In any business, you must contend with the fact that there are going to be faster seasons as well as slower seasons. There are very few business models that don’t have to account for the potential that on some days, there will be practically no sales, while on other days, there will be a massive influx of business from all sides. In many businesses, this is called “feast or famine,” but in tech support, it can be downright confusing.
The law of large numbers may be part of the explanation, or it may not come anywhere close. While there may or may not be a mathematical or theoretical explanation for it, there will be times when what you get are only quick fix calls that involve tiny payments, and there will be calls that take 3 hours and involve guiding a device owner through everything short of soldering in a new part.
The Membership Model
Many successful companies that operate in any given field have decided that they want their business to be more predictable. They offer what’s called a membership, though it may have little to do with any actual community. In some cases, this is simply charging a set, lower rate each billing cycle than one would pay if one simply paid a la carte. This can help to level off the amount of money that the company takes in.
As well, the membership model doesn’t necessarily preclude a client from having a special, upcharged amount billed because of having a particularly challenging problem. In many cases, it comes down to ensuring that most of your clients get an above-average level of service and feel that they are getting it at a reasonable price. This can help to offset the pricing difficulties that can often surface when one works in tech support.
Offering more than one tier of membership can also be great for defeating the feast and famine cycle. The more complex or more frequent a client’s problems may be, the higher the pricing. For many users, the small and steady payments will be a small investment into the peace of mind. For larger company accounts, this is an investment into keeping their equipment functioning longer and helping their employees stay productive.
The Economics of Small Failure
No matter how effectively you price your plans, you’re going to have to deal with chargebacks at some point. These happen for a lot of reasons, including people who think this is the way to cancel their account, and people who want to get one over on you. In any case, you need to make sure you have a high-risk payment gateway for tech support in place first, instead of waiting to react when someone is already coming at you. The fact of the matter is, a lot of people don’t understand the complexity of the technology they own. Also, they don’t adequately respect the skills of the people who help them to keep their tech in order.