Ryan Kane, who helps home technology integrators get more leads through digital marketing at the Uptumble on-line service, argues its time to be more pro-active with service plans.

Technology integrators have heard it countless times now: the future is in service and recurring revenue. So why, when browsing integrators’ websites, is it so hard to find any inkling of marketing or pricing? A review of the CEPro Top 100 shows that just a fraction of leading custom integration companies pitch their service programs on their website or allow online signup. 

Now, some might argue that this is for strategic reasons.  Why give your pricing away to competitors?  Why risk scaring off price-sensitive clients before you have the chance to pitch the full value during a consultation?

Three points here:

It’s not that big a secret. 
Monthly service pricing varies a whole lot less than custom projects. There’s not a whole behind the curtain here to hide from competitors. And if people browsing your website are scared off by $100+ bucks a month, they’re probably not going to be a great fit for a Service-First model, anyway.

You want to set the expectation of service from the very beginning.
In today’s world, your website is your first salesperson. And if service is the core element of what you do, you want to set that expectation from your first interaction.  By touting the benefits of your service plans online, it’s a whole let less surprising when you bring it up again later in the sales process.

Life’s way easier when you streamline your signup process.
OK, so signing up for service plans is nothing like selling widgets in an e-commerce shop.  But the fact is, putting everything online allows you to automate a chain of events that makes life easier.  If you have three set plans anyway, and the same contract for every customer, you’re going to reduce the friction to sign up (both for the customer and for your team).

Instead of doing everything manually, let the customer go to your signup page, pick the plan they prefer, agree to the terms, put in their credit card, and automatically get billed monthly until they choose to downgrade/upgrade/cancel.

So that’s the why. What about the How?

That’s going to depend heavily on your customer base and what you think your strengths are, but there are a few constants.

First, pricing. Typically, three or four tiers of pricing are the most you want to have.  Offer more than that, and you risk losing the definition between your plans and confusing the customer.  Consider offering an expensive premium plan, even if you think few (or no) customers would actually go for it. 

Premium plans serve as a price anchor, making the rest of your service plans look like a better deal.

Second, services. Remote service via platforms like OvrC is a common value-add, and makes life easier than rolling a truck for simple network troubleshooting. Many technology integrators also offer after-hours or 24/7 service on their higher-end plans. For those without a dedicated service team, it’s possible to outsource those functions to dedicated technology service teams like OneVision. 

Third, implementation. After you’ve figured out pricing and service offerings that make sense for you, the next step is logistics.

Many integrators use Chargify to automatically charge their clients’ credit cards monthly.  Chargify integrates with mainstream accounting platforms, so bookkeeping stays simple. Folks, if Best Buy can do it, you can!  If you’re making strides toward becoming a ‘technology concierge’ as the industry evolves, consider making your life easier by getting your service plans online.

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