about the value of the maintenance agreement for technology services. The consensus was that customers are putting pressure on technology suppliers to lower their service prices and are threatening to drop their maintenance agreements all together. If this happened it would have a major impact to the finances of all tech companies. But, will it ever happen? Will customers decide to “self insure” and not pay the service fees just to reduce their total operating expenses? I don’t think so! If they do it could have catastrophic results! Read the rest of this entry »

Your Service Revenues are at Risk!

June 5, 2011

If you are in the enterprise software business you know all about the maintenance contract for services and just how profitable it is to your company. In fact, profit margins from maintenance typically range from 75% to 95% and have been extremely stable over the past 20 years. During this time, customers just paid the annual renewal fees and life was good. Today, things are changing! Your customers are pressing hard to understand exactly what they are paying for in a maintenance agreement and want the price to be lowered.

A typical maintenance agreement has 3 components; upgrades, bug fixes, and tech support. These are all rolled together so that the customer never really knows the exact portion of money allocated to any one component. Hey, most times even we don’t know! Over the years we just created maintenance invoices and customers blindly sent us money that fell straight to the bottom line. Not a bad gig if you can get it. In the past few years we have seen more customers applying all types of pressure to reduce their overall IT costs. They have reduced headcount and curtailed new systems spending but the large amount of money that the CIO is paying for maintenance fees is really sticking out. It is one of the few places left where your customers are questioning the value they receive for the price paid. If you are not being asked to discount your annual maintenance fees, then you soon will be.

When this pressure from customers comes you have 2 choices. First you can roll over and give them a discount (which will probably last forever) or you can stand strong and defend the prices that you are charging. You are either a “fee defender” or a “fee discounter”. So, which one are you? What position has your company taken on the value of the services you offer customers and the fees associated with them? You need to make a decision pretty quickly because it will have a major impact on your overall company financials and your overall customer satisfaction (CSAT). Surprisingly, Fee Defenders have higher CSAT than those companies that simply give a discount when asked.

To really understand all of the complexities of this entire maintenance pressure issue I am taking my show on the road for 1-day workshops. Together with the Kotler Marketing Group, we have developed a series of tools to help you defend your maintenance pricing. Over the next couple of months we will be in Dallas, Chicago, Toronto, and Boston working with dozens of companies that are all trying to figure out the best approach to defend their maintenance dollars. These sessions are highly interactive, reasonably priced, and full of practical concepts that really work. If you are responsible for maintenance revenues then you really need to attend one of these workshops.

If you don’t have responsibility for maintenance revenues, service marketing, or service sales please pass this link on to the person in your company who does. If you want to discuss anything about the maintenance pressure issue, just email me at BillRose@BillRoseINC.com

Want more info about the workshops?

Hey, I’m a Matchmaker for top-level service executives

June 3, 2011

Over the years I have been asked to play matchmaker more times than I can remember. Service executives would approach me looking for new career opportunities and ask me to introduce them to member companies that might hire them. On the other hand, corporations would reach out to ask if I could recommend the best service execs for positions that they had open at the time. As the Executive Director of a large technology services trade association, this put me in a very awkward position. I could not take any part in robbing people out of one member company and placing them in another member company. One thing was for sure, one of the companies was going to be mad at me and probably not renew their membership.

Well, things have changed! I am no longer in the trade association business and instead, I am creating a network of industry consultants to assist the very same members that we talked about above. These companies are always looking for top executive service management and I have a great relationship with most of the best and brightest service execs in our industry. So, it just makes sense for me to expand out into the Exclusive Executive Search area.

When I say “Exclusive”, I mean extremely confidential, targeted, and high level. I have built my reputation on being able to keep information to myself and never, ever, ever share it with anyone else. Key data, such as, awards applications, certification results, and benchmarking results all were held in the closest confidence. And, I did it for over 20 years!

Today, I am expanding my business to include executive recruiting. But, I am only going to work within the technology services industry. This means that I will work with companies that are searching for exceptional service execs to fill exciting positions, and, couple them with the best service executives in the industry today.

If you are a company looking to fill a key service position with a job title of Director or above, please contact me to set up a call to discuss the requirements for the perfect person. I probably already know the exec you are looking for.

If you are a service exec and want to make a career change, contact me so we can discuss the opportunities available to you. I will provide you with a candid career assessment and guidance about our industry and where you should be heading for your next executive services move.

Remember, I am not a professional recruiter. I’m an industry guy who happens to know a lot of people. lol

Contact me confidentially at BillRose@BillRoseINC.com

Getting the most out of industry conferences

May 31, 2011

I recently attended the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) conference and had a great experience.  This was the first time that I was an actual “attendee” since founding the Service & Support Professionals Association (SSPA) over 22 years ago.  The SSPA has evolved into the TSIA and the conferences are still filled with tons of great content.  Although I am no longer an employee of the TSIA, I am still their biggest supporter and a strong advocate of industry associations in general.
Read the rest of this entry »

Setting Tech Support Priorities

February 12, 2010

Often I get TSIA member inquiries about setting priorities for tech support issues.  These questions are from members who want to validate the priority schemes that they are using and ensure that they are aligned with the industry.  Below you will find an audio PowerPoint presentation that addresses this topic.  Just watch in presentation mode, turn your speakers up, and listen to my discussion of this interesting part of service operations.

Setting Tech Support Priorities

Resolution Management – Tech Support’s Silver Bullet?

January 18, 2010

The more I study the tech support business, the more I realize that there is no Silver Bullet for tech support.  There is not “just one thing” that you can do that makes all things right, makes customers loyal, and makes your people happy.  The closest thing that I can find is an intense focus on Resolution Management and all of the elements contained within.  It just makes sense that if we can fix issues faster both customers and your people will be happier.  A strong commitment to resolving issues, as a top priority will ensure that everyone involved in the process is aligned.  But, this is not a simple task!  In fact, resolution management can be an all-consuming nightmare if it is not approached in the correct way.  Just have a look at my blog post, “Fifteen Factors that Affect First Call Resolution (FCR) in Tech Support” http://supportsense.wordpress.com/ Read the rest of this entry »


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