Tip Tuesday: How to avoid the canary in the coal mine

Posted by Lauren Beliveau on Nov 20, 2018 8:30:00 AM

shutterstock_101323762Little things can make a big difference, especially if they are caught early on. For instance, take the expression, “like a canary in a coal mine.” This expression dates back to 1911 when canaries were used in the mining industry to warn coal miners of looming carbon monoxide poisoning. This gave miners an early enough warning to leave the mine before it was too late. Just like a canary in the coal mine, questions or concerns from your customers can be an early indicator of much larger problem—you just need to address them early on.

Finding the right way to address your customers’ concerns and questions can be daunting. However, it doesn’t need to be. One of our partners, Matthew Lewis of Green Street Technology Solutions, recently shared his advice on how IT service providers can effectively address these inquiries. Matthew suggests that IT service providers should:

“Find a way to communicate answers to frequently asked questions. One way to address this is to blog about questions you or your clients have. Chances are that one client isn't the only one that has the same question or confusion. It will encourage more questions from clients and it can lead to a better understanding of how they operate and what services they might need.”

For ideas and tips on how to start or accelerate your MSP business blog, view our recent post.

3 Additional ways to address your customers’ questions and concerns

Each individual processes information in a different way. They can be a visual learner, an auditory learner, or a kinesthetic learner. To address all your customers’ questions and concerns, an MSP blog is a great medium to consider; but isn’t the only approach you can take. Here are a few additional ways you can deliver your message to customers:

  1. Consider launching your own IT service provider podcast. Over the last few years, podcasts have grown tremendously in popularity — especially with executives on the go. To help your SMB customers address their growing security concerns, data protection concerns, or simply understand the challenges associated with IoT devices, consider hosting a podcast. By doing this, they will be able to listen at their own leisure — whether that be during their commute, while they exercise, or maybe on their lunch break.
  2. Host a live webinar. One of the best ways to teach someone something, is to show them how to do it. Instead of remoting into each computer to show them how to navigate new applications or use updated tools, consider hosting and recording a live webinar session. Webinars are a great tool for demonstrating new features and functionalities, helping you get multiple customers onboard at the same time. Before the webinar, go through a dry-run of what you would like to present to your customers. Seek feedback from your team to ensure that the message is right. Most importantly, create a ”dummy” account to demo, to protect your customers’ identities.
  3. Launch a FAQ page or a live chat option. If you are consistently being asked the same questions on a daily basis, consider adding a FAQ section to your website. This can help your customers’ easily search for the answer that they are looking for. If you don’t have the option already, consider adding a live chat button to your website. While you might need an employee on standby to answer questions coming through the queue — some of the answers can now be automated through your chat box, which can make it easier to ease customers’ questions and woes, before they become concerns.

Customers are the lifeline of your IT service business — so it is important to take note and address potential problems and questions when they arise. After all, if you ignore the canary in the coal mine too long, you might find that you will soon be out of business.

Barracuda MSP blog

Photo:  iurii / Shutterstock. 

Topics: Tip Tuesday

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