MSPmentor Blog

Customer Service as a Marketing Tool

Providing a high level of satisfaction to your existing customers cannot only help to retain these customers but can also be one of the most valuable marketing tools available to your business.

IT people aren’t always known for their customer service skills. In some cases this is sadly something of an understatement.

The world is becoming a far more tech-savvy place, and technology is far “cooler” than it once was, but IT still has a difficult image to shake off: an image of basement comms rooms, Star Trek T-shirts and conversations involving unintelligible jargon.

Your MSP business probably does its best to present the more modern face of the IT world. There are certainly now plenty of MSP websites that make one think of iPhone apps and friendly technology, rather than bulky PCs and poorly lit server rooms. But if you really want to show your clients that you are part of the new, approachable world of IT, the thing you must get right hasn’t changed at all. The thing you must get right is customer service.

Creating “sticky” customers was a topic discussed at great length during the GFI MAX customer conference tour and in particular Colin Blumenthal of Complete IT highlights the need for great customer service in his session on How to Turn Engaged Customers into Really Sticky Ones.

Although it may not seem immediately obvious; providing a high level of satisfaction to your existing customers cannot only help to retain these customers but can also be one of the most valuable marketing tools available to your business.

Happy customers tell other people about their experiences: If, for example, a happy client visits an industry conference and a contact complains about their own IT provider, your client will probably mention that they’re actually very happy with theirs. Then, their contact will probably ask for your details. That client then becomes the kind of warm lead that advertising alone simply cannot source.

This reason alone is reason enough to make customer service a constant focus for you and your team. Here are five essential rules to follow if you wish to provide great customer service:

  1. Follow up on all work
    Never allow anyone on your team to assume an issue is fixed without checking with the customer. One thing guaranteed to infuriate a user is the need to constantly request that the same problem is looked at.
  2. Remember the golden rule…
    The customer is always right – even when they’re wrong, and even when it pains you not to argue with them.
  3. Remember plain English
    Always make allowances for the fact that customers are rarely as technical as you and your staff. If you need to explain a complicated concept, spend time thinking about how to make it clear, using analogies if necessary. The ability to explain technology in plain English is a skill that is much revered by company owners.
  4. Respond to everything
    With mobile email, voicemail systems on every phone and numerous ways to stay in contact, there’s absolutely no excuse not to respond to every client communication in a timely fashion. If communications get missed there is something wrong with your internal processes – and they need fixing.
  5. Be proactive
    Try to be a constant presence in your client’s business, and a strategic partner rather than a reactive support provider. Work for the business, not for the IT department.

If you can manage to live by these five rules, you will provide excellent customer service by default – and you should find referrals arriving at your door with no effort at all.

GFI MAX offers free marketing materials, sales tips and advice to all MAX customers with our Building Blocks to Managed Services program, designed specifically to help you sell your services. To learn how you can grow revenues, scale your business and of course offer a great service to your customers just sign up for a free trial and ask your account manager about ‘Building Blocks’ to find out more!

 

Discuss this Blog Entry 4

Ross Beard (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

Great points there. I'd like to add that it's important to measure customer service. IT Companies should survey their customers to find out how happy or unhappy they are. This will help companies track whether new customer service initiatives are having a positive or negative impact on their customers' satisfaction levels.

Ross Beard
Client Heartbeat

on Oct 23, 2013

Hey Ross,

Thanks for your thoughts, and thanks for reading.

-Jessica

Dan1953 (not verified)
on Oct 23, 2013

Excellent points. Customer service is a marketing tool, and can help define your brand as well. Here is another, excellent take on that..http://goo.gl/404JOd

Tony Kelly (not verified)
on Oct 23, 2013

Isn't this really just true of all companies? You can forgive technology vendors (for some time) as long as you feel like they care/have empathy/are trying to solve your problems. As soon as you 'disconnect' from that relationship - you will lose the client. Seems simple, but in reality it can be that simple.

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