Memo to MSPs: Take Your Customer’s Pulse
In a previous blog post, I described the 10 benefits of using surveys in your service provider business. But if you still feel surveys are a “nice to have” rather than a “need to do” (despite knowing how surveys increase customer retention, improve product and service delivery and create competitive advantage), let me convince you otherwise.
A study conducted by the National Business Research Institute (NBRI) underscores the value of client surveys in facilitating continuous improvement and strengthening your overall ability to compete. It also shows a direct correlation between profitability and regularly measuring customer loyalty – and acting on that information.
The study discovered that increasing customer retention by just 5% will increase profits 25% to 125%. How? Well, customers provide repeat business and they generate quality referrals – both of which increase top-line revenue. They also increase profit margins by effectively reducing the marketing and operational costs associated with acquiring new customers – or reacquiring lost customers.
So, how does that relate to surveys? The answer is that instituting surveys sends the message that your organization cares about the performance of your employees and its impact on the satisfaction levels of the clients they support. Gathering opinions about your services, products and support improves your effectiveness in steering short- and long-term customer relationships.
Automate Your Efforts
Surveys provide the most efficient way to gather this kind of input. You can use stand-alone survey tools like Survey Monkey, Zoomerang and other similar applications. But to be most effective, you’ll want to find ways to automate the deployment of the surveys, and to have the results coming directly into the software you use for customer service. Without the automation and integration, you have to remember to send out the surveys every time you complete a service – and it’s another set of tasks to consume your valuable resources.
That’s why most service providers don’t engage in customer surveys – or do so in an ad hoc and sporadic basis – and I suspect that’s why their client retention rates – and profitability – are lower than they could be.
Fortunately, customer survey and benchmarking tools specifically developed for the IT services industry are now available, and the best of them can automate the entire process because they are fully integrated with affordable software you can use to run your entire business. Something to think about as you plan for 2011.
Bob Godgart is the CEO of Autotask Corp., developers of Autotask hosted professional services automation software, the VARStreet family of advanced quoting and e-commerce tools and Taskfire, a hosted service desk and ticket management system sold by IT solution providers for businesses of all sizes with internal IT resources. Guest blogs such as this one are part of MSPmentor’s annual Platinum sponsorship program. Read all of Godgart’s guest blogs here.