In today’s show we are going to talk about 3 great ways to keep in touch with your client base.
I’m Terry Rossi and this is The IT Provider Network Show Episode Number 1
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Help a Brother Out
Episode 1 – Multi Pronged Customer Communications
2017, Terry Rossi
IT Provider Network
[0:19] Welcome to the it provider Network show my name is Terry Rossi and I’ll be your host today for episode 1 of the show.
[0:26] We hope that you will join us on our journey as we attempt.
To bring value to you and your company to try to help you grow and scale your MSP business or cloud service business,
and share some of the tips and tricks that we learned along the way so without further Ado Let’s Start Episode 1.
Intonation we going to talk about three great ways to stay in touch with your client base and this is an important thing for all managed service providers.
Because you’re only as good as your last out a boy.
[0:56] What I mean by that is if you’re out of sight you’re out of mine with a managed service customer if you’re not providing value and showing your face and communicating with them.
You’re just another bill that comes on the first of the month that the customer questions whether they need or not so.
[1:12] My company and our experience we found that there are three Avenues and which you can talk to your customer base there from your sales department your finance department.
And your service department the order in which they communicate to your customers at least initially isn’t exactly that order sales finance and service at least in our company it is,
so where does it all start it starts with person,
are there out there prospecting the managed service sale and you know they were the first people to make contact in there the first people that represent your company in the eyes of the prospect.
Prostitute inside sales person an inside sales person in my company is a telemarketer.
So we have a guy Jim it’s been with us for over 8 years he dials all day everyday $80 a day in rain sleet or snow.
[2:00] It takes a special person to do that so we’re fortunate to have them.
The gems out there representing our company what he says on the phone and how it interacts with the gatekeeper what we call the gatekeeper that’s the person answering the phone as well as the key contact that we’re trying to reach.
That’s how our company is represented that’s the first impression that everyone remembers.
[2:21] And it’s important to get a great person to do this whether you’re Outsourcing it or doing it in-house you need to really really really that that person that’s doing the,
falling for you cuz they are the first impression for your company I know there’s a lot of people that want to Outsource this job and that’s because it’s a hard job and it’s hard to get a person that will actually do that everyday,
I encourage you to try to find that person though it’s well worth it to keep it in house,
companies that you hire that telemarket on very few of them and I’ve talked to many of their principles and their owners.
Good companies doing good work but they’re not as good as someone that sitting in your office that you can hear is pitch all day long and you can understand who is marketing to you can work with him during your daily Huddle’s are your sales meetings to make sure that,
that person is going to represent your company the way you want that’s key that’s really important in a business that’s built on trust.
So getting back to sales the first Contact is always with sales and it starts with a telemarketer,
or the inside sales person or your outside sales person whoever makes the first Contact then it progresses to the hunter person that’s out there actually trying to close the deal,
trying to land a business for your company that person whether it’s you or hired salesperson.
They’re key in representing your products and services setting the right expectations for your engagement with the customer it’s really important that you understand what’s going on there too especially if you’re not the person,
sitting across the table with that Prospect you want to make sure your sales person is honest and truthful is representing your services with Integrity not promising things that.
[4:00] You don’t do or don’t do well,
don’t want your sales person out there are saying that we are staffed knock 24 hours we have the you know 10 Microsoft certified developers and 15 Lennox System admins,
when in reality you might not have that so just make sure you have a good sales person that you can trust.
[4:21] Sales person that’s going to represent your products and services with integrity.
And honestly so as soon as you get yourself person out in front of the customer they convince them that they’re going to go with your service next to the contract negotiation.
And this is where a salesperson if he’s following a process and he understands how,
consultative sales works the contract signing should be no big deal it should be just a formality done at the end of the process all the thought it eyes and crossed T’s should have been worked out prior.
[4:54] All the explanation of the services the products the coverage levels the service level agreements the hours and times of operation all of that should have been,
discussed prior to the contract signing so the contract signing is just really regurgitating back everything that the salesperson.
