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View Full Version : Looking for opinions.. What seems to be the bane of IT service/retail/etc.



l0gic
02-11-2011, 11:36 AM
Disclaimer:
This post isn't intended as a bitching, whining or complaint thread. Even though some of the things posted ahead could be read as exactly these. I'm more after peoples opinions and thoughts.

A bit about me before I start:
For the last ten years I have been working in the computer industry. I've worked retail selling and servicing computers. I've also worked in support and troubleshooting over the phone, in a workshop or at a customers house. I'm now in a role where it's a bit of everything we sell new computers, service computers and help customers with any problems or issues that arrive. Mainly though it's support and service. I would consider myself pretty smart, pretty onto it. And I know my way around a computer, laptop, smart-phone, game console, etc. - However I'm not the best writer in the world, please bare with me!

Lets Go:
A lot of things have changed since ten years ago. If you're in a job or position like mine I'm sure you'll agree. However, forget about all the hardware. Forget about what's new and what 'the best' is. The thing I want to point out is attitude in relation to IT and computers.

For some of you, you already know what this post is going to be about. For the rest, let me ask you a few questions.

When you go to the petrol station to get a bit of gas, do you walk in and tell the guy at the counter "Hi mate, I was thinking about just getting $20 but I put $30 in instead, how about a discount!"?

Do you make a point to mention that the few times you've put $30 of gas in that it hasn't lasted a certain amount of driven distance, and you should somehow be compensated? - Perhaps even that the pumps should be tested to make sure it delivered the correct volume for your $30?

Once you've got your gas, have you ever popped into the grocery store and done a weeks worth of shopping. Had the lovely person at the checkout put it all into bags nicely for you then tell you what you owe for it only to tell them, "Cheres for that, I'm a bit skint this week, I'll be buy in two days to pay for it."?

And on the way home with your empty boot due to being escorted from the supermarket by a security guard, have you ever driven into a road sign making a mess of the front end of your car only to get home and first call the place where you got the car from asking for a new one because you dented yours? And if that didn't go well, did you ring the local council and inform them that their sign did damage to your car so they should send you a cheque to cover it?

I doubt anyone has..

Actually, I did ask for a discount on petrol. I got laughed at, it was very professional indeed. After that I didn't want to try asking the supermarket if I could just grab some coke and chocolate now and pay later, I couldn't handle being laughed at twice in such a short time.

I know a lot of poeple in the same industry as me, in the same kind of position. We talk and we always come up with this topic. I'm not saying it's not the same in other professions, but still. I have to wonder, we all wonder.

Why don't people do the things I listed in the questions above?

Why is it that people know they wont get a discount for set-priced items such as petrol?

Why do people not ask the car salesman for a new ride when they break their old one?

Because it sure seems that almost every customer I deal with does one of these to us. And it's not just me, the people I work with have noticed the same. Friends working in retail feel they're in the same boat. I even called the 'other brand' computer guys across town and they agree to.

I asked a butcher, he said he had no issues. People come in ask for meat, he cuts it, weighs it, prices it, takes the money. He said, "People expect to pay for it I guess."

I asked a mechanic, again no issues. Problems fixed, bills paid.

Accountant, no complaints, bills always paid.

Lawyer.. Well, he had no comment on the matter. Infact he got very defensive when I started asking him questions. I think he already knew it was a subject to be avoided.

Why then, when it comes to computers. Why does everyone always expect a better deal?

I don't know if I've made my point, but the post is getting quite long now. I'd like to hear from everyone on this matter. Any opinions or thoughts would be great. I don't want to start a fight-thread out of it, so please don't go there.

Thanks,
l0gic

Chilling_Silence
02-11-2011, 11:46 AM
I know what you mean ... Was there a *lot* when I worked in retail with PCs.

For me though I've recently begun having the opposite issue. People (businesses) were so happy with the service I was offering that they asked to pay more.

Moral of the story? Bugger working with end-users, businesses are where it's at :D

wainuitech
02-11-2011, 12:09 PM
That happens all the time. Some people seem to think because their computer is stuffed, then Techs can come in hit a certain couple of magic keys and its all better, and can be fixed in a matter of seconds.

Even though I do mobile work at peoples homes, I prefer to work in my workshop - that way if they come up with some excuse, "oh cant pay for it till next week" then I can easily say --" thats fine, call me when you have the money and I will bring it back" Thats usually followed by " oh its really urgent i have it back yesterday etc>
Its amazing how many times all of a sudden the money is available.

Another case I had yesterday, the lady called and said what her problem was, and what she had done so far to try and fix it. Wanted free advise which could have taken hours on the phone on how to fix it. Basically the thing was riddled with infections and a badly corrupted OS, wouldn't even load in safe mode.

Going by her description of the problem I suggested a good out come would be to wipe the drive after saving all her 100's of family photos music and work documents etc so nothing would be lost ( no back ups) -- then came the bull sh1t pricing-- oh its to much etc.

I was in the mood for a argument yesterday, so polity told her to do the job correctly, saving all her data, completely reinstalling windows, finding drivers, replacing all the software and checking her data for any possible infections and replacing along with collection and returning and setting up the printer on return would take the good part of a day if not longer.

