Companies sell bundled services for a wide variety of reasons: the simplicity of a single product, lower sales and marketing costs, and bringing a consistent customer experience to the market. As business buyers consider whether they should purchase a business bundle or select a service à la carte, there’s one factor to consider: cost vs. value. According to the Harvard Business Review on a strictly budget basis, à la carte services may be less expensive – although that’s not always the case. Sometimes purchasing a bundle can help companies save money. In addition, bundling services can deliver significantly more value for the customer and have a positive impact on the bottom line in many unexpected ways.
Reducing complexity: Consider the sheer volume of technology services the average small business needs to run their operations today. These include high-speed Internet, phone services, access to productivity software like Microsoft® Office 365 and much more. Purchased individually, these services would require significant research, multiple bills each month, tracking contract renewal dates for reevaluation and logging in to multiple dashboards to handle administration. When a variety of different services are purchased in a bundle, the administration and details on the back end are greatly simplified. The savings in time and frustration – as well as hours spent by administrative, financial and technical staff – add up quickly.
Predictable expenses and cost savings: From a budget perspective, a fixed cost is generally always better for a business than a variable one. It’s easier to plan for, assess value and determine if it’s a fit with the company’s long-term financial capacity. Bundles offer the financial advantage of a predictable monthly expense which is useful when you’re thinking ahead to the resources you have available in the next year, as well as what you hope to spend. In addition, bundled services can help companies save money. Buying stand-alone services can add up over time, but buying services together can lead to discounts. Businesses benefit from both predictable spending and lower costs.
Access to additional services: Many small businesses don’t experiment with a wide range of technological tools simply because of budget concerns. If your financial operations are bare bones, you may choose just to invest in telephone and Internet services. However, a bundle typically includes an array of services that may be helpful to operations. If they’re part of what you’re already paying for, you’ll be more likely to use them. For example, an SMB bundle might include phone and Internet service. In addition, the package might also come with added services like Microsoft® Office 365, data backup, and web hosting. For more budget-conscious businesses, features like these are typically a non-starter because of cost. However, technology companies can provide big-business add-on services that are usually not easily accessible to small businesses. Selecting a bundle that comes with services you’re interested in trying can expand your technological horizons without adding to your bills.
Streamlined customer support: One of the advantages of bundled technology services is streamlined customer support. When something goes wrong and critical systems are down, you have one vendor to call. Instead of having to contact the Internet company, IT support and your VoIP provider when your phones are offline, a single phone call helps companies identify the problem and find a resolution. Systems get back online faster, and with a single vendor it’s possible to avoid wasting time as different vendors blame one another as the root cause of an outage, further delaying resolution.
Seamless integration: When you’re working with multiple technology systems, you may find not all vendors work well together. Making sure your technology suite is compatible can be a huge undertaking, and you might not find the answers until you’ve already implemented the solution. Getting integrated services together (such as Internet, phone, and cloud applications) will make sure your technologies are speaking the same language to each other.
Planning for the year ahead means taking a hard look at your budget. Considering whether a bundle is the right solution for you can be a smart way to both save and add more value. Even in instances where a bundle doesn’t save money over à la carte, the benefits of predictable expenses, less administrative complexity, access to a wider array of services and better customer service mean it’s a better investment over the long term.