The Utility Company Launches Helpdesk Service for SMBs

By Sharon Linsenbach  |  Print this article Print


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

The new pay-per-minute helpdesk service is aimed at attracting SMB customers to the company's IT-as-utility business model.


The Utility Company has announced the addition of a new live, pay-per-minute helpdesk service aimed at attracting SMB customers away from traditional break/fix IT services to the company's IT-as-utility business model.

The new 1-866-MY-UTILITY Live Helpdesk Service is the entry level of The Utility Company's technology-as-a-service program, said Mark Scott, president and founder of the company.

The Utility Company is based on a franchise model, whereby franchisees deliver business services to customers across five areas: IT, including networking, desktops, security and storage; business applications, telecommunications, including hosted VoiP; copier/printer; and Web site/Internet, Scott said.

Scott said the new service, launched March 17, is geared to SMB (small to midsize business) customers who may already be in a traditional "break/fix" contract with an IT services provider. He said new customer acquisition is an area where many MSPs (managed service providers) struggle, and the goal for The Utility Company's franchisees is to convert those new SMB customers from a reactive, break/fix model into an entry-level, more proactive, technology-as-a-service contract.

 "The service is a great entry-level tool to help MSPs show their customers how they are using technology, and to eventually upsell them into a managed technology services package," Scott said.

Migrating to The Utility Company's 1-866-MY-UTILITY Live Helpdesk can give those SMB customers up to 90 percent of the IT services they need through one service provider at a much lower cost, he said, and can introduce them to the concept of technology-as-a-service. Customers receive a comprehensive basic level of IT services that often saves them 50 percent to 80 percent off the cost of a traditional break/fix contract, Scott said.

 "This is a break from that traditional model into a usage-based helpdesk," said Scott. As SMB customers grow, Scott said, they will increase their need for The Utility Company's managed technology services.

"As customers become more reliant on technology as a profit driver for their business and look at technology more strategically, they will consider more of our services down the line," he said, providing growth opportunities for the company's MSP franchisees.

"Our MSPs really get behind the idea of 'market-seeding;' of having an entry level and then moving [customers] up the ladder towards more complete managed services offerings," he said.

Customers aren't required to sign long-term contracts, said Scott. The 1-866-MY-UTILITY Live Helpdesk service allows MSPs to monitor and manage a customer's infrastructure and deliver usage reports in much shorter time frames, he said.

"The service allows customers to see how much they used, on average, over 30, 60, 90 days," he said.

Scott said the 1-866-MY-UTILITY Live Helpdesk Service is available through all The Utility Company franchisees for $2 per minute. The program has been in a pilot-testing phase for about eight months, and The Utility Company

MSPs have seen great success in driving SMB customers to the service, Scott said.



Sharon Linsenbach Sharon Linsenbach is a staff writer for eWEEK and eWEEK Channel Insider. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, Sharon was Assistant Managing Editor for CRN, a weekly magazine for PC and technology resellers. Before joining CRN, Sharon was an Acquisitions Editor for The Coriolis Group and later, Editorial Director with Paraglyph Press, both in Scottsdale, AZ. She holds a BA in English from Drew University and lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her significant other and two neurotic cats. When she's not reading or writing about technology, Sharon enjoys yoga, knitting, traveling and live music. Sharon can be reached at Sharon.Linsenbach@ziffdavisenterprise.com.

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