The importance of taking ownership of customer service
Today, more than ever, customer service is the key to finding and retaining clients. As more businesses transition to using cloud-based technology solutions, it’s easier than ever to switch providers when a customer is unhappy. That means you need to ensure you’re providing service that’s great enough for them to keep you as their provider of choice.
But customer service isn’t only important when securing new clients. According to ConnectWise Chief Product Officer Craig Fulton, the sale doesn’t end when a customer signs a quote—that’s when it begins. Every month, you need to resell your customer and continue to keep earning their business. The first six to nine months after a customer signs a contract are the most important to creating a healthy relationship. This, unfortunately, is also when churn—the amount of customers who come and leave during a period of time—happens the most.
So what can you do to ensure you’re not only retaining the clients you already have, but also securing and retaining new clients? The answer lies in the level of service you provide to your customers. Not sure where to start? Here are some tips for providing great customer service.
The role techs play in customer satisfaction
If you aren’t sure where to start when it comes to evaluating your customer service, the answer often lies with your techs and the level of service they provide. You can have the most technically savvy technicians in your market, but if they aren’t properly trained in customer service, they may wind up causing more harm than good.
Alona Bolotnikova, Chief Perfectionist at Perfecting Service, works with MSPs to help them improve the level of service their techs provide to clients. She started her business after seeing an MSP owner’s frustration in not having tickets handled properly. She realized that by auditing tickets according to nine established criteria, she could measure the overall level of service being provided to clients.
With so much competition between MSPs, Bolotnikova says what sets the best apart is providing their clients with consistent, gold-star treatment no matter who answers the phone or email. Often, technicians may solve the technical problem, but maybe they didn't express any empathy, weren't polite, or used too much technical jargon that confused the client. With such high demand and low unemployment rates, there may not always be time to properly train technicians before they begin speaking to customers. Often after onboarding, no one is auditing the technicians’ customer service performance. If they are, it’s likely this person could be biased, both to the staff and internal processes.
The risks of poor customer service
"It seemed to take a while to have the issue addressed and by the time it was addressed, the issue corrected itself. I feel we needed a quicker response time as it affected my entire day, causing me to be delayed in my work."
When customer service isn't a priority, MSPs risk potentially losing clients and making it more difficult to obtain new ones. Clients aren’t always concerned with the super technical details that may set you apart from your competition. If the service you offer them isn’t great and your competition has a better reputation for taking care of their customers, your churn rate will be affected.
By not taking ownership of customer service, you could lose not only clients, but employees as well. No one wants to work at a company where they are getting yelled at every day, both by clients or coworkers.
The benefits of superior service
"Thank you for your timely solution to my problems each and every time."
Alternatively, happy and engaged employees will refer their friends to join your company and save you time and money recruiting new talent. Plus, more satisfied employees equal more productivity and more positive client experiences.
In addition, by improving customer service skills, MSPs can take what was usually a bad experience—having a tech come out on site to fix something that’s broken and potentially experiencing a less than ideal level of service—into a positive experience for everyone: the client, the business owner, and the bottom line.
How to improve customer service today
So what are tips for great customer service that you can implement quickly? Bolotnikova says the first place to start is by auditing tickets and providing consistent and constructive feedback. It isn’t enough to do something well once. You need to make sure your customers get a consistent positive experience regardless of which tech they work with, reinforce the things your techs are doing well, and constructively remind them of areas for improvement with new opportunities.
Next, learn what is going on behind the scenes before it becomes an issue and your clients start to complain. Survey your clients and get a reading on how satisfied they are. Hearing directly from your customers can help paint a picture that tickets alone may not be able to provide.
Finally—and most importantly—train your techs to manage client expectations and give confirmations. Bolotnikova says 95% of the problems she sees come from clients not being in the loop or receiving any confirmation before a ticket is closed. When a client asks for a status update, it means expectations weren't met. Clients like to be contacted, so don’t forget: When in doubt, reach out!
With so many options available and competition continuing to increase, ensure your techs are following these best practices to provide a level of service that will keep your customers happy for years to come.