Why the Break/Fix Model is Broken and Can’t be Fixed
Yes, Break/Fix has its own Wikipedia page. From it, we find that the term break/fix refers to the fee-for-service method of providing information technology services to businesses. Using this method, an IT solution provider performs services as needed and bills the customer for the work done.
Unfortunately, the page doesn't refer to the end its existence. That's right, there are still IT organizations that rely on the break/fix model for majority of their revenue. In other words, if something breaks, they fix it. That might sound like a normal thing to do, but it's an approach that seldom works well in the log run. You know that saying "prevention is better than the cure"? Well, that saying is fitting for this very scenario! Shockingly, more companies than you can imagine still implement the break/fix logic to their IT systems. Let me share some reasons why this approach just doesn't make sense:
When things break, there's downtime
One might think there's not a lot of harm if an employee's computer stops working in the office. But what happens when your in-house server crashes? Or your network router loses all its configuration settings when it suddenly decided to reset itself? As you can imagine, those two scenarios can cause a lot of setback and a huge headache. Your staff would be hindered and unable to complete their work in the usual expected timely manner, and your valued clients will ultimately be impacted by the downtime. Having an appropriate maintenance schedule and monitoring in place ensures your business can fix any problems before they cause you major issues!
Preventative maintenance doesn't have to cost a fortune
Some business owners quiver at the mere thought of paying huge sums to IT support agencies. Even the idea of hiring a team of specialists in-house could mean a decrease in cash flow in their minds. But in all actuality, preventative maintenance of your IT systems need not cost an arm and a leg. Did you know that Outsourced IT for businesses saves companies loads of money compared to in-house experts or even no IT support at all? Taking into the account the cost of routine repairs and maintenance, the cost will still be cheaper than the price you'll pay when things go "boom!".
If you are reading this and are among those who have escaped this death-trap by ditching break/fix, I don't need to tell you how fortunate you are. You are already reaping the benefits while ensuring the long-term livability and equity value of your business.
There are many reasons why the Break/Fix Model doesn't work doesn't work:
- Income is unpredictable and inconsistent
- Workload is inconsistent
- You only see customers when there is something wrong, so you're always seeing unhappy customers
- When something catastrophic happens to a customer, you present them with a catastrophic bill
- Trying to avoid your bills, customers may put off reporting minor problems that eventually become major
- Inconsistent network performance, which you are NOT responsible for, can manifest itself in the appearance of problems for which you ARE responsible
I could go on and on, but you get the picture. It's not pretty. Unfortunately, you can't make the switch to a Managed Service model overnight. You have got to find ways to transition existing customers from the mindset of accepting the negative impact of something being broken before a call to you, to one where the AVOIDANCE of negative impact is worth paying you in advance. Can you afford to stay in a Break-Fix model? Most likely not, you'll simply fall behind your competition. If you’re thinking of converting to managed services, there are a few things to keep in mind while digging yourself out of the rut:
Here’s how to get out of the break/fix cycle:
- Every time there is a problem, don’t just fix it. Propose solutions that focus on the elimination of future pain. Could this problem have been avoided? Can it be avoided going forward?
- Partner with a reliable network services provider that pays you residuals for carrier services. You get the on-going revenue while minimizing the chances of degradation of a network resulting in degradation of the performance of equipment you provide or service. You not only help your customers, you protect your image
- Put products and services that provide continual network back-up in your portfolio. Insurance is big business. For a small monthly fee, you can ensure your customers are never without Internet OR voice communications. You not only protect your customer’s revenue and expenses, but grow your recurring revenue as well.
- Don’t try to transition all customers at once. Focus on transitioning your base one customer at a time, concentrating first on those customers on which you can have the greatest impact