July 20, 2012
By Datto Guest Blog 2
Customer LoyaltyMany people may think offering discounts, free services or other monetary incentives will keep their customers happy. The truth is that it takes a whole lot more than simple discounts to keep customer loyalty high.
While there are various ways to build customer loyalty, below are three actionable components to help retain your customer base.
Don’t wait to set expectations with current or potential customers – it will only hurt you. Clear expectations provide a framework for interaction moving forward and can really make or break a relationship. Knowing what to expect puts clients at ease and builds trust.
The main way that MSPs and VARs set expectations with their customers is through SLAs. It’s very important to put forward a clear vision of your services from the beginning – but it’s even MORE important to stick to your SLA. Managing client expectations is critical to the success of your business because that’s how your clients evaluate their experience with your company.
A great way to foster loyal customers is to “under promise and over deliver” on the expectations you originally laid out in the SLA. For instance, Datto states in its customer SLA that any ticket submitted with an “urgent” priority will be replied to within one hour. In reality, the response time on those tickets is closer to five minutes.
Remember, the negative emotions customers feel from not having their expectations met will have a greater effect than the positive emotions from customers’ expectations being exceeded. Even if you deliver on your SLA nine times out of ten, I can guarantee that the customer will remember that one time you did not come through.
Be The Expert.
The IT world changes constantly, and it can be hard for the average business to keep up with emerging trends and new technologies. As your client’s ‘trusted advisor’ it’s important that you establish a relationship where they feel completely comfortable seeking advice from you.
There is a lot of opportunity around this concept. Right now we are experiencing some major confusion in the SMB space around compliance/regulations and you have real opportunity to help your clients navigate the uncertainty. The unknowns become real opportunities to capitalize on. For example, if you can communicate the necessary steps to becoming HIPAA compliant, the client is going to recognize the value of your relationship, so if someone with a slightly better offer comes around, they are going to stick with you because they know you are an expert.
The MSP market is getting more crowded, which will result in increased competition across the board. So if specialization isn’t something you’ve considered before, it might be something you want to consider now. Especially in fields that have a lot of regulation, like healthcare and finance.
Go The Extra Mile.
This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s important to note. Now more than ever, SMBs are looking to have real relationships with their IT Service Providers. Going the extra mile fosters trust and builds long-term loyalty. It demonstrates commitment to your customers and you’ll end up benefiting from this in the long run. Your commitment will encourage clients to refer you to others. Customer referrals are one of the easiest and low-cost methods to getting new business.
Going the extra mile means paying attention to what your customers want. Think about what is important to your clients and what can you do to make their experience top-notch. A great experience will help you stand out from your competition and give you the edge when it’s time to renew contracts. Try to look for additional ways you can add value to your customers and they will love you for it.
shannon kohn dattoShannon Kohn is Marketing & Channel Relations Director at Datto. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of MSPmentor’s annual platinum sponsorship. Read all Datto guest contributions here.
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