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 Post subject: How do you handle bargaining customers?
PostPosted: November 15th, 2014, 5:07 
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Joined: October 20th, 2014, 5:25
Posts: 77
Location: Sweden
As the subject says.

Scenario: I run a small service firm where I repair electronics, upgrade people's computers, repair computers etc, and a part of the firm is a small datarecovery (mostly logical DR since I'm still in training).

My workflow is that when customers contact me I inform them about my investigation fee (priced X for data recovery, X/2 for everything else) and that if the thing is possible to fix/DR, then the customer gets a paper that's called "kostnadsförslag" in Swedish. I don't know the exact english word for it, but it's a paper stating all costs for particular work, material cost and a fixed total cost. Cost proposal, perhaps? Customers can then accept or reject this, and this workflow is working out pretty okay for me.

The last two weeks, however, has come up with three customers that I have already handled, but I'm not sure if I handled the situation correctly for one of them, and here's where I need some input.

All three customers brought one broken harddrive each. I managed at 100% success rate extract all their datas and then sent them all a "kostnadsförslag". One of the customers accepted it on the fly. The second said "too expensive, I reject" which in itself is fine. But the third customer objected the "kostnadsförslag" stating that "I need only the folder ALL-PHOTOS, not the entire HDD-contents, so give me a new proposal". I replied (this was by mail) that the cost is fixed, no matter if he wanted me to extract 1 file or 1M files, and I didn't hear from him for a week.

Yesterday he mailed back and said that "XXXX is too much money for just a few files. I'll visit you next week getting my HDD and pay the investigation fee". During my analysis of the drive I had come upon the folder in question and something struck me so I had to check again. The folder contains 53GB data spanning over 29k files. This is definately not "a few files", but I surmise he meant that he wanted just "a few files" from that particular folder. No matter what, I had already explained that the cost was not for the amount of files, but for the size of the drive.

It's too bad he rejected the proposal because it would have meant some useful cash for the firm, but I'm not going to take the battle and defending my decision, or bargaining the cost. Bargain one and you'd have to bargain everyone. My wife said "I hope he'll send the HDD to IBAS. Then he'll realize that the price you offered was cheap".


How would you handled the above situation? Would you have bargained?

(The disk itself appeared coming from a NAS and had a - for me - pretty tricky XFS-layout partitioning. There's no way he would have been able to extract anything on his own)


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 Post subject: Re: How do you handle bargaining customers?
PostPosted: November 15th, 2014, 6:52 
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Joined: December 4th, 2012, 1:35
Posts: 2963
Location: Adelaide, Australia
I think we call it a fixed quote.

I personally think you handled the situation well, you have a policy and stuck to it. I think if you really needed the cash, it is up to you to decide to bargain or not, but in my experience customers that try and bargain can cause more problems.. they might dispute what you came up with or say it actually wasn't what they were after.

If you start making different prices for people, when you advertise a fixed price structure.. you can get customers not happy with their price after they know another customer was discounted.. or they will say that their friend got it cheap and so should they.

some of the cases I will discount recoveries:
-struggling people such as students
-education staff
-recoveries that were very easy.. I have had some recoveries where I literally inserted USB and copied data off.

for the last one, if your fee was right in your opinion for the amount of work involved, then you handled all cases well in my opinion.


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 Post subject: Re: How do you handle bargaining customers?
PostPosted: November 15th, 2014, 10:16 
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Joined: December 8th, 2010, 11:37
Posts: 518
Location: Ottawa, Canada
For translation, just type the phrase into a Google search: "translate kostnadsförslag to English." The answer comes up as being "quote."

We (I) have a flexible pricing scheme that allows me to adjust the price within bands listed on my web site's Prices page, each band different depending on the type of failure (logical, media, firmware, electronic, physical). Some fixes are very easy and I wouldn't want to lose the job by having to stick to a fixed advertised price. Once I give a quote, I rarely bargain. Let them see what it would cost elsewhere and they will realize it was a bargain as quoted.

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Bargaining (except on rare occasions) leads to chaos.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you handle bargaining customers?
PostPosted: November 15th, 2014, 10:52 
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Joined: July 13th, 2010, 8:53
Posts: 70
Location: Bergen, Norway
I say stick to your quotes, unless what the client proposes really involves much less work than considered in your quote. But unless rough media problems causes a patient HDD to occupy an imager for several days, the difference between extracting several GBs or just a few files, most often isn't that big.

Another related scenario has been discussed in these forums some time ago: A recovery shop receives a hard drive with firmware problems. While assessing the problem, the shop repairs the drive. The client then turns down the quote, and the shop has to return the repaired hard drive. Thus, until a quote is accepted, always do your best to make sure you can return a patient drive in same condition as you received it.

Quote:
some of the cases I will discount recoveries:
-struggling people such as students

On the lighter side, or rather, the opposite of discounts to the struggling ones:
In Norway most politicians really love taxes, fees, etc. So in an attempt to make them happy, I am considering adding a "tax" of 2-300USD to the quotes of any client which confesses to be member of a political party :) But sadly it won't matter...


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 Post subject: Re: How do you handle bargaining customers?
PostPosted: November 15th, 2014, 13:56 
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Joined: December 8th, 2010, 11:37
Posts: 518
Location: Ottawa, Canada
bos wrote:
Yesterday he mailed back and said that "XXXX is too much money for just a few files. ... The folder contains 53GB data spanning over 29k files.

I forgot to mention that I provide the customer a listing of all the recovered user files and folders (using snap2html) or thumbnails of the pictures if that is their primary interest (using snap2img). This makes them aware of just how much they will sacrifice if they decide not to proceed and is very effective. Both of these are freeware, even for commercial use.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you handle bargaining customers?
PostPosted: November 15th, 2014, 14:05 
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Joined: October 20th, 2014, 5:25
Posts: 77
Location: Sweden
LarrySabo wrote:
This makes them aware of just how much they will sacrifice if they decide not to proceed

This is a great tip. Thanks! Will definately try it next time.


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 Post subject: Re: How do you handle bargaining customers?
PostPosted: November 18th, 2014, 13:05 
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Joined: April 3rd, 2011, 0:19
Posts: 1656
Location: Providence, RI
I agree, too much negotiating on price is a bad thing. Then they'll tell their friends how they talked you down on the price and they will try the same thing. Stick to your guns even if it means you lose a few customers. In the long run, you'll build up a better base of customers that way.

I'll admit I've dropped the price a few times when I legitimately felt bad for someone (college kids who lost their homework, etc.) but it's not good to keep doing it.

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https://www.data-medics.com/raid-data-recovery/


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 Post subject: Re: How do you handle bargaining customers?
PostPosted: November 18th, 2014, 14:31 
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Joined: February 9th, 2009, 16:13
Posts: 1924
Location: Ontario, Canada
I've had clients turn down my quote because it was too high. They then take their drive to a local computer shop who brings the drive to us and gets the same quote. Ironically enough, they usually accept the price the second time around.

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Luke
RAID Data Recovery


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