No matter what part of the technology channel you operate in, if your customers don’t stay with you on your journey, your business will struggle, and you will find it increasingly difficult to attract and onboard new ones. This is why customer experience (CX) should always be the primary focus at every level of the technology channel.
It’s not rocket science – a happy customer base usually guarantees repeat business, a trusted reputation and, most importantly of all, solid foundations for growth.
According to a PwC customer study, 73% of respondents claimed experience was an important factor in their purchasing decisions, coming a close third place behind price and product quality.
Additionally, a Forrester study showed that 41% of customer-obsessed companies achieved at least 10% revenue growth in their last fiscal year, compared with just 10% of less mature companies.
Although each customer journey is different, and every customer will have different demands and needs, focusing on the seven key areas below will mean you have a checklist of the guidelines that will at least ensure you and your customers are starting on the same page each time, and that there are no nasty surprises for either side at the end of the day.
1. Manage expectations and communicate
At the start of any delivery, it’s vital that each stakeholder in the relationship is aware of your tasks and timelines to execute. Equally, tasks and prerequisites that need to be in place by the customer should all be listed and assigned.
2. Sign off against a scope of work
It’s important that collaboration tools are used to enhance the communication and ensure that through the life of the project, all tasks are current.
3. Build trust and transparency
We all know that the best working relationships are based on trust and integrity. Sometimes unforeseen circumstances require a refocus and change of plan, so full transparency across your teams will keep everyone focused on the same goal. A successful project outcome may be different to how it was envisaged, but through continued communication and transparency, there should be no unpleasant surprises.
The single most important delivery of a managed service and the continual delivery in life of the service is the onboarding project. Whether this a new spin-up or a service transition, every task needs to be actioned and followed through, and could simply start with a contact matrix all the way to escalation management.
5. Automation and consistency
To achieve a successful outcome, coordination and output must be consistent. If you are managing multiple delivery partners in different locations with different variables and time zones, it’s important that the experience the customer and end users receive is consistent. If you automate as much of the back-end workloads as possible, yet still provide a human interaction, you will achieve the best outcome.
6. Understand the risks
With every implementation and delivery comes risk, so at an early stage and throughout the life of the delivery, always take stock of any known risks and developing risks as the project evolves.
Every business carries the risk of their supply chain, from technology to resources. Always consider how a failure in your supply chain can affect your delivery, your customers’ experience and reputational damage.
7. Controlled delivery
Ensure you are adequately resourced during the delivery phase, including out-of-hours requirements. Refer back to risks and any feedback loops via in-country resourcing teams. Keep the escalation path open. Keep control and manage any scope creep.
And finally, think secure
The three pillars of information security – confidentiality, integrity and availability – are core to delivering a first-class customer experience.
- Confidentiality is equivalent to privacy. Confidentiality measures are designed to prevent sensitive information from unauthorised access attempts. It is common for data to be categorised according to the amount and type of damage that could be done if it fell into the wrong hands. More or less stringent measures can then be implemented according to those categories.
- Integrity involves maintaining the consistency, accuracy and trustworthiness of data over its entire lifecycle. Data must not be changed in transit, and steps must be taken to ensure data cannot be altered by unauthorised people (for example, in a breach of confidentiality).
- Availability means information should be consistently and readily accessible for authorised parties. This involves properly maintaining hardware and technical infrastructure and systems that hold and display the information.
Keep acting on these seven points as part of your customer focus, and you should mitigate any risk of a dissatisfied customer base.