Of the MSPs I talk to, one of the biggest concerns they have concerning the outsourcing of their MSP Help Desk is the fear of losing control of their customer relationship. A natural concern, and one that I would like to take further, lending some thought on the Customer Centric Feedback Loop and some ideas as to how every MSP can capitalize on this principle regardless of their service infrastructure.
“The strongest feedback loops do more than just connect customers, the front line, and a few decision makers in management…they keep the customer front and center across the entire organization. (Harvard Business Review, 2009)”
In good old business school terms, this is considered to be the feedback loop. The process begins by taking an idea suggested by a customer, reporting it to the proper decision maker, and if deemed appropriate, having this enacted in some way.
In the MSP world – it is best practice to, at the very least track customer information using a PSA platform, and look for aggregate trends that develop. There is nothing worse than running around with your head cut off trying to be everything to everyone. In addition, you cannot operate oblivious to the evolving needs of your customers. Managers must be skilled in separating actionable, prioritized data from the common day to day interactions.
If you consider the customer experience in the same manner as the monitoring and maintenance of their IT environments (the network feedback loops that most technical types are used to closing), you can see how both aspects are equally important for two primary reasons:
- To deliver the service you sold; maintaining and securing their technology
- To instil the perception of tangible value through dedicated customer service— beyond providing reports and ensuring the technology works well (keeping the status quo)
The discussion changes when MSPs take these findings and create or update processes that actually address the client’s problem. To do so, you must also ensure the technical staff is properly prepared and motivated to succeed.
It is important to proactively, rather than reactively gather this data as most frustrated customers don’t say anything in a survey until it is too late. To quote HBR again, “Our research shows that most customers who end up defecting to another business have declared themselves “satisfied” or “very satisfied” in such surveys not long before jumping ship. (Harvard Business Review 2009)”
5 Tasks for Every Customer Centric Manager
- Listening into call clips
- Reviewing transcripts
- Calling customers to solicit feedback
- Empowering your staff to come forward with suggestions
- Or, if you are small enough – management by walking around and monitoring calls and tasks
- I won’t even attempt to make that into an acronym
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The data collected from customers should be regularly reviewed with the decision makers in the organization. They can then coach the staff on how to better handle specific situations, or share with others how a specific decision helps ensure better customer service. Sharing the ‘why’ with your staff can go a long way to including the entire organization in decision making and quality assurance policy adoption.
Thus closing the loop, ensuring your customers remain your customers – and maybe even having them tell a few friends about your services as well.
So what methodologies do you use at your MSP to capture vital customer feedback? How are you tracking it all and using it to improve your operations?