While the IT world plows forward with digital transformation and new technologies, what clients need from their IT solution providers is often a lot more basic. Typically, end clients are more concerned with keeping the lights on and getting their money’s worth from their solution provider.
The most important thing to remember when discussing technology with clients is they’d rather be doing something else. Clients of course recognise they need their laptops, email, printers and servers, but they don’t want to have to think about them. More often than not, they think about technology when something is going wrong, and that turns the dynamic between client and solution provider into a negative.
You can make it more positive by addressing the basics – help them with technology decisions, deliver products at a competitive price, and keep their IT environments running as close to trouble-free as possible.
Help With Decisions
Because most clients don’t want to think about technology, you should do as much of the legwork as possible when they need new solutions.
Tell them which laptops are best for their employees based on how they use the machines. Help them with WiFi needs, and determine which applications best suit their business needs, what printers to buy and whether users should buy smartphones for their employees or let them use their own for work. Make sure they understand the importance of data backups and UPS (uninterrupted power supply) systems to protect their critical business data. In addition, help your end users extend the life expectancy of their equipment to maximise their ROI.
Customers look to you for guidance when making tough decisions on how to spend their limited technology budget to support their businesses. You need to be ready to:
Deliver Competitive Pricing
Now, more than ever, many clients are extremely budget-conscious, which means the pressure to provide the lowest pricing is ever-present. This isn’t something you can ignore because if you do, you’ll lose price-driven clients who will shift their business to a provider that gives them the price they want.
To address this challenge, you should be aware of what others are charging for similar services. This should help you remain competitive without putting yourself out of business. If you can’t meet a customer’s price demand, be sure to explain why you believe you are charging them the best possible price. Many times a specific product they need may cost more than they thought. In most cases, if you can articulate the importance of value vs. price, your client will understand why something costs what it does, especially if it means they won’t have to keep calling for service or repairs.
Provide Good Service
Your client relationships are heavily dependent on how well you perform troubleshooting, maintenance and helpdesk tasks. You have to be available and ready to address issues within a reasonable amount of time. When your clients need you, be there for them.
If you fail to address these areas, you are putting your relationship with the client at substantial risk. While this may seem pretty basic – and the client may not even see it as much more than keeping the lights on – the reality is, the better you perform at delivering the basics, the more likely you are to retain the client for the long term. As you build trust, clients will turn to you to provide more than the basics. They’ll want to consult with you on strategic decisions and expect you to introduce them to new technologies that support their strategies.
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