Three ways to transform the customer experience and build a loyal client base
Building a successful managed services business is more challenging than ever before. Faced with market commoditization, increased competition, shrinking margins, and an ever-evolving threat landscape, progressive managed service providers (MSPs) are working hard to differentiate their services and business. Yet the reality is, customer service will set you apart from the pack.
Prioritizing the customer experience — actually committing to a customer-centric operation — will drive repeat business, recurring revenues, and most importantly, satisfied clients who will be more than happy to tell others about their experience working with you.
In fact, Walker — a well-established experience management (XM) services firm — revealed that by the end of this year, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
Creating a fan base
Turning customers into great raving fans doesn’t always happen overnight, but with a few tips in mind and a continued focus on putting the customer at the heart of everything you do, you can start to build a loyal, enthusiastic fan base.
You may already have a core group of customers that have been with you from the start — businesses that continually upgrade to new services, seek your advice, and have referred new clients to you. These are emerging fans and you should pay special attention to them — but at the same time, a customer-centric focus goes beyond simply catering to the fans.
These three tips below will set you on the right course to building an exceptional client base.
Take the time to know your clients
Transforming the customer experience begins with really knowing the clients you serve — taking the time to understand the nuances of their business, their ongoing challenges, service preferences, and more.
It will not only help you tailor services, but also creates a stronger connection that builds trust. It’s simple, if your customers like you and trust you, they are going to continue to work with you for years to come — and talk about your services to others. And that is the client fan base you want — customers that are actively sharing their experiences working with you and referring new business your way.
Start making connections by showing genuine interest and have the conversations that matter. Do you know why they started their business or joined the company? What problems and challenges are they trying to solve? Why are they using your services? Who are they buying the services for? How long have you worked with them and have you noticed any changes in their approach to their business or your services? What days are best to connect with them? What do they like doing outside the office? What is really important to them?
The answers to these questions will help you build the relationships that create trust and grow your fan base. The key is making time, between IT and security emergencies and above all else, to do it — but you should absolutely understand your customers better than your competition. And use that knowledge to personalize their experience working with you.
Offer real value: provide solutions, not services
Knowing your customer’s pain points and challenges enables you to better anticipate their needs and start delivering real value. Providing value will set you apart. For example, when you consider your interactions with customers, are you just selling services or are you being strategic and actively putting longer-term solutions in place to solve real problems?
Bob Psenka, owner of Northwest Technology Services, learned this lesson years ago selling antivirus service to small and mid-size businesses (SMBs). Today, his managed services business model has not only helped him stay well ahead of customer needs and provide better solutions to problems, but it has also driven amazing customer retention and created true fans.
Explains Bob, “In the early days, businesses would bring their computers in and we saw all kinds of viruses that their existing antivirus wasn’t catching. We started installing a better antivirus service, but we still lacked a way to continue our connection to the customer. And worse, customers would receive upgrade notices from the antivirus provider and renew without our support. We needed a better way to build a relationship with our customers and gain full visibility across their IT network and business needs.”
Soon after, Bob added Avast Business CloudCare to his services portfolio and gained a central platform to view network status and continually track emerging needs. He gained much better control over renewals, and more importantly, the visibility gave him a way to engage with his customers regularly, ask about their business, and suggest solutions. It has paid off in 90+% customer retention, creation of new solution packages, and yes, a raving fan base.
Is your MSP business customer-centric? Are you constantly thinking about the customer in everything you do? Research by Deloitte found that customer-centric companies were 60% more profitable compared to companies not focused on the customer. And providing that extra value will create memorable experiences that your customers talk about.
Provide sales and marketing training for your team
Your employees are your customer ambassadors. They are on the front lines each day and have opportunities to add value and create memorable experiences. Regular training courses will ensure your team has the confidence, new skills, and knowledge to elevate their customer interactions.
Sales and marketing training can motivate, empower, and build better brand ambassadors. It’s the same level of trust that you are building with customers — by going the extra mile with customers, they see the care and respect you have for their business and they share that excitement by talking about your business and providing referrals. By investing in training opportunities for your team, you are also showing your commitment and that inspires employees to become trusted advisors to your clients, adding value to every customer interaction.
Start creating fans with our special offer
Ready to get started building your customer fan base? You can start with FREE and effective sales training from Avast Business. For a limited time, we are providing B2B sales training modules (a $700 value per user) — at no cost — to help your team develop new sales skills and strategies, improve close rates, and drive revenue — and most importantly, elevate the customer experience. Specifically designed for MSPs and MSSPs, your team will benefit from the actionable insights, specific sales examples, and smart ways to build a higher-revenue business.
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