Trying to make money by offering tech support with your own small business upgrading and repairing pcs isn’t exactly easy. In the computer field, so many people think they know how to fix computer problems that within most families there are always one or two “experts” that everyone turns to for computer support.
This means that by the time an issue gets to you, it has gotten so bad – and someone has probably messed the computer up so much – that recovery is going to turn into a major nightmare.
Offering tech support needs to include more than just solving a crisis for people. That will always be a part of it, but it also means educating your new customers about the value of a long-term “support contract” for their computers, and the importance of a regular preventive maintenance program.
Once they understand how not maintaining their computers will cost them far more in the long run, you can then offer them your menu of tech support maintenance services. What might those services include?
In this article I’m going to cover 5 really cool tech support services you can offer to your customers that will not only offer you a regular monthly income from maintenance contracts, but it will also help you to get a leg up on the competition.
Stand Above Competition With Useful Remote Support
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average number of computers in the typical American household has nearly doubled from 2000 through 2008. What this means is more computers in every family, and a greater demand on those computer for doing critical household chores like paying the bills or working.
These days, when a family loses a computer or *gasp* Internet access – it hurts.
There is most certainly a niche available for the tech support guru that can fill it. Sure enough, there are families in your neighborhood that could benefit from having a tech support guy not only available when things go wrong, but available to make sure everything is always going right.
Offer Regular PC Maintenance
The most important service you can offer to your clients is regular maintenance and cleaning of their computer systems. Yes, that means you should load up mobile version of your favorite antivirus and anti-malware apps to run regularly on those systems. However, it also means that you should regularly “clean up” those computers of regular trash files using software like CCleaner or BleachBit.
CCleaner is great software, but I have to admit I really like BleachBit and feel it should be a part of any tech support arsenal.
BleachBit is just remarkable when it comes to the number of applications that it takes care of, like Adobe Flash, Microsoft Office, Silverlight, WinRAR and much more. It does a deep scan and will make a huge impact on performance for systems that haven’t been cleaned in a long time.
Offer Remote Monitoring of PC Health
Imagine if your clients received a phone call one night, and you were on the other end of the line informing them that you’ve identified an issue with their home office PC, and that you would like their permission to make a service call to remove a virus.
Wouldn’t they be impressed? In fact, most people really don’t want to have to worry about whether or not their computer is virus-free or infected with Malware, and some people even ignore all of the warning messages that pop up when they are infected. It isn’t always that they don’t care, it’s just that they don’t understand what’s going on. However, with an open source application called PCNetMonitor, you could remotely monitor your client’s computers for odd processing spikes or memory issues, indicating a problem.
PCNetMonitor uses WMIC commands to remotely obtain stats and performance info from the remote computer, so you’ll need to make sure that you can access the PC through the client’s router, and that you have an account set up with admin permissions to issue WMIC commands on that computer.
The best part of PCNetMonitor is that you can log information from the computers and output them to an Excel log file where you can perform your analysis on those stats and look for any telltale signs of problems.
Offer Phone Support
Offering phone support to your clients doesn’t mean that you have to install some expensive VoIP solution, all you really have to do is just sign up for Google Voice.
When you’re logged into your Google Voice account, just go into settings and “groups” and make sure that you’ve enabled your “mobile” phone to ring when there are incoming calls.
If you have a WordPress blog, you can install the Google Voice CallMe plugin to embed a Google Voice call button right into your blog by highlighting the embed text in the plugin and pasting it right into your site’s widget code.
Now on your tech support site, you can have a “Call Me” button where your customers can contact you directly via your phone whenever they have any tech support issues.
Obviously, you’ve included pay for on-call tech support in the maintenance contract.
Offer Online Chat
Another service you could offer your clients is access to a live tech geek over the Internet whenever they have any questions or problems. Obviously, you’d charge a premium for such a service, but there are lots of people that would love to have a tech guru right at their fingertips. I covered one service that you can install on your web host to do this called LiveZilla, which is an awesome live chat service.
That is, until I discovered Mibew Live, which is even easier to install and simpler to use.
The nice thing about Mibew Live is that the interface for your users are really easy to use, and the interface for you as the tech support person will increase your efficiency by letting you pre-program commonly typed answers or explanations. That way, if you get the same questions over and over, you’ll have the explanation all typed up and ready to go at the click of a button.
Remote Control of Client PC
Obviously, the most commonly used tool as a remote support tech person will be the ability to remotely connect to the client’s PC and either fix a problem from your own office, or to teach the client how to do something.
We’ve covered a ton of remote control applications here at MUO, including Netviewer and Instant Housecall, but I think most readers agree that one of the best free remote support applications out there is TeamViewer.
This application will let you take a quick look at your client’s computer whenever they call you or chat with you about some strange problem they may be having. Nine times out of ten, a problem isn’t really a problem, it’s just a person misunderstanding what exactly their computer is doing. By quickly connecting and showing them what’s going on and why, you’ll become a valuable person that they’ll depend on for guidance and support when they’re on their computer.
Remember though, if you use TeamViewer as part of your business, do the right thing and buy a commercial copy.
What that turns into is a reliable client that is guaranteed to renew their support contract with you every year, because ultimately tech support comes down to more than just fixing computer problems. It’s about helping people make full use of everything that computers can do for them.
Are you a remote support technician or do you have a business upgrading and repairing pcs? Have you ever used any of these apps, or do you have your own recommendations? Share your own advice in the comments section below.
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