Mobile and PDA distributor Brightpoint has launched a new technical services business which will provide phone support to users of mobile devices.
With several years of experience in resolving issues around mobile devices for its resellers, executive director, Felix Wong, said it made sense for the distributor to offer that same level of expertise to end users at a price.
End users pay recurring fees to Brightpoint for access to these support services, while any reseller that sits between the customer and the distributor is being offered commissions of between 20 and 25 per cent of the revenue for introducing their client to the service.
Wong said many resellers were cautious about selling PDAs and mobile devices due to concerns over reliability of service and a lack of expertise around the devices. He was banking that the provision of technical support services would alleviate this problem for the IT channel.
“If you are just using a handheld for your diary, you are not going to bother with support,” he said. “But there is a large market for these services among those companies that are rolling out a number of devices to sales staff, where there is sales automation or some other complex application involved.”
Wong said many IT managers had justified the purchase of handheld devices on the basis that the technology enables staff to be more efficient.
“If you justify that investment on the basis that it will save you time, you cannot possibly afford any downtime,” he said.
If a device was physically broken, there was not a great deal Brightpoint could do, Wong said. These issues would have to be taken up with the manufacturer. But most problems with handheld devices stemmed not from physical damage to the device, but a lack of user understanding in making the most of the device’s functionality, he said.
The service was currently available during business hours but was likely to be extended to weekends and afterhours as the business grows, Wong said.