The Real Cost of Customer Service For AV Integrators

March 16,2018 in  How Tos, IT Pros
by Violet Chepil

Labor costs are increasing. Health insurance is skyrocketing. Small businesses are constantly squeezed by increasing expenses, so controlling costs is more important than ever.

RMM Image

Installation professionals are certainly no exception. Let’s take a detailed look at how you can reduce your business costs and improve your bottom line.  How many times have you rolled a truck to a customer’s home or business on a service call, only to find that a simple power-cycle or reboot was all it took? What kind of cost reduction would you enjoy if you could avoid those unnecessary truck rolls?

Let’s look at the costs a single 1-hour trip to a customer site to reboot a lighting controller. First, there’s labor. Depending on the area of the country, if you add up salary or wages, taxes, insurance, benefits, and administrative overhead, an experienced technician’s loaded rate could easily exceed $50/hour. For a business vehicle, you incur fuel, maintenance, insurance, and depreciation costs. Those miles aren’t free, so add another $50. Costs vary, but industry surveys estimate the direct cost of a service truck roll is in the neighborhood of $150 to $250.

Direct costs aren’t the only hit to your bottom line. Sending a technician to a customer site can often be a double-whammy. You not only incur real costs, but also miss out on new customer opportunities and real profits. Chances are, that truck and technician could have been more useful and productive installing new equipment or upgrading equipment—and that those activities would have been far more beneficial to the bottom line. So, let’s add an opportunity cost of $100.

So, direct costs and opportunity costs together total $250-350. Let’s use $350 and do some simple math. If you have 50 customers you regularly engage and support, that’s $17,500/year. What if you could save that amount every year? If you could avoid just one truck roll for each customer, you could. With remote monitoring and management, you can do just that.

The benefits of RMM are much more than just cost savings. With the RMM bases loaded, you can also hit a customer service “home run” by offering your customers a “concierge” service program, cutting costs, increasing revenue, and offering better customer service.

Don’t take my word for it, though. In its 2016 State of the Industry Survey, CE Pro found that only 3% of installers were offering remote managed services. That number jumped to 11% in 2017. Clearly, the word is getting out. What are your real costs to roll a truck? What would you save if you could avoid just one truck roll per year per customer? If you haven’t tried it, what are you waiting for?