By: Velda Goodin, Tech Services and Solutions Manager at ASI
Services is a much overused word these days. There are at least 5 different actions we commonly lump under the title “Services” which probably explains so much misunderstanding around the subject. This may be why so many resellers tend to shy away from offering or event discussing it with their customers. Providing the option of “Services” is quickly becoming crucial to the continued longevity and success of Value-Added Reseller channel. Unless there is a more clearly defined language of what “Services” entail, many VARs will simply not engage and offer to provide them. As a result, in today’s competitive marketplace, their business may slowly ebb away. In many case, SOMEONE is providing these services to your customer, why shouldn’t it be you?
The list of services is growing every day. Hardware Warranty Services, Software Maintenance Services, Installation Services, Data Recovery Services, Professional Services, Merchant Services, Integration Services, Configuration Services, Security Services, Customer Analytic Services, Managed Service Provider. While VARs may not have the resources or core skills to provide these services themselves, there are many Service providers with which partnerships make better business sense. The cloud enables this model to cover virtually any geographic area and scale from SMB to Tier 1 . In many cases, Services definitely provide a healthy margin sufficient to support a VAR outsourcing this to a Service provider.
Three profitable retail Services to consider offering now:
Secure Data Recovery Services: No one enjoys paying for insurance, unless an emergency happens: then it’s priceless. Same with Data Recovery Services. When disaster happens, the sheer ability to more quickly recover from hard drive errors, file and database corruption, fire/smoke/water damage or employee error and have a business up and running again, while securing customer payment information and sensitive data, easily justifies the ROI of this service
Merchant Services: Any business taking credit/debit card payments utilizes merchant services. There are many options now and many add gift cards and loyalty programs as well as other services. Look for a channel friendly option which includes revenue sharing with VARs. With the EMV mandates as well as PCI compliance to consider the timing couldn’t be better for having the discussion and offering it to your customer. Remember, your customer has to have this service and as a VAR, you should be a partner in providing it.
Managed Service Provider: A managed service provider (MSP) is a company that remotely manages a customer’s IT. Using a cloud RMM (Remote Monitoring and Management) platform, a MSP can remotely monitor the health and functions of technology products/infrastructure, such as mobile devices, network infrastructure, and POS Systems. This is a proactive approach vs a break/fix model. There is a predetermined SLA in place (Service Level Agreement) such as a Bronze, Silver or Platinum level of service. MSPs usually receive a flat monthly fee under a subscription model thus building a recurring revenue stream.
This is just scratching the surface of the business opportunities afford by adding these Services to your offering. Each of these Services also offers a very important differentiator for your company: a business partnership. By providing these retail services, you become imbedded in the day-to-day, mission critical business operations of your customer. This stickiness will help insure a longer and more profitable relationship between you and your end user.