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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreement (SLA)

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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLAs are the foundation of your MSP business. They are essential to building strong client relationships and must be clear, reasonable and well-constructed.

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Don't Treat Your Clients Like Black Friday Shoppers: Offer Superior Customer Satisfaction

Posted December 3, 2014by Ben Barker

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Black Friday is a day of savings. It's a day of fast-paced, high-intensity super shopping and, if you play it right, it's a day that you can look back on with a smile. However, for far too many, Black Friday is a day of bumps, bruises and bad encounters. When asking even the best Black Friday shopper to explain the experience, "positive customer satisfaction" is probably a rare response. 

A negative customer experience is fine for a single day of shopping each year, but when a company consistently provides a negative customer experience, it becomes detrimental to the business.

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While sitting in on an HTG Peer Group meeting at HTG 2014 in Orlando, the topic of customer satisfaction was brought up. There were some different strategies discussed, but each member of the group agreed that customer satisfaction was a crucial determinant of business growth. 

Like department stores on Black Friday, it can be hard for MSPs to keep clients happy, especially when growing and expanding. Everyone wants to feel like their issues are important and like they are a valued customer. Think about your own experiences. How would you feel if you walked into a store, looking to buy a new laptop and were ignored? You're looking for help, you want to buy the product, but you just can't find anyone to assist you. You probably get pretty frustrated, leave the store, and spend your money elsewhere.

Well, the same can happen with your clients. 


How to Increase Customer Satisfaction

There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution to increasing customer satisfaction, but there are a few methods that are sure to get you headed in the right direction. It's important to put yourself in the shoes of your clients. Try to see your business relationship from their perspective. Would you be a happy client?


Increase Your Face Time


One of the biggest issues that MSPs can face is not being able to spend enough time with their clients. In order to keep your clients happy, it's important to schedule regular meetings with a technician. This can be difficult to accomplish if your techs are finding themselves buried in work. It's important to keep your technicians focused on the tasks that will help to grow your MSP business. If you find that your technicians are too busy remediating tickets to make visits with clients, it might be time to consider smart-sourcing some of your IT tasks. 

By smart-sourcing some of the lower-level tasks, you're allowing your technicians to focus on the big picture and ensuring that your important clients feel as though their issues are important. A client will never complain about too much attention being paid to their issues. 


Evaluate Your Wait Time


There's nothing worse than being put on hold. Listening to a robot tell you that "your call is important" just doesn't do the trick when it comes to keeping clients happy. Whether you are maintaining an in-house help desk, or you're taking advantage of a third-party solution, you need to evaluate how long it takes for someone to answer the phone when a client calls. 

Again, this can be a difficult problem to address. IT issues are erratic. Although you may only have a handful of clients calling your help desk on Monday, if something goes wrong, you could have a log jam by Tuesday afternoon. It's difficult to effectively staff a support desk because you just can't know what the demand will be on any given day. Of course, you could just over-staff your desk so that you're always ready for a large wave of calls. But then, when it's not busy, you're just paying technicians to sit around. Not a very cost effective solution, is it?

A smart-sourced help desk can be a good solution, but it's still important that you do your homework. What is the average wait time for clients? What does the abandonment rate look like? What is the first contact resolution? It's important to ask all of these questions when evaluating your help desk solution.


Listen to your Clients


Even if you feel as though you're doing a stellar job of providing a positive customer experience, you can always do more. One way to make your clients feel valued is by asking them for their opinions. Of course, it's not practical to cold call each of your clients and ask them for feedback. One way to get honest information is to offer a client survey. You can send the survey to all of your clients via email and assure them that the results will be anonymous. 

Once you have the results, you can analyze what your clients are telling you. If you see a trend of dissatisfaction in a certain area, you'll know that you need to address it. You can try to guess what will make your clients happy as much as you want, but there are few methods more effective than asking them directly.

At the end of the day, every MSP wants to increase its revenue. To start achieving this goal, you'll want to increase your number of clients. Still, as you increase your clientele, client churn can become an issue. Whether you have 50 clients or 50,000 clients, customer satisfaction needs to be at the forefront of your priorities. 

Don't treat your clients like Black Friday shoppers. Give them the attention that they deserve and let them be heard.

Want to learn more about building a successful help desk? Check out our eBook!

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Ben is a member of Continuum's marketing team. He specializes in blog content as well as video production. Ben is a graduate of Emerson College and a huge Boston sports fan.

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