If your business has grown to the point you need help with IT, this might be of interest.
[So often the issues small business face when it comes to technology come down to getting good advice. IT integrators and resellers specialise in this. We spotted this article in CRN Magazine about one such company and decided to share it with you here. It might be intreresting if you want to know more about how an IT integrator might be able to help you.]
Fixing customer issues comes with the territory, according to Commulynx managing director Stephen Knights. Any reseller who thinks they can avoid it is kidding themselves.
“The way we deal with it is that it’s not if we make a mistake, it’s when and how we respond. We see it as an opportunity to either lose a customer or win a customer for life.”
“Most of the time we have an account management model so we go through that with a customer and work through their challenges. Rarely does it escalate to me and if it does, I’m always quick to respond with a phone call. I never deal with it by email. I deal with it face to face because ultimately, business comes down to people dealing with people.”
He says most of the issues for his company come up as clients move to the cloud.
“Typically it’s a migration to cloud technology,” he says. “No one takes on that migration assuming it’s going to be a perfect run, there’s no such thing. There’s always going to be challenges. Trying to minimise those challenges is what our role is.
“The end is to focus on the changing the spending in the way the business is embracing the new operational cost model that is available under some of these transitions and understanding the limitations of them. It’s about understanding sometimes the benefits that you are gaining that are outweighing some of those limitations.
“We can’t stand miles and miles away analysing every single possible variant. We have got to get into the work and minimise the disruption and that’s what a lot of this work is about these days.
“We have found fairly consistently there are at least one or two challenges, whether it be changes in the work behaviour, a change in the way the technology operates or a change in the way they need to work with the new platform.”
He says customers will get emotional when they have problems and meltdowns. That’s to be expected, he says. Staff at Commulynx have to deal with it as professionals.
“It’s their business, they are bound to be emotional,” he says. “We have a large small to medium client base and they tend to get very emotional.
“Their understanding of technology is somewhat more limited that’s why we’re there. They take a view but their view doesn’t always reflect the true situation of what’s going on. To them Outlook just isn’t working, they just can’t get email, it’s nothing to do with what’s actually going on.
“Our job is there to facilitate that change and work through it and resolve things in a timely manner. Without us there, they wouldn’t be able to tackle the project let alone work through some of the gremlins along the way.
“When the communication is continuous, it is very rare to actually find a variation that isn’t part of the process, that isn’t something you can’t communicate with the customer clearly. They need to understand that they need to pay for a portion or part of this challenge.
“But challenges within projects will always be there, it’s the nature of change,” he adds.
How does Commulynx deal with customers demanding a discount, freebie or upgrading because of the issues?
“We deal with that on a case by case basis,” he says. “We’re not in the business of giving away business, no one is. What we do is we focus on resolving the concern and then we say to the customer if there are any outright mistakes by us, you will be compensated in reimbursement or something to that effect.
“Quite often their perception of what’s going on isn’t actually what’s going on. We’ve always got to talk about the end result rather than a mid-stride grievance. We tend to focus on the bigger picture.”
Still, the customers who want reimbursement are a certain breed, he says. They’re the ones who aren’t interested in working in partnership with the reseller. And invariably, they won’t be long-term customers, they’ll head off when they can get it cheaper somewhere else.
“With customers that want that outright reimbursement or credit, typically what you find is that they don’t value that partnership.
“There is a partnership, we are working together, we’re facilitating IT support function and if there are challenges we work through it together,” he says. “Customers lean on us to provide to provide that expertise and help them with these technology changes.
“Anyone who doesn’t value the relationship that we have, that is where the challenges truly come in. They don’t see a value proposition in having someone undertake their IT, they see IT as more of a necessity than value to their business. IT is an enabler for business.”
He says to avoid future problems, Commulynx explains to customers what they need to do manage the system.
“Some people no matter how many times you show them don’t take it up, and others get it then and there,” he says. “The cards tend to shuffle themselves.”