FixITlocal is axing two-thirds of its 600 active members to guarantee its most committed resellers receive more call-outs.
The scheme, which routes stricken end users to VARs in their local area, has been dogged by complaints over low call volumes since it was launched in November 2007.
But FixITlocal founder John Carter vowed the level of business generated for members would rise in 2009 as he moves to sort the wheat from the chaff.
“We have had a rethink because we want to deliver a lot more calls to members,” Carter said. “If we had 200 good-quality resellers, it would give us coverage of the country.”
Carter said the clearout would also improve quality assurance because some members had been unable to deal with call-outs effectively.
He also claimed the overall volume of calls was rising. In the first half of January, FixITlocal generated 133 calls for its members, compared with 93 for the whole of December.
“We are ploughing £3,000 a month into search engine optimisation,” Carter
Of the five FixITlocal members contacted by CRN, four were unhappy with call volumes, with two threatening to leave the network.
Rob Lee, operations director of Surbiton-based Office Network Systems, said: “It is a brilliant concept, but someone needs to go back to the drawing board to make it work. We have had two leads in a year and I suspect we will give up on it.”
Steve Cody, director of London-based Base Computer Services, felt there was a gap in the market for independent resellers to offer a faster service than national competitors such as TechGuys.
However, he added: “The idea of the programme is good, but in reality the calls we get from it are few and far between.”
Carter said VARs are often unaware that calls had been routed through FixITlocal. He maintained that the scheme, which also offers members product discounts and cut-price membership for the PCA, was about more than just call volumes.
Andrew Stallard, managing director of FixITlocal member KTAK, agreed: “Most members expect the phone to ring off the hook and do not do anything proactive. We have won some excellent contracts as a result of it.”
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