Do You Manage All Your Client Touches?
I used the graphic above when teaching my recent course on Customer Service (see ITSPU.com
). I wanted to illustrate that "customer service" is much more than the last-resort troubleshooting people often think of.
Customer service is very much tied into your marketing and service delivery. They all start by defining your ideal client. That allows you to define the appropriate "excellent" service for your clients. As a result, the service you deliver might not be perfect for all companies, but is IS perfect for your ideal client.
Once you know your ideal client, and the service you will deliver, you can market in such a way that you will attract your ideal client. They will be attracted to you because your messaging - and everything else you do - is designed specifically for them.
Finally, after you've designed everything from start to finish with you ideal client in mind, it's time to implement processes and tools to turn all those promises and best intentions into action. As you do so, please remember:
A client's company will often have multiple interactions with your company at the same time. Nothing exists in a vacuum.
For example, it's the first of the month. So some credit cards that were run on Friday are just now being funded. Some of the money is leaving client bank accounts today. Some of your monthly invoices are arriving in (e)mail boxes today.
At the same time, your automated systems are monitoring client machines. This probably includes RMM, but may also include traffic monitoring, device tracking, and physical security.
Your technicians may be working tickets for the client right now. Your marketing campaign may be hitting the client's inbox today. Your sales team may be working up a quote for a future project.
And all of that takes place in the larger context of ongoing roadmap meetings and contract renewals. Even a small client engagement can have many concurrent interactions. Take that times fifty clients and pretty soon it gets complicated.
Why worry about it?
Consider one of the most important examples of why you care: The Roadmap Meeting. If you are going into a client roadmap meeting (or business review), you want to keep the focus on the client and their technology. Does the client have the right technology to maximize their success going forward? Are they changes coming to their industry? And so forth.
You do not want to go into that meeting and get hijacked by an ongoing issue that your company has failed to solve for more than a month. You don't want to be hijacked over a billing dispute you didn't know about.
Take your pre-roadmap prep checklist and think about it on a larger scale. Everything related to everything else. You front office shouldn't be surprised by a technical snafu. Your technicians shouldn't be dragged into a billing dispute.
All client interactions should be documented in your PSA or CRM. All of your staff should communicate with each other about things that are going on with clients. This includes things going particularly well, problems, and everything in the middle.
There are only three moving parts here. First, you need to have a PSA or CRM, or something similar. Second, you need to put data into the PSA. Third, you need everyone to get in the habit of checking the PSA before making a client contact. It can be super quick.
The goal is to simply acknowledge that your relationship has a lot of moving parts and to maximize the positive effectiveness of each touch. It also helps to close the loop and let the client know you're actually paying attention to them.
For example, you might ask a client about a service call that was closed last week. "I see Bob was out here to set up a wireless access point. Is that working well for you folks?" This is a great way to grow your company while continuing to give the client a feeling of personalized service.
Just a thought.