View Full Version : Advice needed for response to customer

07-02-2009, 12:58 AM
I've got a message on my answering service from someone who wants to "get a copy" of an XP cd so that he can solve his own problems. He seems to think he knows what to do...if only he had a cd. Just wants to borrow it, etc.

I haven't gotten a call like this yet and am wondering what to tell him ("no") in a way that I still might get his business. I mean, that's what I do, right? I wouldn't just give someone else my tools in order to fix their problems...but I don't want to tell him that.

07-02-2009, 01:11 AM
do you call a auto mechanic for schematic printouts?

I would say " sorry but I cant do that, as im microsoft affilliated and that would be a conflict of interest"

07-02-2009, 01:19 AM
No, that's NOT what you do. You don't get involved with someone like that at all. You'll never have any peace. I wouldn't even call him back. You're going to waste your time even explaining yourself to this freeloader? C'mon!

07-02-2009, 01:37 AM
Let him know he can "borrow it and keep it" for $150. :D

Seriously though, I wouldn't return the call.

07-02-2009, 02:42 AM
im with the do not call back crowd. You more than likely aren't going to gain him as a customer by calling him back (he obviously thinks he can do it on his own) and like others said, if you give in, he wont leave you alone.

If you manage to gain him as a customer, I would think he would be the kind always negotiating your price, hes obviously cheap.

07-02-2009, 04:22 AM
If he's "smart enough" to "do it on his own" why the hell is he calling you. Really... he knows exactly what the issue is but can't find a CD? I don't even know what to say to that.

07-02-2009, 05:48 AM
This guy is looking for something for nothing. I wouldn't even waste my time calling the guy back.

07-02-2009, 05:56 AM

I completely agree. There is always the chance for miscommunication. Better yet, offer him to visit his place and teach him how to do it for a fee. Or kindly let him know that you do not rent software and then refer him to microsoft's TechNet. There is always an alternative.

I personally would ask him whats wrong and why he feels he needs the disc in the first place, he may have a virus and think he can fix it with windows disc. Just my two cents.

07-02-2009, 06:17 AM
I guess it boils down to your personal business. Do you have the time/patience to waste on the very remote possibility of making a sale?

Personally, I've dealt with too many cheap ass people that want something for nothing and when you relent, they keep coming back when they need something else for free. They have no shame.

These people are wasting MY time and time is money.

07-02-2009, 06:33 PM
Personally I might even call him back for a good laugh. Find out his issue and what he intends to do. I might even enjoy watching him fumble around. Could be good!

Plus the best benefit is you could give us all a good chuckle by taking notes and telling us the story.

07-02-2009, 07:32 PM
I'd call back, I've had this type of thing in the past. I explained nicely that we aren't allowed to 'loan' CDs. I then spent a couple of minutes discussing his issue and explained that it couldn't be fixed simply 'reloading' the OS. These past situations usually resulted in a loyal customer. Sure, there are the 1 in 10 that want something for free, but it's worth 10 mins. of my time getting the business on the other 9 and possible referrals.

Alot of customers think you can just 'pop' the CD in and everything is fixed. They don't know how to even boot from CD, but their 'friend' told them they could fix it with the CD. Sometimes they ask, because they think it's like the 'Geek Squad' and it's going to cost $300 min. to fix the problem. When you can fix it (if they bring it in) for $30-$125 (usually), then they opt to get it fixed and you have a loyal customer.

That's my 2-cents worth.

- Rob

07-02-2009, 10:55 PM
What would someone get for $30.00?

$29 is our minimum 'bench / diagnostic' fee. Our fees are broken down into service levels. There's a basic 'Level I' service ($19 - things that typically take 10-20 minutes) - which covers things like email setup (1 account), software title install, bios update, etc. Level II services are $49 (things that take about 30-45 mins) - email setup w/ transfer of old email, antivirus removal/install, startup optimization, drive repartition. We also have Level III services ($79), that cover things like analyzing BSODs/minidumps, basic data backup, and others.

If all they want is a RAM upgrade, then it's the $29 minimum plus the cost of the RAM. However, usually we recommend doing a startup optimization also if you are installing RAM. Since, you won't get the most 'bang for your buck' with RAM upgrade, unless you also cleanup all the startup killers (like background updates - other than Windows and AV; real player, etc). We also take a few minutes to check their event logs and make sure there are no other speed killers (ie - services that are slow to startup or hang). We find that most customers need more than one thing and appreciate the up-front pricing.

No, this isn't 'upselling', it's telling the customer in a straight forward manner what would make their system run better and having standard pricing for those common things we do every day.

Note: We are currently evaluating this pricing structure and are moving things around (like bios update, may move to $49, since you often have to hunt for the bios update and also make boot CD or floppy to update older bios). We have found that most customers appreciate knowing how much common services cost, rather then a surprise at the end with the bill. I would appreciate any honest criticism / feedback.

Thoughts??? :confused:

07-06-2009, 06:14 AM
'Level I' service ($19 - things that typically take 10-20 minutes)
Level II services are $49 (things that take about 30-45 mins)

Do you have a Level I.5 for things that take (21 - 29 Minutes)?

