5 Tips to Build Lasting Enterprise Customer Relationships

The relationship a managed service provider has with its clients is paramount to its growth and eventual success. Several customers have ceased doing all business with a company after experiencing bad customer service; and once customer relationships are broken, it is nearly impossible to repair. It today’s world, offering impeccable service is just the first step. You have to be able to provide something extra, additional value like personalized service and additional support when required. Offering value that supersedes base product functions and features will not only set you apart from other companies in the MSP market, but also allow you to exceed client expectations. The ancillary value becomes apparent when the MSP’s resources are effectively aligned with managing the customer experience.

According to business consulting firm Customer Centricity, the secret to establishing a healthy relationship with enterprise clients hinges on four organizational groups.

  • An account manager or sales representative – who works hand in hand with the enterprise client to ensure all IT needs, unique or otherwise are promptly being met in a satisfactory manner.
  • Customer support technician – To serve as the point of contact when responding to client’s IT issues.
  • Business manager or decision maker – Whose main focus is controlling the budget and reducing the client’s IT costs.
  • Technical contact or end user – who reaches out to the MSP for technical assistance on behalf of the MSP.

Once these organizational groups have been properly established, the tips below can be used to strengthen customer relationships with enterprise clients.

Be accessible

Most managed service providers are unable to deliver on the promise of 24/7 service. Veteran MSP’s come to realize that round the clock support for their clients is a necessity, since downtime negatively impacts client satisfaction as well as the enterprise relationship. As the demand for 24/7 support in the enterprise rises, MSP who are not capable of meeting this demand are at a disadvantage. Despite not being the most agreeable part of the job, there are ways to make round the clock servicing an organized and profitable endeavor. The first step to round the clock availability is being responsive to your clients and ensuring incidents are promptly resolved.

Using texts and e-mail are ideally not the best way to go about it. Texts are typically subject to the availability of solid network coverage, while emails may end up in Spam, buried under other emails. A better solution is to use smart alert systems. The alert needs to be persistent and should only stop when the recipient acknowledges the alert. Additionally, MSP teams have to work closely together to establish a schedule that equally distributes the workload. After an alert has been responded to and re-mediated, it is important to take re-visit the situation and ensure the alert was appropriately responded to.

Establish value, then maintain it

Customer loyalty should never be taken for granted.

“[loyalty is] when people are willing to turn down a better product or price to continue doing business with you”

 – Simon Sinek

Customer interactions are typically handled as one-off instances. However, if you wish to succeed as an MSP, it’s important to understand the customer experience as a journey with a string of interactions geared towards building loyalty. In order to solidify customer loyalty, an MSP has to charm clients via a series of interactions, both small and large, the eventually lead to a greater overall experience that represents your brand. It all boils down to how you make your clients feel. The only way to gain loyalty is to make an impression on your clients.

Every client is different

As a service provider, you have to constantly think of innovative ways to strengthen your relationship and trust with client’s. One sure way of fostering customer relationships is by ensuring you are consistently having conversations with individual clients about their IT issues and experiences with the service you provide. Historical snapshots of customer experiences are essentially irrelevant. The key to understanding the individual needs of a client lies in collecting real-time feedback, which are then immediately acted upon. Predictive analytics can be employed to anticipate client needs.

Clear, accurate and understandable charges

Pricing remains an interesting and highly debated topic among managed service providers. Due to the radical shift away from break/repair IT services, pricing models have increased in complexity in recent years. MSPs have to affix some level of creativity and flexibility to their pricing model in order to make sure clients understand exactly what their signing up for without having to spend hours on the phone with a sales rep. There is no one-fits-all pricing model or formula that would work for every MSP everywhere. It is up to you to constantly evaluate their pricing and ensure you are on top of industry standards, customer needs, and shifting costs. The pricing model should also make it easy to pay for service upgrades. For more information on pricing models, click here.

Have the right people at each organizational group

A company is only as good as the people who form it. For service providers, the people providing the service are more important that the solution set you provide your clients. Ensure each organizational group is adequately represented with people who want to make it easy for clients to resolve their issues, and personalize the conversations to form a lasting impression and build rapport. Your culture should be a reflection of your commitment to your clients before you can establish a lasting relationship and build a loyal support base.

Author: Gabriel Lando
Image courtesy of pakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net