How to retain clients’ business in the long run
Clients are savvier than ever when it comes to technology and their businesses, so it’s no longer enough for MSPs and VARs to offer the most in-demand services and leave it at that. If solution providers really want to retain clients, they must create a partnership that establishes them as a trusted technology advisor, and an integral part of the client’s business.
This may be easier said than done, but nonetheless there is some straightforward advice that technology solution providers can apply, whatever their service offering may be, to ensure that clients stay with them for the long run.
Create service delivery standards
Every interaction with a customer, whether it’s in person or remotely via automation tools, affects customer service levels. It’s important to create standards for those interactions so your customers always know what to expect from you.
One way to do this is by building a knowledge base of standard solutions to common problems. This way, any technician servicing any customer can quickly find the documentation outlining a particular fix and implement it.
It is also worth taking the time to educate customers on your service delivery standards and processes to set reasonable expectations from the start. Service level agreements (SLAs) help keep your customers and team on the same page, and if customers know what to expect from you, they’re less likely to have inflated expectations that you later have to dispel.
Implement a record-keeping process
Over the lifetime of a contract, your client could have interactions with several members of your team, which may result in a different experience every time. One way of ensuring they have consistently exceptional service is detailed documentation.
Having a unified process for documenting client conversations, issues and configurations – usually in a CRM system – can be the difference between an acceptable and an exceptional customer experience. If a client calls about a recurring issue, and your team member is able to see straight away what the previous problems have been, it reassures the customer that the technician knows their situation, even if it’s the first time this particular employee has spoken to them.
Stay in front of your clients
While automation tools are great for being efficient, they can result in long periods of time where you don’t touch base with your clients. But this is a service business, and client retention is heavily influenced by human interaction.
There are a number of simple and effective ways of reaching out to clients, from service anniversaries to sharing helpful technical tips and following up after problems are solved to ensure there are no residual issues.
Not hearing from a client doesn’t necessarily mean that everything is fine. While many people will feel no need to contact the company if they’re satisfied, others will quietly grumble about flaws in service or products, and will seek alternatives without even voicing their complaints so the situation can be remedied.
Offer two-way communication
Quarterly business reviews are one way to proactively stay in front of your customers on a regular basis. These can be used to discuss reporting, show the number of issues that have been fixed and demonstrate the value of your services, and can also solidify contract renewals long before it’s time to re-sign.
Finally, customer satisfaction surveys can be a valuable way of retaining clients. A big part of your job is resolving issues quickly for clients when problems arise, and dissatisfaction with the process or resolution of these issues can play a large role in customers’ overall opinion of your services.
Building customer satisfaction surveys into your service delivery can give customers an opportunity to voice concerns as well as pro.