This Post Originally Appeared on CEPro.com on December 14, 2016
When clients experience quick response time, they begin to see integrator service/support as a path of least resistance to resolving technology challenges.
In OneVision’s previous life, we served as the exclusive Technology Manager for about 40 families in the Boston area. On average, we received about 50 support requests every week. This meant that, on average, each one of our clients was calling us for support at least once a week.
While some integrators might look at this high call volume as a distraction (or wonder if this was due to poor work quality), we discovered something entirely different: a significant opportunity.
Clearly there was a strong demand for always-available, extraordinarily helpful tech support, and we had built a business that was effectively capitalizing on it.
But before we found success, we had to learn a key lesson about providing our clients with something we call the Path of Least Resistance.
30 Minute Response Time
When we started OneVision in its original form, we didn’t respond instantly to every support request. Instead, we did what most integrators do: we evaluated each request on a case-by-case basis and only responded instantly to those we felt warranted immediate attention.
A lot of these issues were either so complicated that they required an on-site visit or were simply resolved with a remote power cycle. However, on the advice of one of our clients, we eventually adjusted our approach and started responding within 30 minutes to every single email or phone call.
We were not aiming to resolve every request within 30 minutes, but to simply provide clients with peace of mind that we received their request, evaluated its urgency, and set expectations for next steps.
We experienced a dramatic increase in our call frequency. This taught us that our previous delay in response had actually suppressed demand. Our clients hadn’t seen us as an efficient pathway to resolving their technology issues.
As a result, many of these clients, knowing we would not respond right away, would try to fix problems on their own instead or relying on us. Often times, their efforts to fix the problem only made things worse resulting in the need for on-site support due to the increased complexity of the situation.
Other clients would opt to “just live with it,” allowing their systems to limp along. Eventually this led to a small problem becoming a big one.
“I have a party in an hour and now I need my music working!”
Either way, we were not receiving a call or email until the problem had become so urgent that the need for professional support could no longer be ignored.
Call Frequency Goes Up, Value Goes Up
As soon as our clients experienced our quick and reliable response time, they began to see us as the path of least resistance to resolving their challenges. Because of this, the very nature of our client relationships changed. The service we were providing became less about damage control and more about everyday technology guidance.
They had begun to see us as their personal technology manager, their partner and advocate. This ultimately meant that emergency reboots and complicated issues requiring on-site visits became an increasingly small portion of the requests we received.