Rugged PDA Support Services

Rugged PDA Support Services

Rugged PDA Support is a key element to what I feel creates a “Rugged” solution and its often the least understood area that less knowledgable resellers know about.

We’re told by most manufacturers that between 70-90% of sales are now sold with their support product and, whilst it depends on the type of solution and customer, I would definitely agree that support is a growing element of any solution we put together and we now see about 60-70% of solutions typically over 20 devices now going for support options.  So lets cover off a few questions here that we commonly hear about Rugged PDA support.

I have 12 months warranty, why would I need support

The most common question we get asked about support and I need to define warranty before we go on.  Warranty is about making sure the device is received and works in the manner it was supposed to.  So if a rugged PDA stops working and it is clearly due to a manufacturer fault then it will be dealt with for you.  Classic examples of this are when the Rugged Handheld arrives dead (it does happen or say when the scanner breaks.  If the device has been used and abused then the manufacturer is likely to ask you to pay for the repair as warranty does not cover wear and tear in any way.

So what do you get extra with support

As a general guide for about £5 per device per month over 2, 3 or 5 years you’ll get what we call a “comprehensive support package” tied to the serial number of your Rugged PDA.  This gives you the following extras:

1. Vastly improved SLA’s

Typically 3-5 days guaranteed turn around time when you send a device back for repair.  Warranty with any manufacturers depend on the demand they have at the time and it is common to see 15+ days turn around time on warranty repairs.

2. Accidental Cover

Damage to your Rugged PDA that is accidental in nature includes cracked LCD’s, damage after drops or general wear and tear usage.  I must add here that all support contracts have an “abuse” clause written in, noone is going to repair 20 cracked LCD’s in a month and let that go by without us having a chat about how this has happened but your rugged handhelds are covered for normal accidental breakages.

3. Repair bills included

All your repair bills are included, you pay nothing more for your rugged PDA repairs, including labour and parts.

4. Better OS and general Software support.

Motorola no longer give anything away for free so if you want that WM6.5 upgrade you need a support contract now.

5. Improved Escalation

Having a support contract also gives you far quicker access into the higher levels of engineering.  From day to day repairs this isn’t really a relevant point but for more awkward issues, you’ll get a far quicker response rate from the manufacturers.  It really oils everything for you.

6. Total Cost of Ownership

The whole concept of support is the you get TCO for your whole solution for a set period of time.  It just gives you a pricing that, unless you start abusing your contract, remains at a set pricing, allowing you to focus on your business, not keeping your mobile platform running.  I have to say that we have never heard anyone tell us that their support contract was a waste of money, in fact quite the contrary.

7. Foundations for extra services

A Rugged PDA support product also gives you the foundation for a whole list of other repair services including things like:

  • OS and software Image loading
  • Device servicing and cleaning
  • Reporting and account overview
  • Express services improving SLA’s further
  • Postage inclusive collection services
  • Drop off Rugged PDA’s

These tend to be customised areas that can be tailored to your solution but they are available with most of the devices we now sell here.

What you don’t get

Now I have experience of Mission Critical Server support from working at HP for some years and what is still not possible is having a 4 hour Fix SLA on devices.  I think the main issue with this is the sheer numbers and the mobile nature of the device.  However there are services that will give you a dropped of device on pickup of your faulty one so it’s getting close.

Onsite support is something that a year ago I would have said it’s not possible, but we’re also now building services that offer onsite support in various forms.  It is still fairly costly but for some its genuinely worth it.

Abusive support is also not covered for obvious reason.  We have years of service statistics so we know what the likely returns should be for any device and if you’re a blip on the scale we’ll know.  However we’re not like network “Insurance” where we either put the pricing up substantially without warning or simply cut the service.  We always spend time with problem customers address issues long before this happens.

Perhaps the main thing missing from support is theft of the device.  However we’re working on that here so always ask about this element of the support.  Don’t forget that a typical Rugged PDA costs about 3-4 times that of a smartphone and they tend to be a lot less desirable to thieves!

Other options

It is still feasible to do your own support?  Well yes and we still get people who need to swap out devices quickly just keeping their own “pool” of rugged PDA’s and paying for repairs as they happen and this can work quite well for the right solution.  The benefit of this are that if you have a more controlled environment with users who will look after the device then you might be wasting money on support contracts, but I would say the trend is to move away from this model, especially for customers who have tried and tested solutions that have become business critical to them now.

So there’s a bit about support options!  products are varied and every manufacturer has their own products that are slightly different in what they offer and how they work.  If you want to know more than get in touch as we know about all the service products here and can guide you through easily.

I’ll leave  you with one last thought.  As Rugged Mobile solutions become more critical to the way your business works, you need to shift your thinking away from the Device you are using and to how you can support your business not just faulty devices.  It’s key to having a solution that works for you in the long run.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

About The Author

Dave's one of the founders of Raptor, his rants are memorable, his thoughts are stimulating and his heart is set on helping, entertaining and making things like mobile, Android, ruggedness, 3D printing and IOT simple.

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