There are many items that we do in our day to day life. No matter how capable you may be there are some things that are beyond your control. Primarily the items require manufacturer assistance due to information or knowledge they do not share. Next would be natural need for assistance due to not having acquired the skills or knowledge to solve your need. Last and not least would be the need for assistance due to many reasons from lack of time to better use of your time.
What ever your need or reason it is important to understand the kind of assistance you need and is offered.
Normally support is for a solution or a product and rarely purely based on a service that you acquired. Reason being that a service rendered could also be rectified within the service parameters or conditions when the service is being rendered. Hence a lower need for support on service related products. Examples would be cleaning, security, cooking etc. Reason being these services would be consumed, which means finished almost as soon as it is created for use if not soon after. Hence time and planning is necessary for this.
So we move on to the next area when support is required which is the product or solution (a complex or more intricate series of products and services that will provide a solution to a need or task.). For this area you would have two major sections. First would be a warranty or guarantee which is quite often used in many ways to mean many things.
But simply from google translation which is a general indicative reflection of the meaning of some words: –
1.a formal promise or assurance (typically in writing) that certain conditions will be fulfilled, especially that a product will be repaired or replaced if not of a specified quality and durability.“we offer a 10-year guarantee against rusting”
synonyms: warranty More
1.provide a formal assurance or promise, especially that certain conditions shall be fulfilled relating to a product, service, or transaction.“the con artist guarantees that the dirt pile will yield at least 20 ounces of gold”Warrantywar·ran·tyˈwôrən(t)ē,ˈwärən(t)ē/noun
a written guarantee, issued to the purchaser of an article by its manufacturer, promising to repair or replace it if necessary within a specified period of time.“the car comes with a three-year warranty”
(in contract law) a promise that something in furtherance of the contract is guaranteed by one of the contractors, especially the seller’s promise that the thing being sold is as promised or represented.
(in an insurance contract) an engagement by the insured party that certain statements are true or that certain conditions shall be fulfilled, the breach of it invalidating the policy.
Now key to the above are that there will be limits to how the activities to make good is covered, when and where. There may also be no time that they will commit to completing.
So now most persons or organisations will then go for the next item which is support. Now though support can be superior to a guarantee or a warranty they most often mistaken as the same delivery, however they are actually two different products of fixing problems. One is for making good on product or solution that has a lifespan before it fails, the other is to prolong the lifespan of the product through repair or education for an indefinite period. (Support generally is for a service or solution that fixes problems. Be it learning assistance to a fault that occurs with a product or solution.)
So though some companies may provide a hybrid of the products thus creating confusion on the part of the consumer or user, they are actually many variations of product delivery.
Now on the support portion after guarantees or warranties you could secure during that guarantee or warranty an additional series of commitments to provide assistance in a number of areas. They can be to fix a problem that occurs due to failure, adjust to maintain the product for the duration of use, improve or modify for your specific use, provide replacements and parts to maintain availability and also education. Things like design and redesign should be taken outside your normal routine activity. This will provide you the optimal delivery of support as the estimated cost to deliver will not balloon out of scale and then your provider will not cut corners to be able to continue to deliver the support.
The fact is everything costs, even if you do it your self. It just varies if it is done with less down time or damage to reach a remedied working product.
With that, it brings us to the other important item that organisations, people and companies secure a support solution. Time. This is very important to many and less important to few. For a product that many people rely on or is part of a chain of activities within a delivery, failure or down time can have serious losses just in terms of people sitting around. (work out the hourly cost per person and item left idle during time product or solution has failed.) Hence you can also secure a time component in support solution. Which means response, solving and completion can be measured to keep timelines in a delivery. Note without a contracted period in a contract defining relevant activities for the progress of the completion support vendors may employ affordability models of delivery of the support. This can include the number of cases the skill can handle within a certain period, spread of the jobs over the skills available period rather than immediate attention and many more such variations to provide optimum use of all elements to deliver support.
The end of the day the vendors idea is to use his man power, tools and skill for every working hour of the day so as the spread is even as such the price will be a small incremental of that cost he has to incur with a reasonable profit for himself with little risk.
So when your need is unplanned and his availability has to be as immediate as possible, they will apply history measurements where available in the same area, else a similar area and add some assumptions to that, plus a profit for the business. So the wilder and random the need with shorter timelines the high the cost for the vendor hence high the price for the customer. This however is more simplistic than the actual situation is. We will get more indepth in our other article titled “The cost of support.”