Almost everybody knows that it’s 10 times more expensive to win a new customer than it is to keep an existing customer. The only exception that comes to mind is Michael Scott from The Office who was stumped by that question.
Executives at most integration firms certainly realize the importance of maintaining good customer relationship management, but often have gaping holes in their execution. The risk in not expertly navigating a post-installation relationship with customers is falling into the “out of sight, out of mind” category when it comes time for that customer to revisit its systems solutions strategies.
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO AS-A-SERVICE
Tips, advice, and long-term solutions on how to transition your business to an as-a-service model, and why it’s beneficial to do so.
Part 1: Why Change Your Business Model?—analysis by CI editor Tom LeBlanc
Part 2: How to Plan for the Big Transition—analysis by CI editor-at-large Craig MacCormack
Part 3: Managing Cash Flow—analysis by CI web editor Chelsea Cafiero
Part 4: Adapting Your Sales Strategy—analysis by CI senior web editor Jessica Camerato
Part 5: Transitioning Your Existing Clients—analysis by CE Pro editor Jason Knott
Part 6: Business Process Automation—analysis by TechDecisions managing editor Jonathan Blackwood
Part 7: How to Retain Clients—analysis by CI editor Tom LeBlanc
Check back for analysis of each section of the Ultimate Guide to As-a-Service to be released on CommercialIntegrator.com.
Don’t Let Automation Replace Interaction – ConnectWise is big on encouraging service providers to automate standard tasks as much as possible, but emphasizes that it’s also important to create standards for face-to-face interactions since automation makes those fewer and further between. Integration firms, of course, are appropriately very focused on remote serviceable solutions for their clients that can be maintained without rolling trucks and facilitate service contracts. However, they should also schedule personal visits with customers.
Keep Better Records of Interactions – Over the life of a service contract or even non-contract post-installation customer relationship, integrators should implement record keeping processes to keep track of customer-integrator interactions. Most firms will have more than one point person for the client. Better records will make it easier to track who talked to who, how often, areas of concern, services rendered. Customers appreciate it when you demonstrate that their time spend talking is turned into valuable information that you used to help manage the project.
No News Isn’t Always Good News – Integration firms tend to think that because a customer hasn’t reached out with a complaint, things must be good. That’s not always the case. In fact, while some customers are quick to raise issues, some might be muttering about them behind your back. It’s important to touch base and ask questions about what’s not working and what may be unsatisfactory. Meanwhile, even if the system is running smoothly customer that don’t hear from their integrators might start wondering how much they needed them in the first place.
Conduct Surveys – If you want to know what your firm is doing right and what your firm can do better, why not ask? It’s critical to note any patterns of dissatisfaction and address them quickly. Building customer satisfaction surveys into a service delivery process might be a good process to execute.