It’s hard to believe we’re already well into the second month of 2017. According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, more than 40 percent of people who made New Year’s Resolutions have given them up by now. So if you’re one of the committed ones — congratulations!
A few weeks ago, I was chatting with some of our Partners to learn more about what their resolutions for 2017 were (both professionally and personally), and I was surprised at how clearly a couple of trends defined themselves. Literally 100 percent of the ‘personal’ resolutions had to do with personal health and fitness. Awesome! And, there were trends just as clearly defined when it came to our Partners’ professional goals. Apparently, MSPs are heavily invested in two key areas in 2017:
- Training and certifications
- Enhancing the customer service levels they deliver
Training Is Top Priority
More than half of the Partners I chatted with said training and certification was at the top of their professional to-do list. It makes sense. Time equals money, and the easiest way to slash the amount of time you spend with projects, tools, and solutions is to increase your proficiency with each. Efficiency is a natural byproduct of training.
The good news is there are so many options for MSPs when it comes to sharpening the pencil on their technical know-how. The best tip I can offer for a service provider looking to boost their training efforts is to take advantage of the educational resources available from your solution providers and vendors.
For example, Intronis offers a free-on demand training and certification program via Intronis University. The better trained our partners are, the more they can take advantage of the advanced functionalities we offer, making their jobs easier in the long run and enabling them to offer their customers the best possible protection. In Intronis University, we offer a technician track and a business track, so there are materials for you no matter your role in your organization.
We also host a growing library of sales and marketing enablement materials in our Partner Toolkit that Partners can use to better understand how to position and promote their data protection and security offerings.
If you lean on your channel partner solution providers for this type of educational and enablement, not only will your business be more scalable, but you’ll have plenty of time back in your day for other important areas of focus — such as making sure your customers are happy!
Sights Are Set on Service Levels
In a close second place for top areas of focus was improving customer service levels. After all, where would any of us be without our customers?
Anyone looking for a quick way to jump start their efforts at driving customer satisfaction rates this year might want to take these high-level tips into consideration.
- Don’t assume. Validate. It’s dangerous to assume your customers are happy just because they aren’t complaining. You need to be proactive about keeping customers engaged and seeking their honest feedback regularly. If you don’t know what their constructive criticism is, you can’t address it. You can do this during all your interactions with customers, but it’s a good idea to formalize/record the results. Consider running a bi-annual customer input survey to capture many insights at once.
- Invest in the long term. Mutually beneficial relationships rely on investment by all parties involved. If you call your prospects every day during a sales cycle and then leave them on their own, you can’t expect to grow the relationship. And, you risk losing that hard-earned account to another vendor. Get to know your accounts, and understand their goals and how you can help them reach those goals. Regular check-ins are a must to see what’s working and what isn’t, and to look for ways to help your customers get more out of the value you provide.
- “Hug your haters”. You may have heard of Jay Baer, who’s well-known for evangelizing this concept. As Baer says, it’s important that we embrace and acknowledge all customer feedback. Even if you can’t fix the problem in the moment, you can show that you’re listening, that you understand how it’s impacting your customer, and let them know you appreciate them helping you improve your offering. Get more tips on this here.
The future is bright
I have to say, if the Partners continue sticking with their MSP resolutions, we will have a very healthy, well-trained group of MSPs who are loved by their customers. It doesn’t get more exciting than that. I can’t wait to hear from them a few months down the road and learn more about how they and their businesses are benefiting from their focus on these key areas. But for the moment, it’s time for me to go get a glass of water, instead of the second cup of strongly caffeinated tea that I’m craving so badly. Because, you know, I have a New Years resolution or two of my own.
Photo: Brigitte Thom via Unsplash.com