Customer experience is more than a buzzword. It can be a useful tool for optimizing every aspect of the journey your clients take from before they become aware of the provider until they churn. This is important because if we optimize the client’s experience, we can maximize their satisfaction and our profit. It also extends the life of the client, therefore creating higher lifetime value. So how do we apply this specifically to service delivery?
First, we must align the service offerings to the ideal client profile (ICP). By creating service offerings that precisely meet the needs of our ideal client, we create an experience tailored to solving their problems. To do this we need to create personas around our ICP. Personas are detailed representations of the different decision makers and users that exist within our ideal client. By understanding their individual needs and concerns, we can build a collection of services that fills those needs and exceeds expectations.
Customer Experience (CX): MSP Customer Onboarding Tips
The next portion specific to service delivery is onboarding. Onboarding is critical because it is the first true experience with your services that the client will encounter. It is also important because it sets expectations for the continued service and support you will deliver in the future. The tricky part here is that if you “over deliver” here, you can set yourself up for failure if your continued service is not up to par with the original onboarding. The basic framework of onboarding should contain:
- The Plan – Make sure your onboarding plan (or plans for multiple service offerings) is consistent otherwise it cannot meet expectations consistently.
- Communicate the Plan – This is where you set expectations with the client. When will it start, how long will it take, and what disruptions in workflow is it going to cause? These are the fundamental things they care about.
- Execute the Plan – Stay to the plan and to what you communicated as closely as possible. Communicate regularly even if it is going to plan. Daily works best unless there is an unexpected disruption which should be communicated immediately.
How to Maintain CX And Futureproof Customer Success
The most focus should be given to your ongoing service delivery simply because this is the piece, if done right, will insure a long-term relationship with the client. One of the reasons is this part of the journey is important is because it is where they will spend the majority of their experience with you and because this is the easiest place to get lazy.
I think that you can divide this into two equally important pieces, maintaining expectations and futureproofing.
- Maintaining expectations is where you build and constantly improve your processes. A lot of this will revolve around your PSA and RMM tools as they are the primary systems you use to receive input and produce output for these processes. In my opinion, you should define your processes and then pick your PSA and RMM. The last thing you want is to be forced into doing a process in a way that contradicts how you want to deliver the service because of a tool.
- Futureproofing, yes it is a real word according to Word, is really what I think falls into customer success. Your clients are changing, their industries are changing, our industry is changing. If we don’t evolve to meet those changes our service delivery will fall behind. I believe the best way to keep up with this is having a good customer success motion. Many believe that customer success is just a retention play to be executed when something goes wrong, or we get a complaint/angry survey response. I believe that customer success, done proactively, prevents retention issues from occurring in the first place.
Customer Success: Two Tools for MSPs
Here are the two tools every MSP needs to use, as a minimum, to create a proactive CS motion.
- QBRs – Quality Business Reviews (because quarterly is not always the right interval) are essential to this. If you are not meeting with your clients, outside of the scope of routine work, you need to be. It is the only way you will find out what is changing for them and give you the opportunity to share what is changing in technology that will affect them. Once all that sharing takes place, you can decide on a plan and set expectations on how to execute the plan to meet those changes.
- Using NPS or CSAT on every ticket AND periodically, is critical to early detection of problems. With every ticket is a great time to do it because it will measure their satisfaction with that individual interaction. Periodically is vital for two reasons, it captures a bigger picture response to the relationship rather than a specific engagement. It also fills the gap when there are no tickets to get responses from.
One of the worst things I have ever seen happen in an MSP – Client relationship is when the MSP was doing a good job so there were little to no tickets. However, over the course of 2-3 years the needs of the client changed to the point that there was a large gap between what the MSP was delivering and what the client needed. Periodic business reviews and taking their temperature with NPS or CSAT surveys will keep the gap between your offering and their needs to a minimum.
Bottom Line: Align Your Business Model With Customer Needs
Customer experience can drive success in your business. What I think is important about applying a framework of customer experience is that rather than just some advice being passed off as a one-size-fits-all solution, CX can be used to build a business around your requirements rather than having to conform to someone else’s idea of success. One of the unique things about this industry is the diversity of why and how IT service providers run their businesses the way they do. Using a CX framework allows you to build a business model based on your requirements and the needs of your ideal client.