Earlier this week I had a phone call from a "competitor". I put that in quotes for several reasons. First, he's in another state, so he probably doesn't think of me as a competitor at all. However, I have customers all of the country, so he probably should. On the other hand, I don't really think about competitors even when they are a few towns over: if someone can take a customer away from me, it's because I didn't provide what that customer needed, so they are welcome to move on.
Anyway, this person wanted to know what I charged my Kerio® customers for support. That's actually a complicated answer, but the simple response is "Nothing", because I almost never do. There are a very few Kerio users who contract with me for other support, but the majority of my Kerio people pay the Kerio list price (or less, for larger orders) and I include full support with that.
Yes, I know that's unusual. Most resellers charge more (before hand or at time of service) or simply won't provide support at all. I fully understand why they need to do that; they aren't ripping anyone off, they are just doing what they need to do.
There are a few reasons why I don't need to. First is that I can cost average my support because I have a LOT of customers. Some people never call, so they give me the luxury of providing more service to those who have more frequent need. I also usually enjoy very long term relationships with my customers; someone who calls a lot this year may not call much at all next year.
Next is that I have low overhead. I work out of my house and have no employees. I don't need a lot coming in to live well.
Finally, you'll have to pardon me while I blow my own horn: I'm good at this stuff. I've been doing general support for decades. I know stuff, I'm good at intelligent guessing. I have experience and I actually enjoy an interesting troubleshooting challenge. This is fun for me, not work.
But probably most important is that it doesn't take very much of my time. Yes, once in a great while I might spend hours with one customer, but most of the time I'm not doing ANY Kerio support. Kerio just doesn't have a lot of mysterious problems and quite often I can just quickly point at a section of the manual or a knowledge base article and perhaps add one sentence of additional information and I'm done. That process often takes less time than writing this paragraph!
So that's the good side, but there's a negative side too. I don't do much on-site hand-holding. I will go on site for an hourly rate, but I try to discourage that strongly. Because of my volume, I can't afford customers who need a lot of personal attention on site. It's simply not my business model, so if that's what you need, you need to find someone else. There's no Kerio product that really should require on-site work (especially with the modern Internet), but if you still think you need that, I'm not the right fit.
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