Has worked with Achy contact for over the last few months so now the contract signed this is where,
some companies that sales person is out of the picture and you may want to either an account manager or an inside sales person that’s working the installed base,
your company has not the case we keep that salesperson the hunter if you will in our company it’s Brian we keep Brian involved with the client,
through the lifespan in the client now it’s an interesting dilemma when you do that because.
There’s only so many hours in the day there’s only so many conversations that sales person can have,
so if they’re working installed base they’re not out there hunting and finding new managed Services deals.
Sometimes in the installed base were quoting low-value low-dollar workstation upgrades or software maintenance contracts things like that that make a difference on the bottom line,
don’t necessarily need a high,
high-dollar salesperson they cannot be close by just sending a quote so it’s really more of that administrative tasks and it is a sales person or the skills of a sales person that’s needed a double-edged sword in our case that’s the way though,
Brian does a really good job with our clients they all have built the Great relationship with him they feel comfortable dealing with him.
[6:29] That relationship makes it really easy for us to go forward and cell in 10 Yulee into the customer obviously we try to sell back into our customers.
Because that’s a much easier sell I forget the exact statistic but many people say that’s ghetto,
4 times easier to sell and gear install base than it is to sell to a new customer and I believe that so we put a,
number a ratio on that we try to sell 40% of rmrr or monthly recurring Revenue back into the same clients as,
products and services so in addition to our monthly recurring revenue and the fees that we charge them flat,
we try to sell 40% additional project software licenses Hardware upgrades excetera during the course of a year and that really makes the difference in your profits so you wanted you want to pay that,
you want to get them in the door of your managed Services agreements you want to make sure you have adequate profit in those agreements that they can stand alone,
but then you also want to make sure you have it on products and services,
increase the level of profit that you’re getting from your customer so sales in the door because the customer is on board,
went through the onboarding process the handoff to the service team is done.
That shouldn’t be the end of your sales departments Communications with the customer you have to remember to keep your customers involved.
If you have webinars if you have lunch and learns if you have.
[7:53] Any kind of activity that you’re engaging prospects and give your customers to even though you won’t be selling to them directly they can be a great asset to you in a pre-sales environment and they can also learn a lot.
By attending one of your webinars are lunch-and-learns.
This helps on the service department this helps bring down suppose this helps increase your ad on sale to those clients,
they’re looking at things that they might not have seen if your salespeople hadn’t stayed in touch with them so really important to keep your salespeople in touch with your clients after they become clients and through the lifespan of your rope with them,
make sure that you something automated to whether using a CRM like salesforce.com or a PSA like connectwise manage for autotask,
make sure your sales people have structured activities where they’re doing regular follow-up so they’re customer.
At least your typical account management type calls a mr. customer calling to make sure everything’s okay with our service,
they could be on a variety Thanksgiving one month that can be calling in and doing that type of,
account management call next month I could be calling and telling a customer about a new offering that you have anything to just keep the conversations alive and the relationship flourishing with the client and the tail,
it’s been a lot of time building that relationship,
you want to make sure that they continued it that’s sales really good idea to keep them in touch with your customers,
all the time second great way to keep in touch with you customer service delivery team if you’re naughty service provider.
[9:29] MSP cloud service provider software developer almost always your help desk,
are the people that have the most communication with your clients so you want to make sure that’s a strong Avenue for communications to keep your relationship alive.
You can do this in a number of ways with every service ticket and every call you get you can make sure that your representatives are representing your company in the best way possible,
there’s some really really simple things that you can do that go along way to keep the customer smiling on the other side of the phone I’ll give you a for instance the number one pet peeve I have.
When I listen to my out this people is.
No problem it’s no problem of course is no problem the customer is paying us a lot of money for it to be no problem change that right away with your service delivery people it’s not no problem it’s never no problem,
it’s my pleasure it’s my pleasure is there anything else I can do for you that’s the way you should speak to your customers,
they’re paying your paycheck they’re putting the lights on in your business it’s your pleasure to serve them if you have a service delivery person.
