When you are trying to decide on whom to get support from to help you with your computer, it is really important you make the right choice. After all, no one wants to spend money on a service they don’t feel is worthwhile.
To help you become better informed and make the right decision, below you find a number of valuable questions to ask potential support suppliers.
1. Do you have an hourly rate – if so what is it?
You may think this is a simple question most people would ask, but you would be shocked at the number of people who forget to ask this before they buy a service. Unless you’re happy to be charged whatever they deem to be appropriate at the time (not ideal), you really need to ask this question.
Obviously, if you are doing your research into home computer support, you will find that rates do vary across the market, so the trick is finding a rate you are comfortable with, that’s neither too high nor too low. Be aware though, not everyone will offer an hourly rate, instead they may offer set prices depending on what the computer fault may be.
2. Can you give me an idea of how long you will take to fix my computer?
Many companies will try to fob you off when it comes to answering this question. Don’t be put off by jargon and the simple answer of, ‘I’m sorry sir/madam, until we get in and investigate, we can’t possibly give you an idea of timescale.’ Anyone worth their weight in computer support should be able to give you an estimated idea of how long the work will take.
Of course, they can only give you an estimated timescale if you have given them a full description of the problems you’ve been experiencing. If you haven’t explained the issue, you can’t expect them to just guess. Likewise, be aware they can only estimate…don’t take their estimation of ‘3 hours’, ‘1 week’ or anything else to befact.
You will need to allow some flexibility because until they actually have your computer in their hands they will not know for sure what the problem is or how long it’s going to take to fix. It is never a good idea to leave without getting an estimate though, after all, you need to have an idea of how much the work is going to cost you!
3. Do I have to pay a minimum charge or a diagnosis rate?
If you are not very technically sound, you may well have missed something on your computer. This may mean those you employ take only a very short time to solve the problems you’ve been having. Obviously, you don’t want to have to pay an hourly rate for work that only took 15 minutes, so it is worth finding out if there is going to be a minimum charge or an accurate charge. It is likely the minimum charge will be 1 hour but even so, it is worth asking the question.
It’s also important to find out whether you’re expected to pay a diagnosis fee. Many support companies request an upright fee upon taking your computer in. They will then diagnose the actual problem and let you know how much more it is going to cost to fix. If they have this diagnosis fee, you will obviously need to budget accordingly and add this into your comparison chart when comparing to other support companies you are looking in to.
4. Do you offer home visits and if so do you charge more for these?
Many people just don’t have the time, or sometimes the ability to leave their home in the middle of the day to visit computer support companies, often due to work or childcare commitments. It is therefore sometimes easier to get someone to come out to your home instead. A lot of companies will offer this service, but do be aware it may cost more for them to do so.
Obviously they need to cover their petrol costs and time spent out of their office, so you should expect them to charge something…although this will definitely vary depending on who you choose to provide support. Many might even offer a free callout, which would be a bonus so it’s most certainly worth asking this question.
5. What guarantees do you offer for your support?
This question should always be included when you are trying to decide on a support service. Simply because if you’ve spent money fixing your computer, the last thing you want is for it to go wrong again in a week, or even a month’s time. If it does happen to go wrong again, you need to be able to take it back to whoever ‘fixed’ it and either get a full refund or have it fixed again for free.
When enquiring about guarantees, it is best to choose a company who offers equal to, or longer than, 30 days. This gives you enough time to really understand if the problem is truly gone. When finding out about the company’s guarantees, make sure you understand fully, just what problems are covered and which are not. You most definitely don’t want to be caught out by the small print and have to pay all over again.