Conversations around service for end users following project completion have traditionally been an afterthought. But things are changing.
Service models bring a multitude of benefits to businesses that are shifting to the hybrid working world, where technology is increasingly relied upon to maintain the digital workflow and enhance unified communications.
The long-standing ‘break/fix’ services are now being increasingly augmented by a new suite of services guiding user adoption, experience and ultimately, project success.
With hardware and software being updated much more frequently, an extension of users with the rise in daily video meetings for office workers and unified communication technology now critical for collaboration, businesses need a clear strategy to manage their technology. That might include support for system upgrades, user support and maintenance for ongoing system functionality, and whether they do that internally with their own AV team or via a managed service provider (MSP) is a key decision to consider.
From a MSP’s perspective, there’s a great opportunity here but service-as-an-afterthought can be hugely detrimental to that.
Projects signed off with no internal or external handovers, service teams not briefed on new support requirements and end-users with no process or communication channel for effective support. A poor experience all around.
Transitioning to a model where service is considered early in the process successful has a number of benefits including bringing you closer to your clients, preparing your teams to meet customer expectations for support and unlocking future revenue opportunities. And because this early engagement is currently so rare in the industry, it may even help you to differentiate too.
Here are a few simple steps to follow to get started.
Where is the customer with their current support model today? What works? What doesn’t? What causes pain, expense and frustration? What does the user experience look like and how do they expect their staff to be able to use the systems?
This discovery work at the project’s outset is key.
Everyone has an expected value from their investments. This could be a straightforward ROI, or it could be an improvement in productivity, efficiency or collaboration. Identify what the goal is and put metrics and KPIs in place that allow this to be measured objectively.
Once you understand your customers’ needs, wants and goals, make sure your support infrastructure is in place to meet those expectations. Service is tricky to deliver without all pieces of the puzzle. Review your support structure and check you have the key people, job roles, systems and processes in place to be able to effectively deliver the services you are going to offer. If you don’t, invest in developing that for long-term success (and customer retention!)
Service solutions can’t be delivered in isolation, they need to be part of a collaborative effort between all business functions. How you work with your internal teams to understand service needs, transition from project phase to service phase and ensure other teams are up to speed (e.g. accounting, sales) is critical. This is where internal processes can really make an impact.
Tech doesn’t stand still, and neither should aftercare service. How you create ongoing value and deliver continual improvement will have a huge impact on your customer retention (or your churn rate!). A customer success strategy can help ensure relationships are kept strong and fruitful for all involved.
Having a conversation about service at the beginning of a project wins hearts and minds. It shows a customer that you are thinking about their user experience. This builds loyalty and leads to long-term business relationships. When they are looking to expand to new sites, renew their hardware or refresh to the latest solution models, you will be right there, front of mind.
And, of course, getting this right leads to new revenue streams. Traditionally when projects end, stakeholders move on, but this new approach allows you to put contracts in place that deliver continued revenue, whilst ensuring that the solution you have delivered continues to perform against business goals and objectives of the initial project brief.
If you’re looking to develop your own service strategy, but could use consultant advice on getting started, we can help! We offer everything from transformational service projects to retained service support for your internal service journey, giving you access to our experts for as long as you need them.