Hope this person engineer system admin person excetera that doesn’t feel that way that they’re there to serve the customer.
You need to invite them to be successful somewhere else you don’t need that on your team you need people that are there to serve.
People that want to make sure that your company survives and a strong and more important your clients company survives and is strong so.
[11:01] Did that right in the bud it’s not no problem it’s my pleasure you also want to make sure you’re listening for subtle Clues on those help desk calls who’s that your customer might be on Happy,
and you know these can come in a variety of ways you can see.
[11:16] Usually it’s good if you get there first thing in the morning cuz you’ll see problems that occurred overnight and these are you know these are critical he’s our little little.
[11:27] Breaks in a dyke that can cause a relationship to fail I’ll give you another example I come in in the morning sometimes and I hear that,
someone’s machine was no rebooted and patches were not installed or somebody’s machine was rebooted in our managed service username is up there and there and they customer doesn’t understand how to log in.
I never think that the username could be wrong cause all they ever do is putting their password little simple stuff like this frustrates customers it it makes them trip up the chain to their management.
Which then of course comes back to you it rolls right back down the hill.
[12:05] So make sure your service people are paying attention to that specially your overnight people if you have overnight staff that are working on patching and virus removal.
Do all the things they need to do on a desktop when the client is not there make sure they leave the machine in a state that’s ready to go.
Make sure you’re not doing maintenance overnight where you’re automatically rebuilding machines and.
[12:27] People have unsaved documents make sure your clients know that the maintenance day that you’re working on make sure they know their machines are going to be rebooted simple little things that.
Go a long way with your customers that your service delivery team and help with another Avenue in the service delivery team is your actual manager,
make sure your managers looking at tickets for your clients make sure he’s looking at the responses that the reps are riding in the tickets and following up on anything that is not least plain door looks like it’s fully resolved.
Should follow up with the rap and he should follow up with the customer he goes a long way even if the customer is fine a little follow-up once in awhile is a really good thing to do on a service ticket,
if you’re fortunate enough to have customer satisfaction surveys which we do then your service manager can also look for Trends in the customer satisfaction surveys or unhappy and users at your clients we talked a little bit about the.
[13:24] Customer satisfaction system we use,
it’s a very simple system we built it into a standard service status response on our tickets so when we Mark our tickets completed we have a two-stage closing process where we Mark tickets completed we start with.
The completed status that’s that is basically Marx the ticket is completed.
Notify the customer that we’ve completed the ticket puts it in a three-day clock 3-day timing cyclewear.
The service manager has 3 days to review the ticket and then the ticket will be fully closed out so what happens during this 3 days well that automated message that goes out to the customer that says it was closed says Hey Weavers Audrey issue.
[14:05] We believe that we have would you take two Second Son answer this customer satisfaction survey and it’s a real simple survey.
There are three pictures a green 🙂 a yellow neutral face and a red on happy face.
[14:21] These are all they have to do is click on one of those three things and we have our customer satisfaction survey.
After they do that they can put in a, if they want and we get a lot of comments about that as well and when they do that that’s when your service,
manager needs to follow up,
and make sure that we’re doing the best that we can to satisfy their needs sometimes you can’t please everyone you know I have had negative customer satisfaction surveys come in because going to a printer,
but we can’t really control that I understand that customer was not happy but it’s not really something we can fix okay you could be argued that we could fix it,
I really don’t deal with managed print we don’t deal with tone or anything like that you don’t monitor toner levels and under some of you may do that that’s great but we don’t so once in awhile you get a negative that you’ll just have to live with you get a negative that,
show you a bigger underlying problem,
and that’s the that’s the key wants a service delivery manager needs to work on so make sure he’s looking at the tickets make sure he’s looking at the customer satisfaction surveys if you have them,
and make sure he’s following up with your customer another important thing to remember in the service delivery team is that helped us Communications or not,
customer Communications are not customer relationship Communications so just because your help desk is speaking to a particular client or customer one day doesn’t mean that we’re doing account management if there’s too much probably means,
there’s some sort of underlying.