Personally i think your pricing levels are screwy, and the client isn't going to see much in value. First off i wouldn't base pricing off of levels it makes the client questions why would i want to spend $49 for 45 minutes of tie when i could purchase 2 level 1 pricing at 19 each for a cost of $38. if you plan to keep the level services, i would suggest you create value. such as level 1 cost is $28, and level 2 cost is $49

The client may also assume that if they are paying the extra money for level 2 service, it would also include all the level 1 services as well. I think with the current setup, your setting a lot of people up for disappointment.

honestly i think i have just found it easiest to just have an hourly rate and just bill for the used time.
79 (hourly rate) x .33 (20 minutes) = 26

you may lose out if the project only take 6 minutes ($7.90) but the client will be shocked.

07-06-2009, 05:43 PM
Do you have a Level I.5 for things that take (21 - 29 Minutes)?

Personally i think your pricing levels are screwy, and the client isn't going to see much in value. ...

I guess my 'pricing levels' have stirred a bit of conversation (that's cool :cool:). So, allow me to clarify and pose a few questions of my own.

1. The amount of time it takes a tech. to perform the service is an internal figure and is not published to the customer. The items in Level 1, are really simple things and are very rarely the only thing on the 'ticket'.
2. Some services also might take actually less 'hands-on' time, but require more expertise and more time as a technician keeping up on the latest issues (ie - virus/spyware removal). These are priced accordingly higher, and in line with other companies in the area.
3. Alot of services in the business world are priced based on the value to the customer, not a straight hourly rate.
4. These are in-shop services where we can be working on multiple computers at the 'same' time.

What I'm trying to do is standardize things a bit, kind of like the automotive world. The theory is that a certain service (like fixing a transmission) should take the average experienced tech. a standard amount of time. Yes, some techs. are faster and will get the job done in 1/2 the time. Other technicians might take longer or have a 'bolt' that is stubborn.

Should the customer pay more, just because they got the slower technician that day? Even though the computer world is not as cut and dry and problems are more deceiving than maybe the automotive world (or other industries), the customer doesn't perceive things that way.


How do you charge an 'hourly' rate for in shop services when you start a scan (5 mins. to setup the scan) and then let it run for an hour (or more) and then analyze the results (15 mins. to analyze scan)? Do you charge for an hour and 20 mins, 2 hours, etc? If so, the customer will see it as a rip-off. With a full shop, I can usually work on 3-4 computers at once. I may be running a hard drive scan on one computer, a reinstall on another, finishing the last part of a virus scan on a third. Do I try to keep track of each minute touching each computer during that hour?

Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate the comments (although 'screwy' is a bit harsh :eek:)..I'll continue to refine our pricing, but for now we are sticking with the service levels (and our hourly rate for things that don't match the defined items).

- Rob

07-06-2009, 05:46 PM
insanely low prices buddy D:

actually, I checked your website...and if it's correct, your prices are lower than mine! Your 'Diagnostic' is $40 and for us it's a 'Level 2' service at $49. Your 'Backup' is $50 and for us it's a 'Level 3' service at $79.

I guess your prices must be ULTRA-INSANELY LOW!!! ;-)

Doctor Micro
07-06-2009, 07:02 PM
I've had a number of calls asking more or less the same thing; i.e., wanting a copy of the XP CD.

What I very often find after asking a few questions is that their computer failed to boot ("Windows could not boot because the following file is missing or corrupt: C:\Windows\System32\System", missing HAL.DLL, or something similar) and on that same failure screen it tells them that they might be able to repair the system using the XP CD.

Since most people either never had an XP CD (Restore Partition only), lost it, or had to dig it out of their kid's toychest, they call around looking for the CD, thinking if they just had the CD as the screen says, all will be well.

Of course, they have no idea what really to do with the CD once they have it. We all know (or should know) how to repair a system with that kind of error, and know it's beyond the ken of Joe Six Pack.

From then on, it's just a Technician to User sales job, explaining what that screen really means, what's involved, and assuring the customer that it's really more involved than they realize, that you've seen this problem many times and can fix it for them.

In my experience, the saddest cases are the ones who did have the XP CD, booted from it and didn't know what they were about and ended up reformatting and reinstalling a new clean copy of XP (usally with missing drivers and always without any of their previous programs, files, documents, pictures, music, favorites, desktop or email). That's when I get a really frantic "Help me Obi-Wan! You're the only one who can help!" call.

07-06-2009, 09:56 PM
That's when I get a really frantic "Help me Obi-Wan! You're the only one who can help!" call.

Nice to meet you Mr Obi Wan. :P

I personally would call the chap back so I could find out what he needed it for and get a sale out of it! If I don't feel I am getting anywhere in 5 mins I would find a way out and end the conversation.

Doctor Micro
07-06-2009, 10:49 PM
Nice to meet you Mr Obi Wan. :P

I personally would call the chap back so I could find out what he needed it for and get a sale out of it! If I don't feel I am getting anywhere in 5 mins I would find a way out and end the conversation.

Oh, believe me, If I have them on the phone, I do try to talk them out of going the DIY route all the time. I was talking about the ones who never called first, had the CD, popped it in and then called only after they discovered they'd really screwed up. That's when I get the Obi-Wan calls. :)