Tech Support Contracts Insure Productivity

Help PhoneTechnical Support Contracts are the ultimate safety net to keep you productive when bad things happen to good computer software and hardware.

Software support contracts enable you to call an expert in near real time and get immediate assistance with any usability issues or errors allowing you to get back to work as quickly as possible.

Hardware support contracts, depending on the response level purchased, can provide replacement parts same day or next day, with or without a trained vendor technician to install them for you.

If your TV Set or iPod fails, it will probably not impact your ability to make a living, so a discussion of the value of support and service contracts on consumer electronics gear are a topic for another day.

Last night, after the monthly Microsoft Patch Tuesday updates applied, my computer requested to restart.  I dutifully complied and walked away for a few minutes.  When I came back, I heard a “jet engine” sound – which was the computer fans running at full speed with nothing but a green power light, no hard drive light activity and nothing on my computer screen.  As a Computer Professional, I followed the appropriate diagnostic protocol and sadly determined that the motherboard had failed in my one month old computer.

As my desktop computer is critical to my daily productivity, I had a same day, four hour response hardware technical support contract on it.  I called the manufacturer late in the evening, went through some additional troubleshooting steps and the support person concurred that the Motherboard needed to be replaced.  A Tech Support Case was created for morning dispatch and by 11am a Courier had arrived with my new Motherboard.  To expedited matters, I installed the Motherboard myself but I could have easily arranged for the manufacturer’s technician to stop by and install it for me.  In fact, the assigned technician to the on-site tech support case called me around 9am to advise me that the part was in-transit and that he was available in-person or by phone at my discretion.

Within an hour of the part arrival, my PC was fully operational and I was back to work and getting on with my day.  Without a Tech Support Contract, had I relied on the standard warranty, it would have taken one full business day for dispatch of the part and the technician.

Had this been a Consumer class PC instead of a Business class PC, the only option might have been to send it back for service to the manufacture or wait up to a week for on-site service – if even available.  This difference in the standard business class system warranty options, in and of itself is a good reason to purchase “Business Class” systems vs. the consumer oriented models available at warehouse clubs and consumer electronics stores.

Had I been unable to work for more than a few hours, the lost revenue and productivity would have far exceeded the nominal cost of the same day, four hour response Tech Support Contract.  In most cases, these premium option Tech Support Contracts cost approximately 20% of the list price for same day service and a little as 10% for guaranteed next business day service.  When you look at the cost of not being able to do your work compared to a few extra dollars for the premium warranty options, the value becomes clear.

Even though my data was fully backed up, I still would have needed a system to run all of my software applications:  Quickbooks, Microsoft Office, ACT!, Google Apps, etc.  Compared to having a similarly configured  spare system, or my willingness to purchase one at full retail – assuming one was available with comparable specifications, the least expensive, most expedient option was and is to have a current, in-force Tech Support Contract for my personal computer with the same day service option.

I would like to point out that my data was never at risk.  I have rock solid backups of my data both on-site and off-site – I just could not get to my applications and data – until my desktop PC was fixed – to do my work.  Had this been a catastrophic failure of the hard drive or a complete loss of the system (Fire Damage or Theft), of course, I could have done a full restore to a new hard drive or completely new system.  And that would be expected for those situations.

 

Comments

  1. Joe Manzelli says:

    Nice post! It should be noted that if all of your software were hosted then all it would take is access to another device to connect to the Internet. However your point is right on that the cost of the tech support contract is nothing compared to the time and aggravation without it.

    Knowing you, I was surprised you didn’t have a spare motherboard around LOL

    • You are correct that Terminal Services or Software as a Service in the Cloud might be an option for mainstream users in a homogeneous corporate environment using standard Line of Business applications. For most Small Businesses and SOHO/Home Users, applications are installed locally on the machine and when the machine crashes, so does productivity.

      Not every application is available in a Hosted environment. Even when they are, depending on if your organization is hosting the applications internally on its’ own Servers vs. using externally hosted Software as a Service applications, there are significant up-front costs or never ending ongoing subscription costs.

      The value proposition for hosted email with virtually guaranteed “up” time for any size organization from one user to thousands is proven just in the ability to maintain productivity.

      For other applications, studies show a critical mass of users of between 50 and 100 seats is the minimum number before the capital expenditure or ongoing subscription cost starts to make good business sense for converting traditional desk based PC’s to Terminal Services or the majority of the organization to Software as a Service in the Cloud.

      Thanks for your comments,
      Jason Palmer

      P.S. I had a whole spare “loaner” machine with similar specs that I could have used instead of waiting for the repair.

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