As a value-added reseller vying to stay relevant and competitive among an ever-growing sea of customer choice, it can be easy to fall victim to tunnel vision. Focusing on expanding your portfolio and gaining new customers is indeed vital to running a successful business but failing to give an equal amount of attention to your current clients’ overall satisfaction can completely negate your growth attempts.
One step forward and two steps back never got anyone very far.
Dissatisfied customers don’t always come out and tell you that they’re unhappy. Many times, if not most, they’ll simply opt to take their business elsewhere when they’ve reached their breaking point. That’s why top performing VARs embrace best-practices and proactively focus on ensuring that their customer satisfaction ratios exceed expectations.
The good news is, most of these tips are practices that you can implement quickly and affordably if there’s even any cost involved at all. Keep reading to find out 5 things you can do to improve your customer service and client satisfaction.
Put It in Writing… And Stick to It
There’s no two ways around it, whether you’re providing basic cloud management, disaster recovery, or any other value-added service, you have to provide your customers with a realistic Service Level Agreement (SLA). If and when they encounter issues, they need to know what they can expect.
And you must strive to meet that agreement each and every time.
Oftentimes, customers simply want to know that you are working on the issue and that they can depend on you to resolve it. If you promise that someone will respond within 30-minutes, you have to ensure that you have the manpower to provide that service around the clock. It can’t be “hit and miss” or subject to business hours. One of the quickest ways to negatively impact your customer satisfaction rates is by not sticking to your word.
Whenever an issue is reported you should respond with an acknowledgment as soon as possible just to let the client know you are working on the issue. While in many cases you may want to avoid giving time estimates, you can still provide updates via a quick email.
Lastly, be proactive and reach out when issues are detected. Don’t simply start working to resolve the issue or waiting for them to report the issue. Make a quick call or send a short note and let them know you are on top of it. Things are bound to go wrong; hiding and hoping clients don’t notice is the wrong way to handle things.
No Time For Hide & Seek
This one is short and simple — make sure your support number is easy to find! All too many value-added resellers fail to place contact info in prominent locations on their websites and contracts and that’s a surefire way to frustrate your clients.
When clients are experiencing issues, the last thing they want to encounter is having to spend valuable time just trying to find out how to reach you. Put your phone number on the site in multiple obvious places so it is easily found.
Even worse, if you pass your client off to another service provider in the chain then you’re just asking for trouble. Clients choose to work with you because you theoretically maintain strong relationships with the core service provider. Make sure you are easy to contact and provide help in finding a solution, not a redirect to someone else involved.
Stop, Look, & Listen
At least once per quarter you should proactively contact customers to see how things are going and ensure that you are meeting expectations. This type of best practice can be beneficial in that it can reveal areas in need of improvement, but the primary benefit is you can use this time to listen to your client.
This simple act will not only show that you care about your client’s satisfaction, it will also enable you to learn of new opportunities that may be coming up that can expand your relationship. This is also a good time to evaluate yourself — are you doing everything you can for this client?
If you’ve added partners or expanded your offerings this quarter, now is a good time to make a quick presentation. Adding services like disaster recovery or HIPAA compliance may be a solution they need but simply haven’t voiced because they aren’t aware it’s a service that you provide. Conversely, your customers may share with you areas of opportunity where you haven’t previously considered providing service.
This one may seem like a little outside of your “wheelhouse” so to speak, but it can work wonders with increasing customer satisfaction. These days, your clients are busy doing a multitude of daily tasks and many of them simply don’t have time to do their own marketing and you can step up and give them help in this area.
Offer to produce a case study or blog post featuring their business. A case study highlighting your partnership and their products and services or any sort of article featuring their business serves you both. You may be surprised at the impact a gesture as small as this can have on your customer satisfaction.
Strive to Connect
Don’t treat your clients as clients, work to get to know them and connect on a bit more personal level. Keep your CRM updated with names, notes and roles of people at the company.
This way, when anyone from the company calls in for an issue, they can be treated as a known “friend” and not just a voice on the other end of the line. While you don’t want to get “too” personal, being able to welcome someone back from vacation or congratulate them on a promotion can go a long, long way on maintaining customer satisfaction.
Robotic interactions, blasé replies, and uncaring attitudes have no place in today’s business climate. If you want happy customers that provide positive feedback and stick around, work to bridge more than just a basic professional relationship.
Increase Your Potential With One Call
Yes, even expanding your service offerings can increase customer satisfaction. When your clients are able to depend on you for multiple aspects of their business, truly depend, they’re naturally going to be more pleased.
Partnering with a leader such as Connectria enables you to provide cloud migration and hosting across all major platforms, HIPAA and other regulatory compliance requirements, IBM and Oracle support, disaster recovery, remote monitoring, and so much more.