Stuart R. Crawford (Calgary, AB - Business Development Manager of IT Matters)
Twenty minutes. That’s all it takes to become “a knight in shining armour” in your client’s eyes, adding stickiness in all of your business relationships. What do I mean by the twenty minute miracle? The twenty minute miracle is something that all successful IT Professionals perform automatically by habit and often without even thinking about it, becoming a key differentiater between the really successful IT firms and those that struggle to find success in our market.
So what is the twenty minute miracle? The twenty minute miracle is simply taking the time to sit down with your clients so that they completely understand the technology that they are using. If you are in sales, this same principle applies to increase your IT sales. When clients are educated with technology they feel more comfortable using it, purchasing it and even recommending it to others. It doesn’t matter if it is on the desktop, mobile devices, web services, server architecture or printers. IT Professionals must take twenty minutes to sit down with their clients so that they completely understand everything that they use on a daily basis or looking at investing in.
Coming up with a twenty minute miracle strategy in your business today will be one of those value added actions that your business can do for all your clients. This is critical especially as we move into a time when uncertain economic conditions are on the horizon in some markets and here for others. When you are taking care of your clients needs and listening carefully to what they really need and hitting their business requirements will position you as someone who cares about your clients needs and eventually set your company up for success and even you personally as the individual.
We have to go deep and make sure that we are addressing all of our client’s concerns, and not skim over the top and expect our clients that they would just get it. Our clients are just as busy as we are. We must connect with people, the technology is very important; however, the people side of the business is the key and critical component.
In my personal experience, I have never won business from another IT provider who took care of the personal side of the business. This just doesn’t happen. When I am meeting with clients or prospects to discuss reasons why they are switching providers, the number one reason is lack of communications which is ultimately a breakdown in the people side of the business. However, a balance of the people side and the technology has to occur - you cannot be to far on one side or the other.
In our day to day business we can do everything right in the server room; however we only need to make an error on the desktop only once that may lead a client to look elsewhere to service their IT needs. When we make errors that affect the daily lives of our clients they begin to question how we do things, our creditability and our knowledge. In my days as an IT technician, the end user was the number one priority and anything that affected the end user experience was dealt with before any server challenge that the end users really didn’t experience. This is not limited too just technical challenges. Your accounting department, sales, and every department in your firm must practice the twenty minute miracle.
What else can your team do to ensure that your clients are looked after? There are a number of simple daily activities that your staff can do, like ensuring that a follow up call is done after work is completed. Lack of follow up is a huge concern with a number of end users that I speak with and I know that the majority of technical minded people have the mindset that the client will call if they have a problem. I agree sometimes they will, however many clients really appreciate a simple follow up phone call or even an email. Follow up skills are something that all professionals can work on at all times.
When you master the skills needed to create a positive unforgettable end user experience you will see an immediate increase in your client satisfaction scores. Increased client satisfaction will also provide immediate benefits to your bottom line profits, more sales, happier clients, more new business and a great reputation in the industry. Remember your reputation doesn’t follow you, it precedes you.