Oh why so long----- :groan:

Any way I asked politely if her husband was working -- YES -- OK thats good, the price I gave you, if it were an hourly rate (instead of a fixed price I have) would have been less than $11 / hour -- would your husband work for that -- NO WAY was the reply - Ok why should I then ?? Oh didn't look at it like that was the reply.

In the end she said never mind I'll phone around till I can find someone who can do it for free. Then she had the cheek to ask if I knew any one -- I said yeah -- cowboys R us :D

THEN the complete opposite happened in the afternoon. I went and did a job, gave the guy the invoice and he asked if I had actually charged enough as he was digging out the cash from his wallet.

Cant win sometimes ;)

pctek
02-11-2011, 12:11 PM
Disclaimer:


I asked a butcher, he said he had no issues. People come in ask for meat, he cuts it, weighs it, prices it, takes the money. He said, "People expect to pay for it I guess."

I asked a mechanic, again no issues. Problems fixed, bills paid.

Accountant, no complaints, bills always paid.

Lawyer.. Well, he had no comment on the matter. Infact he got very defensive when I started asking him questions. I think he already knew it was a subject to be avoided.


Rubbish.
I ask butchers, and most do give a discount if you buy in bulk. The small butcher corner shop too.

Plumbers - electricians, they all get hassled about the bill, asked for discount for cash and all sorts.

Lawyers - well you can ring round first.

l0gic
02-11-2011, 12:20 PM
Rubbish.
I ask butchers, and most do give a discount if you buy in bulk. The small butcher corner shop too.

In bulk perhaps, yes. I can understand the difference in order 1000 steaks over 10. However.. Bulk discounting doesn't really apply here. I'm usually dealing with one computer per customer. If that one customer was to bring in ten computers then of course I'd look at doing a better deal.

Plumbers and Electricians seem to be in the same boat as PC techs then. Is it perhaps because the customer can't physically see the majority of completed work and only want to pay for what they can see, or what?

1101
02-11-2011, 12:33 PM
Perhaps you arnt charging enough. Thats why you are getting the lower end of the market??
When I tell potentional customers of our rates, it quickly sorts this out. Those wanting cut price deals & to haggle the cost
go elsewhere.
We ~Officially~ have a minimum charge , and then get back to the customer with an estimate. Of course that isnt workable with onsite repairs.

The downside is some repairs I cant charge all of my time for the really tricky jobs (in the workshop) , it would be more than they would be willing to pay. And often to get a estimate/quote for the customer requires me to actually fix the thing to confirm the cause & fix needed.

Do state your hourly rate before before you even book the job ?? with some guestimate of time so the cust wont think anything is a 15minute fix ??
If they agree to you rates before you start the job, they simply cannot justify trying to haggle the price.
Ive only had issues with haggling after completion 4x in the last 10 years.

But i know guys in unrelated industries also having issues with haggling after job is finished.

l0gic
02-11-2011, 12:39 PM
Do state your hourly rate before before you even book the job ?? with some guestimate of time so the cust wont think anything is a 15minute fix ??

Sure do, after talking to many other people in the same position, I don't believe it's anything personal or how the business is run. It just seems to be the way customers tend to be. Not all customers, I'll admit that but a decent number of them I'd say over 50% of them. It's something that has appeared in all my previous roles for different employers in different businesses, aswell as in the roles of other people I talk to.

I don't know exactly how to explain it, I was more hoping people that had experienced it (and you would know it if you had, that's for sure) might chime in on it.

robsonde
02-11-2011, 04:41 PM
it depends on the customer and the problem.


I did a windows password recovery for a company. this was back in the days on NT4.0
they had a quote for full re-install and restore of data, 2 day outage and cost of $1000.
I said I could just do password reset (this was a cool new trick in 1999) and less then 1 hour outage and a cost of $150.
this was all good, until I did the job in less than 10 minutes.
then they didn't want to pay, so I explained that I didn't have to give them the new password ;-)

you pay for the skills the tools and the time, it only took me 10 minutes, but that's because I has the skills and the tools.



another person I often do work for is exactly the other end of the scale.
he got a new laptop and wanted me to set it up.
connect it to his Wifi, install web cam & skype, install printer, install Anti-virus.
the job took about an hour, I asked for $40, he gave me $70

he recognizes the skills, he always get me in for all he tech problems.



it's just nice that I am now in a situation where I can pick my clients.
if the job is too hard of the person is a prat, then I just pass them off to someone else.

Phil B
02-11-2011, 05:13 PM
When I had my business (Not computers) & I had customers who were penny pinching skinflints. I had two ways of dealing with them. 1, I applied F.A.T ***k about tax. If they *****d me about I added another hours labour. 2, Befor I got the job I thought of a number & doubled it + F.A.T. 9 times out of ten they either vanished pronto, or behaved themselves next time lol. I was lucky to be in a position where I chose my customers as much as they chose me.

Phil B
02-11-2011, 05:17 PM
you pay for the skills the tools and the time, it only took me 10 minutes, but that's because I has the skills and the tools

They don't appreciate how long it took to acquire those skills. What's more the average person in this country is always trying to do things on the cheap. It's an uphill battle