Use Windows 7 To Upgrade Your Status With Clients
By Dan Schell
At the time I am writing this, Windows 7 has been released for about a week. As prognostications of the new OS' merits clog the mainstream media, VARs undoubtedly are looking at this new release as a green light for additional revenue — or, at least they should be. No, I'm not talking about the slim profits you could be making from selling upgrades (although in a great quantity, this could be substantial). Instead, I'm referring to the basic value-added service you could provide your customers who are now faced with the choice of upgrading or not. What you deem that "service" to be and whether you charge for it are up to you, but at the very least, this upgrade should help improve your relationship with your client. After all, this is your opportunity to live up to that trusted advisor status.
Before you pick up a phone to talk to a client about Windows 7, do your homework. You should know which OS they are using now as well as their hardware and peripherals. Windows 7 won't work with some aging hardware, or it may require some tricky manual installations. Knowing the potential impact of this upgrade on your client's existing infrastructure — both from a hardware investment and from a software configuration standpoint — is invaluable. This may even require some tests by you on hardware configurations similar to your clients'. Imagine proactively calling a customer to inform them of the ramifications of upgrading to Windows 7 on their particular computer systems and proving your conclusions with your test data. They will have no choice but to view you as a concerned partner in their business, no matter which course of action you are suggesting.
You also should be prepared to field questions about the new features of Windows 7. Remember, via the Internet, your clients can get as much information as you regarding this new OS; you don't want them to be more informed than you. The best scenario would be to test Windows 7 yourself and then address each of the enhancements anecdotally (e.g. "The installation on my laptop took 15 minutes," "I really liked the new file management system because…," etc.). Perhaps you could even make suggestions as to how the new features could help your client. Of course, if they are using Vista and, like thousands of other users, are unhappy with it, simply assuring them that their nightmare is over could be all the help they want.