By Craig Fulton, Advisor, Evergreen Services Group
In my time working with thousands of MSPs, I started to notice that a few things go hand-in-hand with successful businesses:
- they have great talent,
- they deliver great services and
- they differentiate themselves from the competition with an amazing experience.
What’s So Important About Experience?
Let's dive into the topic of experience. Many IT service businesses focus it all on technology. This focus is to keep it up and running so the customer can compete, grow, and accomplish their goals. But what experience does that come with? Are you connecting it to an outcome the customer wants? Do they come back because of attitudinal loyalty or behavioralloyalty? Meaning, is it convenient or do they love it?
The world has been trained to expect a great experience when it comes to technology. Amazon, Apple, and Netflix, just to name a few, have shown consumers that working with tech companies can be extraordinary. They want the same in their business and careers, not just their personal lives. Best-in-class MSPs are not only focused on financial performance, but they also place an emphasis on delivering an experience their customers can’t live without.
The Customer Journey
How do you start? Take a look at the customer journey you deliver. This is more than how your techs provide support. The journey starts in marketing. Are they aware of the solutions you can provide to their problems? What is that experience like? Is it a lunch and learn? Is it an email campaign?
That’s just the start of the journey. It continues to sales, procurement, delivery, support, and billing. You must measure this every step of the way. Start by mapping out the journey you provide and find areas of improvement.
Don’t try to do this all at once! Pick one area, focus on that, and measure the results. Then keep going through each stage. Design a journey that creates a memorable experience that builds attitudinal loyalty. And don’t forget, it must go through all the way to the bill. Is it easy for them to read, pay, and see the value you deliver?
Throughout the entire journey, it's also important to consider your brand. Think about what image and quality you want your brand to convey. You want your brand to represent your unique experience that draws in customers, tells them what they can expect working with you, and can be a direct sales engine for business growth.
Focus on Outcomes
Next, are you tying your services and experience to outcomes they desire? They know what technology can do, but are you showing them how it supports their goals?
Companies come to you so they can leverage technology to compete, grow, and be resilient to change. A great outcome experience is more than reports of data usage, help desk tickets, and threats blocked. It’s about showing them how it directly supports their business. For example, a construction client would want to know that the technology and your services helped them complete a project on time, ahead of schedule, and under budget.
Sometimes accomplishing this means just a simple shift in how you communicate and how you show up.
How will you do this?
Leverage the systems you have running your business. It doesn’t have to be additional headcount. Consider these things:
· Improve the integrations in your systems to improve automation so that your teams can focus on what’s important in the experience.
· Place an emphasis on your brand during the experience so that it becomes associated with quality and builds positive memories.
· Focus on the people in your teams. Happy and engaged people just so happen to provide great service. Inspire your teams to do great things, communicate the value they deliver every day to your business and your customers, and don’t forget to recognize and reward outstanding behavior.
Get started today. Map out your customer journey and then map out what you want it to be. Think about a company you interacted with recently and pieces you can take away and incorporate into your business. Look around YouTube at the videos discussing the outcome-based approach to service. There are great resources out there to be borrowed from product management teachings. It all comes down to how you best leverage the people, processes, and tools in order to create a customer experience that sets you apart from the rest!