Whether they are managed service providers, systems integrators, or IT consultants, today’s IT service providers are successful thanks to the mindset of solving their clients’ problems rather than merely reselling vendor solutions license by license. To successfully build the right type of relationship, service providers need to act as an extension of their customers’ business. And that requires a certain mindset that puts quality over quantity and long-term values over a quick sale. While all revenue is good, what separates a business with continued growth is the long-term relationships it has with its customers.
Our blog will look at several important tips for cultivating long-term customer relationships.
Customer Relationships Don’t Just Happen
Customer relationships are essential in every business and industry, but in the B2B world that importance is even more pronounced. Understanding how to cultivate a relationship is critical to the long-term growth and success of an IT service provider. Here are five tips your business can use when looking to build better relationships.
- Get personal, gain trust: No one likes a pushy salesperson. If you are only in it to sell a solution or a piece of software, then sure, your lead might buy from you—but establishing a long-term relationship isn’t guaranteed. However, if you get to know your customer and their business problems and treat them like you would a valued personal relationship, there is a much higher chance that they will trust your judgement, value your expertise and build an on-going relationship with you.
- Patience is a virtue, and so is good work: Don’t rush the work you do for your customer – the work you produce for them is of the utmost importance. Again, it is a matter of quality over quantity. You can get to know your customer and their pain points but if you don’t produce the goods then the relationship won’t last long. Similarly, when it comes to offering your customers more work, or more complex work, don’t rush them for a decision. A long-standing partnership will be worth more over time than a one-time large investment in one of your solutions. Building up good relationships takes time, but good things come to those who wait.
- Don’t over-prioritize ‘favorite’ customers: Every customer should receive your best service, regardless of how big they are or how much money they are looking to spend with you. Customer relationships will often start slowly and strengthen over time. If you don’t give them your best from the very beginning, they’ll find an IT provider who will.
- Be available: Relationships are built by people, rather than email addresses. So when growing a relationship, it’s important to do more than simply respond to email inquiries. Set up face-to-face meetings. Speak by phone or conference call. Especially at the beginning, work to show your personality as much as you can. People develop partnerships with people rather than the company a person works for.
- Manage expectations and build a vision of the future: This involves making sure that every interaction is summarized and recapped and both parties are on the same page during any interaction or plan of service. This will help you manage expectations on all sides. It is also a good opportunity to set out where you see the relationship going and designing a strategy for that.
Standing Out From the IT Crowd
These points above are best practice for any business looking to build better client relationships, but for IT service providers they are a must. Quality service is one of the best ways to differentiate yourself in a crowded marketplace. There are a lot of systems integrators, IT consultancies and vendor resellers out there, so to show your customer that you are different (and the right choice) you need to provide something that goes beyond merely a service. You need to provide a partnership.
More than an IT Provider
At Worksighted, we pride ourselves on our customer relationships. The competition in Michigan for good IT services is strong, but at Worksighted we go further than our competition to not only provide the best IT services but build relationships with our customers that are as long-lasting and reliable as they are productive for both parties. Our customers are not only our business partners, in a lot of cases they’re our friends, too.
At Worksighted, we provide IT services for growing companies, helping businesses in all industries unlock the potential of cloud-based collaboration and communication. We help you create lean, efficient, and secure IT environments in the cloud that enhance the performance of your teams and reduce costs. To find out more about implementing technology for your business and partnering with us, explore Worksighted’s collaboration & productivity expertise or get in touch with us today.