Chances are, you’ve been on the receiving end of frustrating customer experience, where your service provider is unresponsive, unable to sufficiently answer your questions, or maybe just sold you a bill of goods from the beginning. And hopefully, you’ve been on the receiving end of a satisfying experience, where the service provider customizes your purchase to meet your needs, answers your questions quickly and thoughtfully, and treats you like a priority.
It’s not necessarily bad people in the frustrating scenario. It’s possible that they’re just following poor customer service practices. So, what are the best practices to serve customers in every phase of the journey?
That’s the question we’ll explore in this series.
Part 3: Implementation
Break the Ice
Implementation can shape the entire customer experience, but let’s face it: customizing software for organizational needs is not the most exciting process. It’s not only tedious for customers, but it’s a daunting task depending on the size and scope of the organization.
Our job is to make it as painless as possible. I don’t want my customers to dread every implementation task and call with me, so I need to keep my energy up and be personable, especially on the first call. I tell a lot of jokes. Most of them are bad, but hey, Michael Jordan took a lot of shots to get all those points.
I find that smiling while you talk helps bring your energy up.
Goals and Expectations
Some customers know exactly what they want to accomplish and when it needs to be completed. Some look to their implementation specialist for guidance. For Samanage customers, it all depends on their experience with ITSM solutions and what else they have going on within the organization at the time.
Whatever the case, it’s our job to make sure we’re all clear on timelines and due dates for each step of our implementation. There are tools that can help. We organize the process with a Trello board. We have to remember that while we’ve done a million of these, this is our customer’s first experience. It’s hard for them to set realistic goals and expectations if they’ve never done it before. We need to make sure they don’t feel overwhelmed, so it helps to get some objectives on a calendar at the start.
There’s only so much we can get done in a one hour session, so it’s our job to be proactive in the downtime. We’ll work on some of the input or set up in between sessions, and we’ll give them goals to complete before our next call as well. This way, we can both ask and answer questions at the start of a call to finish up whatever we were working on.
Our customers know their organizations better than we do, so it’s important that we listen to try to fit our product to suit their needs. If a customer is falling behind, we need to call, email, or send tips to get them back on schedule.
Customer for a reason
If their old practices were working, they wouldn’t be here. Our job is to think outside of the customer’s box. We’re experts on our product, and they’re paying for our expertise. I’m very transparent when it comes to best practices and processes, so if I think something is “crap” I am going to call it that. As long as we explain why, and help them improve the process, our honesty is important.
I love implementations because this stage is often the crossroads between a successful journey and a frustrating one. Poor implementations might cause our product to make their lives even harder than they were before. Successful implementations help our customers meet their organizational needs quickly. It’s the foundation that leads to all the benefits later on.
This post is based on most common Samanage practices. Depending on an organization’s size and needs, the customer journey may vary.
Coming soon: Ongoing support of customer needs.
About Joseph Brown
Joseph is the Product Manager, ITSM at SolarWinds, ensuring the SolarWinds Service Desk meets customer needs and market demands.
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