Excuse my ramblings, while I state the obvious….
We often see pictures or bullet point statements about core behaviours from companies of many sizes, but I want to go deeper. My ‘beef’ is that many talk the talk, but only during the sales cycle – I want to ensure its clear that we always walk the walk. (apologies, but it’s the easiest way to put it across!)
I took a few moments to review our success at winning new customers, and the feedback received from existing, to identify what our customers want from their IT partner, and though I want to be surprised, I am not. A significant proportion of our new clients came to us because their previous supplier missed what we at 5u consider to be the basics. This is the way we behave…
Trusted advisor, trusted partner, trusted supplier, the holy grail of buyer/seller relationships. But trust is the outcome, not the cause, and many suppliers appear to forget this, by trying to tell the client to trust them, rather than taking the steps required to earn it. Trust can only be earned over time, and we should not forget that it’s 2 way. When the unexpected happens, it is trust that helps either party give the benefit of doubt, until the other side has had the opportunity to respond and prove their reasons for being trusted.
So really – trust is the outcome, and only achievable if the following are completed well.
Experience and Honesty go hand in hand, and I was not sure which way round they should go.
The IT market can at first appear saturated. If a buyer knows exactly what they want, every time, they can go to the lowest bidder. But as soon as they need some advice, or a skill that they do not have in house, their IT partner must have that experience, be able to source it, and be honest about it… (leading to the next point.)
There is of course a challenge here, in that customers do not often know what they don’t know. Which is why as trust builds, they will come to ask.
We have found that this is the most important element in the customers we have won and kept. It is quite straight forward, and is achieved in the main, by using the following 4 statements, truthfully!
- We can do it.
- We can find someone to do it.
- We can’t do it.
- We charge a fair price for doing it.
It’s not difficult really, is it! – what we see is that the pressures applied to staff in some companies can force these above statements to be avoided (or ignored). Stick to the basics, keep it simple, be honest. Our daily lives are already too busy and complicated to try and avoid the truth, so just be honest.
Value for Money:
It is surprising how often we find our competitors ‘taking advantage’ of a customer who does not have the experience to know better. Whether that is ‘Marking up’ O365 renewals, quoting for hardware that is not required, or purposefully choosing to under-deliver the service they have been commissioned to provide. Sure, if a customer is only looking for the cheapest price, then the suppliers will look to where they can cut corners, to cut cost and win the business. However, this often results in an unsatisfied customer. After many years in business, we have found that if we can justify the cost to ourselves, then this is often enough to justify it to our customers – this almost always leads to a best value outcome to our customer.
To conclude, we strive for perfection, yet we understand perfection is not possible all of the time. Problems occur, mistakes are made, scopes are changed, equipment fails. So the last point is one of ownership. When (not if) a problem occurs, it is essential that both parties work together to resolve. But from time to time, that does mean putting your hands up (back to honesty!), taking responsibility, and owning the problem. Sure this can mean difficult conversations, tough decisions, costs and the occasional late night. But we have found that when the problem passes, you can hold your head high, knowing you are doing better than many, and you have just served to increase the trust between you and your customer.
Contact me or any of the 5u team to experience us walking the walk…!
(Written by Liam Ryan.)
If you have questions about this blog, or would like to talk to us about any of our IT services, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org