[15:53] Technical issue that should be resolved if you see these recurring tickets for a recurring problem maybe you should think about getting to the root cause of that you know it’s a,
it’s what I wrestle with with my team all the time.
[16:07] You know sometimes I get so caught up and just process of solving helped us to get that they don’t actually start they don’t think about the root cause of the problem then look for a proactive solution,
we can roll out to that customer all customer.
Naked part of our standard why are we called her eye tech way the way we do things the way we roll out firewalls away the wheel rollout Group Policy the way that we roll out your workstation it stalls,
not thinking about.
[16:34] Putting that back in the process he constantly have to remind the service delivery team that they need to be thinking about proactive ways that we can scale that we can provide better service to our customers,
it’s important that you was a manager you was an owner that you continually do that and bring that back to your service delivery team.
Third and final way that you can talk to your clients is with your Finance team and this,
is often not great conversations least not in our company but finances often talking to a customer about.
Finance problem you know either a late payment or Miss check or an invoicing problem that you have but it doesn’t always have to be that way and we always try to start off the process a new client should process with a call from Finance.
So generally what happens is during our onboarding process and this is a documented procedure that we follow every time we used neck was managing our company and we use a combination of what they called tracks which are,
scheduled automated messages we use them mostly internally but these tracks he’s what’s called a standard service template.
So standard service template creates a new service ticket with a standardized set of tasks.
Documents descriptions in members excetera rest of the week make sure we’re doing the same thing every time we have a process that we can improve upon,
the next customer will import the part of the mourning process is our finance team needs to reach out to our new customer this is done for a couple of reasons one.
[18:05] It’s another touch point it’s another way to say hello and welcome to customer into our family and welcoming them into our service,
that’s also why for us to gain important information so that our first impression.
With financing that company is it good one or invoices are going out correctly they’re going to the correct person.
[18:25] They’re dressed in a proper way we’ve agreed upon the terms of the sale net 30 due on receipt whatever it is we’ve agreed upon that the finance team at our company has is that out with the fun team at the new client,
really goes a long way to set the stage that if there is a problem with billing if there is a problem with elections there’s already a relationship established the finance people at my company I’ve already made contact with the finance people at,
our new client so Finance the third way that we can talk to her customer the third Department that we can talk to,
are customer and I think with financing it’s important to remember this that because anything you can do to get your check sooner is a good thing no cash is King it pays the bills and pays payroll it keeps your vendors and employees happy,
you want to make sure you’re doing everything you can consistently to bring the cash in the door,
your client told the keys to this Kingdom so you have to make sure that you’re doing things right years ago we suffered from a problem on the other side of our business,
the other side of our business is software development we do software development for,
manufacturers worldwide so we’re writing custom software and we have a document management Enterprise content solution that we sell the manufacturers we had a big problem though,
we were doing a lot of time and materials billing,
and we were having a lot of billing issues we would get a po440 hours and move Bill 51 we wouldn’t get paid we have to go back hash out the pillow talk to the project manager getting additional 11 hours.
[19:58] Send the invoice back in all of sudden net 30 was net 90 or net 120 running out of cash not having cash to pay our vendors because we were not doing the right things on the front end,
so remember that if the invoices out right get them to the right person it I’m out timely and you’ll get paid timely if you don’t do those things,
you’re in for a spiral of death as scary people would say this is going to definitely back up on your going to have a problem so anyway that’s it our first episode of the it provider network is in the books.
Talked about three ways you can keep in touch with your client base and how each department within your company has a different but important role to play,
your customer retention and we talked about a little bit about the show and why we’re here.
I hope you’ll join us subscribe to us on iTunes or Stitcher or tuned in radio wherever you go,
and make sure you check out our website at the it provider network.com we look forward to helping you build your it provider business we’ve been there we’ve done that we learned a few things and we look forward to hearing from you and what you need help with,
remember we get it done for our customers we are it have a great day.