A recent research study has revealed that consumers are willing to pay up to $125 a call to fix technology problems in home and then an hourly rate. So is it time to expand home call services?
Managed service is starting to take off in the home with mass retailers and specialist home service organisations fast moving to grab a share of the market. Among them are Domayne, Harvey Norman Commercial, AWA and Gizmo to name a few.
These providers may charge a regular monthly fee for services such as automatic backup, virus protection and software patches as well as the installation of large TV screens home theatre and Hi Fi.. Or they may sell blocks of time for customers to use their tech support — on a discounted basis — as needed.
So will it catch on? Parks Associates interviewed more than 6,000 Internet users to determine how they would buy PC services. The Dallas-based research firm found that approximately two-thirds of consumers prefer ad hoc in-home services versus a consistent monthly subscription for regular IT support.
Approximately 40 percent of consumers would prefer to pay $125 or less per in-home incident.
Still, prospects are high for certain categories of managed services. For example, 8 percent of Internet users are interested in an online storage/backup service, and 20 percent of these high intenders are willing to pay $15 per month for such a service.
Content backup is not the biggest concern for consumers though. Home Internet users are most likely to have home technology problems related to Internet security issues (viruses, spyware and spam). More than 51 million North American households reported such problems.
For most PC-related issues, consumers try to fix the problem themselves, but if that fails, they are most likely to contact their ISP or a friend or family member for technical support.
ISPs and friends/family get a call from 24 percent of PC households when it comes to Internet security, but 12 percent of challenged households did ultimately use a professional service.
For hardware/software issues, ISPs tied with friends and family again, getting the tech-support call from 27 percent of respondents. Professional service providers prevailed 17 percent of the time.
Finally, PC users with networking problems contacted their ISP 34 percent of the time and friends and family 31 percent. Some 15 percent solved the problem (or tried to) with a software fix, but 18 percent gave up and hired a pro.