As shared in Inside Indiana Business
How are we doing? Have you asked your customers that question recently? It can feel daunting since you might not always hear rave reviews. This year, our company marks its fifth year offered service as a managed IT service business, so we decided to ask customers. The results weren’t as scary as expected and confirmed our secret sauce (ultimate customer service) works, but always requires improvements. Borrow our lessons learned.
Vince Lombardi said, “It takes months to find a customer… seconds to lost one.” So true. Take a look around the Indiana marketplace. Every business segment has a like competitor. Why should someone choose to do business with your company? Five years ago, our start-up crew asked that question. We decided we had to set ourselves apart by offering one thing that was completely different. Something we could control. That secret sauce is customer service.
Now as we look back over those five years, we paused and asked, “Are we hitting the goal? Are customers truly receiving the service they deserve?” Many business owners say they offer the best customer service, but those are just words unless proven true. Asking customers, listening to their responses, and identifying improvements tweaks the secret sauce.
Here’s what we learned, and you can borrow.
Customer service is a mindset When someone opens a business, there’s a lot of preparation, from legal documents to accounting and marketing to office management. Sometimes the culture of an IT business, heck any business, gets lost in the basic nuts and bolts just to get the front door open. Strategically deciding with partners and employees how you want the customer to feel is critical.
We all have that one chance to make a first impression. Keeping customer service top of mind in a business means clients become your best source for new business via referrals. And they’ll stay with your company. Our poll validated our approach and mindset with 98% of our customers saying they’d refer us.
Give the customer peace of mind At the basic core level, customers work with you because they have a problem or need they want to fix or fill. And they want peace of mind you’ve delivered. Our business is managed IT services. We support customers who, most of the time, want to move data and data management from a server to the cloud. We all know working online requires security and protection against modern day Bonnie and Clyde types who spend time creating malware, phishing schemes, hacking and more.
In our poll customers identified five top attributes related to working on their computers that give them peace of mind: data security, professionalism, customer service, problem resolution and communications as our top five company attributes. Team knowledge comes in a close number six.
Widgets will change, the customer won’t Think back five, 10, or even 20 years. The state of the computer and IT services business has enormously changed. Who remembers dial up internet? Now 20 years later we depend on high-speed internet and wifi. And we want it everywhere. What our business looks like in the future is hard to predict. Staying current on trends and supporting customers through this ever-changing landscape is the common thread we know will allow us to continue to expand and grow the company. Evolving widgets won’t change our customer relationships.
Make improvements for the customer This goes back to the poll we just completed. It confirmed our customer service focus is working. And it also gave us insight into areas we need to improve. No one is perfect. Don’t be afraid to professionally share experiences with the people you do business with each day. It will help them to create a stronger business.
Tout successes Us Midwesterners have been taught to be humble. Here’s the truth. Sometimes it’s ok to share successes. Start-ups have a high rate of failure. Our team is celebrating five years and many great successes. After the high-fives and handshakes, our team realized we still have work to do. Refer to the headline above about making improvements. It’s ok to tout success while still filling those improvement gaps.
Aaron Toops is co-founder and CEO of AERIFY.oi, a managed services IT business that makes technology simple, safe, and fast. The team leverages the Cloud to allow small to mid-business teams affordable access to their information from whatever device at whatever time they need.