Here are 5 reasons to introduce fee-based support offerings.
Your products have changed. If you’ve been selling a pretty straightforward product that has morphed into a complex package with regular software updates you will find that it becomes more and more difficult to bundle the support cost into the product. Since regular updates have a clear value you should be able to roll out fee-based support, bundled with maintenance.
Your customers demand it. Can customers ask to pay for something that’s free? Almost: some customers, especially high-end customers, may want a better level of service and be willing to pay for it. For instance, they may want round-the-clock support when you only offer business-hours support. Or they want response times faster than your standard 24-hour response.
Your customer base is changing. Continuing on the same theme, a changing customer base, especially away from consumers and more towards corporate customers, will put more demand on the support team and at the same time bring a mindset that allows fee-based support.
Your competitors are doing it. As margins tighten in the high-tech world many vendors are going to fee-based offerings as they tighten eligibility for free support. If your competitors are offering fee-based programs you probably should consider it – although to be sure going against the crowd could be a powerful sales argument. Basically any time you see a chance to offer differentiated levels of support for different customers fee-based offerings probably make sense.
Your CFO is demanding it. This is not such a bad reason for charging for support! Fee-based support, amongst other advantages, will give you some leeway to make investments and deliver the kind of support that may not be affordable at all with a free offering.