By their complex nature computer problems are often unpredictable. An open ended per hour charge understandably makes customers uneasy. Therefore some computer repair companies employ flat rate pricing as a way of guaranteeing costs. On the surface this sounds reasonable. Yet the inter-connectivity of a computer can cause flat rate pricing to be a huge rip off.
Suppose you have a Windows Mail problem for instance. A tech could say he will work on it and quotes an attractive flat rate charge. However the underlying problem may be an internet issue that is manifesting itself in Windows Mail. But you’re not paying him to work on internet issues. His so called flat rate “doesn’t cover that”. So he tells you that there are also internet problems. But not to worry! “There’s a flat rate for that!” The next thing you know the low flat rate price is 3 or 4 times the original quoted price.
Many computer repair companies chant a low flat rate mantra to lure customers. Then exploit their lack of computer terms and knowledge to nickel & dime them to pay much more.
Similar to humans computers need a holistic, wide angle approach. Problems effect many parts of a computer and need a big picture strategy to diagnosis and repair. The vast majority of computer issues can be addressed, diagnosed and repaired in 1 hour. In rare instances the issue is more complex requiring additional work.
Computers are among the most complex devices ever created by humans. A technician is being honest when he tells you that he must diagnose BEFORE quoting a fixed price for the repair. Any other approach is less than truthful. I charge for the repair itself OR for the diagnosis. Never both.
Because my customers are welcome to sit with me while I diagnose and repair they can grasp the complexities of the system and appreciate my recommendations. Their trust is strengthened as they see with their own eyes what needs to be done.
To make the misery of a computer problem a more pleasant experience give me a call. Who knows? I may facilitate a fix over the phone without any charge. That happens on a regular basis.
Bill Emett, Computer Service Calls 503-572-1307
During this economic downturn I’ve seen a change in the pattern of in home computer service calls. The most common call that I used to receive was slow, sluggish computer performance. After the downturn started the calls became more catastrophic in nature.
Blue screen, crashes and outright failures seem to be the more common call now in recent years.
Just think for a moment and the reason for this becomes obvious. People are tolerating slowness and similar issues much longer than they used to with the mindset that they are saving money. They seem to be putting up with problems until they become critical or even catastrophic. Not surprisingly such fixes are often more stressful & 3 to 4 times more expensive than an occasional computer tune up.
Many of my clients have learned the hard way that affordability is linked to ongoing care and maintenance. A computer, just like a car with a minor annoyance left unchecked can lead to serious expenses.
Slowness, freeze ups and long boot ups may be all the warning you get before a catastrophic crash.
I have a client in Gresham that purchased a computer when her youngest was in the fifth grade. She told me that she wanted it to last until that child graduated from high school! I told her it was unlikely without regular maintenance. She signed up for ongoing online tune ups that cost her approximately $600 over 7 years. Her son will graduate this spring. Would she have been better off to just buy a new computer whenever that old one failed instead of having it run at peak performance for 7 straight years from regular ongoing service and maintenance?
Consider this: During those years I helped educate her to stop her kids and even her from practicing well intended but harmful habits that will harm any computer. She also carefully followed my advice about being proactive with malicious programs, spyware & virus scans. Without such knowledge she would have been forced into a new PC every couple of years without ever knowing why.
Knowledge is power. Applied knowledge (also known as wisdom) saves money every time. Get computer service when the problem is minor.
Computer Service Calls
Never in the history of computers has pc repair been easier and more convenient than by online computer repair. Every morning I read a dozen or so requests for online repair. (Remote login sessions are preauthorized by the client) The problem is described and I just logon to my client’s computer remotely and fix the problem described. Often it is a minor but pesky issue like how to change my homepage or an unwelcome taskbar that has appeared for instance. The problem is typically fixed in less than 3 minutes and I am on to my next remote session client. (Such issues don’t result in a charge whatsoever.)
When a problem is larger I contact the customer by phone or text (or through the screen when the customer is at their pc) and tell them the steps needed to resolve their issue and make further recommendations as needed and quote the exact cost upfront so surprises are avoided. Payment is made later by debit or credit card.
Customers often tell me that they feel spoiled by my service since I only charge for matters involving significant time. I have no problem with this arrangement since I can tend to multiple customers and issues simultaneously while remote servicing a computer. One of the things missing in modern business is the “good will” service of yesteryear when customers were not nickel and dimed at every turn. This resulted in a bond between business and customer that more resembled friendship than commerce. Many of my customers have become trusted friends. Yet some have not seen me in years since remote servicing has resolved all their issues without a physical visit.
Online computer repair has brought many unintended benefits compared to what a shop can or will do. ALL repairs are done in full view of the customer. This provides a sense of trust as they watch. Some technicians HATE being watched. I welcome it. It allows the customer to see the complexity of what we do and appreciate our expertise. Some customers HATE to watch describing it like “watching grass grow”. But the choice is theirs.
Because I work on a flat rate basis and am not tied up at their home I can run extensive scans and processes remotely that I would never dream running if I were at their home due to time constraints. This relaxed approach enables me to do a comprehensive analysis, diagnosis and repair without having to charge more. It’s a win/win.
Occasionally a repair cannot be done remotely but if you have internet access virtually any problem can be fixed online. If you have not had remote service give it a try. You will discover what dozens of my clients have said. “Why would I ever take my computer to a shop again?”
William Emett 503-572-1307