The Weather Report

Is Break Fix Dead?

Headstone on rural grave.

 

It seems like for so many years IT businesses were led to believe that the break fix business was a thing of the past. I witnessed many companies change their models and completely eliminate break fix business from their portfolio of services.

In a perfect world this may have been a great scenario, but in the reality of IT, zero break fix business is probably a mistake, here’s why.

I spent a few months last year consulting with an MSP. This particular MSP had completely eliminated break fix from their solution stack, and had cut staff to the bare minimum to support the MSP clients that they had. This looked great on paper, but the problem was they had not signed up a new managed service client in over a year.

As I dug into the business and monitored calls it was immediately apparent why there had been no additional contracts. Potential customers would call in asking for service. Many would say, they had been recommended by a friend or fellow business owner. The response was always the same, “I’m sorry but unfortunately our contract clients take priority and unless you have a contract with us we can not send a tech to your site.”

I was appalled to say the least; the company was actually turning away business. Of course, they had to turn away business. Having the minimal amount of staff necessary to handle only the existing contract clients, left no time or manpower for any other type of calls, and all of the techs were completely stressed.

In this scenario running lean and eliminating break fix was causing a number of issues. First, with no sales staff actively prospecting, it eliminated potential new customers looking for immediate service who may be a fit for a managed service opportunity. Break fix is a very good lead generation tool that leads to many new managed service contracts. Second, it created high turnover and stress for the minimal staff, making vacations impossible and sick days high stress for all employees. Third, and most regretfully it had eliminated growth in the business while turning off potential customers that may never return based on having a need that could not be filled.

Imagine you are a customer looking for service. You are open to the potential of a future contract but you are skeptical and want an IT business to prove themselves to you before signing a long term agreement. Based on the first impressions in the scenario above, would ever just jump into an agreement? Especially if the IT Company couldn’t help you in your time of need?

The point is that break fix has its place in IT. As a singular model it is flawed, but as part of an overall business strategy that includes, managed services, cloud, and other products and services, it is a necessary part of the IT business.

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