7 ways how managed service providers can enhance customer experience
As many of you know, customer service is the new battleground for managed service providers (MSPs). It drives both your client retention and referral generation. Like everything else we do, having systems built around customers will make it work with repeatable, measured success.
Illustration: Karthikeyan Ganesh
Putting your customers at the center of your business
In everything we do at CTAG®, we first ask ourselves what aspect of a given process would make it more customer-centric. Often, that’s some variation of setting expectations upfront and increasing the comfort level on a given item. We consider our approach on a specific area effective if a typical new client experiencing that particular exchange turns into a raving fan. If they are not that happy, we didn’t get it right.
Personalizing customer support
We’ve tweaked our processes over and over throughout the years to ensure phenomenal customer success. For example, we have implemented call routing and a backup LIVE call center to ensure our phones are answered live, by a human being in an average of 18 seconds. The only exception is when a client calls in for a particular person, and that person is on the phone. Only then do they get voicemail (and that in itself was a much-requested tweak, as clients sometimes only want to deal with a specific person, like they were calling them back).
Follow up with customers to know how good (or bad) the experience was
We also call every client after a specific period of time has elapsed after a given service call. It creates a friendly touch, allows us to catch concerns that may otherwise go unmentioned, and also creates an opportunity to ask for referrals and reviews. Building in a client touch during key interactions always makes for a better customer service experience.
Show that you care
We also like to ask clients on a quarterly basis how they feel we are doing servicing their accounts, and what we could do better. I cannot tell you how many times I got actionable feedback that I would have never guessed nor would have anticipated had we not asked. Some of our core policies and even our pricing has been directly influenced by this kind of feedback. And quite honestly most clients like that we ask, as it helps to reinforce that we actually care!
Hire a good customer service team
Of course, our people make a huge difference too. As you know, hiring someone with fantastic nerd skills that can also speak plain English (not just nerd) is rare. We’ve implemented several items in our hiring process to try and get nerds that can actually relate to end-users. For example, we all have “Nerd” in all of our titles. Nerd, Super Nerd, Super Duper Nerd, Office Manager Nerd, and even Legal & Operations Nerd. Heck, even I am the Chief Nerd.
Bring onboard people who have a well-balanced personality
In addition to the branding and humor, I feel like a job candidate working here would have to embrace the fact that they are a nerd. That humility and sense of humor often indicate a well-balanced personality. We also inject some humor in the interview process by asking questions designed to determine the candidate’s ability to think on their feet and to gauge their sense of humor. “What is your spirit animal, and why?” and “How many tennis balls can you fit into a limousine?” are some examples of how we evaluate the candidates. It’s also helpful in determining if the candidate thinks quickly on their feet. That skill also plays a critical role in ensuring a fantastic customer experience.
Add some humor
So often in IT, the end-user isn’t calling in because they have a minor request that can be addressed eventually. Instead, it’s often an emergency and through no fault of our own, they are upset. Often, a professional dose of humor does a great job of reinforcing that great customer experience, in a moment of high tension. And quite frankly; it’s better for us too. If you cannot laugh at some aspect of a scenario here and there, the alternative is to jump out a window. Hey, it’s self-preservation too!
In conclusion, simply putting yourself in the client’s shoes goes a long way. Think about things from their perspective, and make sure your processes complement the experience they are really after. Ask them as often as you can for real feedback. It’s often more insightful than you’d expect. If you’d like, feel free to drop me an email and we can chat more about designing the best in customer service. I love helping other IT companies, and they often help us too! Keep it nerdy out there friends!