Subject: Re: Is anyone selling support with a retainer?
From: petav@argon.e20.physik.tu-muenchen.de (Peter Averkamp)
Date: Tue, 18 Feb 1997 13:10:49 +0100


The picture with the retainer being a pure insurance sure will make
some people feel like paying for nothing. The same is true for a lawyer
that asks for a retainer, just to ensure you he will jump start if
you call him.

Another way to look at it is to provide some sort of value to a customer
that obtains a support contract. Example: Instead of charging a pure
retainer fee, you can offer to include customers in software update mailings,
bug warnings, etc., so they get something for the retainer right away, even
if they never need actual support.

We, a Communications Consulting firm, have a similar model for our
customers that all come from the Computer Industry: for a basic service fee,
we track the necessary contacts and topics and keep them informed about
details for their communications work. When they need our service, e.g.
for consulting or for press work, they pay a reduced fee if they have
a contract. Interestingly enough, in most cases the customers have asked for
this model. We did not have to push it.

Our experience with this model have been througout positive. But it seems
clear that for us it only works with bigger customers who are more educated
about the value of a certain service. It also seems to be more pronounced in
Europe than in the US.

Peter

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Britz-Averkamp Press, Events & PR Consulting
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/Britz