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BaerBe honest. Does your MSP provide exceptional customer service? Odds are you don’t. Jay Baer, author of Hug Your Haters, explained at Content Marketing World last month that 80 percent of businesses say they deliver exceptional customer service, but only 8 percent of customers agree. That’s a major disconnect.

MSPs should see this as an opportunity. Jay pointed out that exceptional customer service is so rare it’s memorable, and that can work in your favor. By delivering memorable MSP customer service experiences, you can differentiate your MSP from the competition and grow your business by attracting — and retaining — more customers.

How to you make that happen? Here are a few ways to get started:

1. Stop ignoring complaints

No one like dealing with an unhappy customer, but complaints aren’t something that should just be brushed off. In his presentation, Jay said his research shows that one-third of customer complaints are never answered. That takes a bad situation and makes it worse because no response really is a response. It gives customers the impression that their complaint or question doesn’t matter. Plus, according to Jay, ignoring complaints decreases advocacy.

Think of unhappy customers, or haters as Jay called them, as the canary in the coal mine. Their complaint is not unique, and they represent a significant number of customers will similar problems who haven’t taken the time to raise the issue. Jay explained that out of 100 dissatisfied customers, only five will actually complain.

On the other hand, Jay said that when you respond to complaints, customer advocacy increases. This doesn’t mean you need to solve every problem, though. Just acknowledging the complaint and letting the customer know that they’ve been heard makes it a more positive experience. That’s why you need to answer every customer, every time—whether they’re calling the help desk, sending an email, or posting on social media.

2. Foster feedback

In addition to changing how you respond to complaints, you should also change your approach to gathering those complaints. It might seem counterintuitive, but as an MSP, you want to get more complaints, not less. As Jay explained it, in order to get fewer complaints, you first need to solicit more complaints so you know what you need to improve.

To get more feedback from your customers, you need to increase the touchpoints you have with customers, making it easier for them to share feedback with you. You also need to start asking for feedback more often. This could include adding a page for feedback or reviews on your website, sending out a customer survey, or adding a call to action asking for feedback in your email newsletter. Setting up regular check-ins with your customers gives you the opportunity to update them on the work you’re doing and go over any questions they might have. This will help strengthen your relationship with the customer and make them more likely to share candid feedback with you.

3. Prioritize current customers

The numbers back up the importance of providing good customer service, particularly to current customers. Jay explained that 62 percent of B2B customers buy more after a good customer service experience, and advocacy increases.

Customer retention is key, particularly for managed service providers, but we don’t act like it. According to Jay, 40 percent of revenue at an average B2B company comes from current customers, but they typically spend only 2 percent of their budget on customer service.

As an MSP, you should invest more in building these customer relationships, whether that means focusing on improving help desk experiences or freeing up your sales team to spend more time on current customers. If you can exceed expectations in these types of customer interactions, it will lead to better word of mouth and more referrals.

In his presentation, Jay pointed to this video from Dutch airline KLM as an example of a company massively exceeding expectations by working to return forgotten items before customers even knew they were missing.

As an MSP, you might not be able to train a dog to find your customers’ lost files, but think about what you can do to delight customers and make customer service a more positive experience for them.

4. Make it a team effort

It’s also important to make customer service a group effort. That means talking to customers more, and working with the teams that have the most contact with customers to learn what they’re looking for and questions that are often asked. This kind of teamwork can help your marketing team find out what kind of content they should be providing on the website or the blog, and it can help you uncover new products and services you should be offering.

As Jay Baer put it in his presentation at Content Marketing World, “Customers will tell you what they want; you just have to listen harder.”

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Anne Campbell

Posted by Anne Campbell

Anne Campbell is the public relations manager for Barracuda. She's been with the organization since 2014, working on content and public relations for Barracuda MSP, the MSP-dedicated business unit of Barracuda. She started her career in newspaper and magazine journalism, and she brings that editorial point of view the work she does, using it to help craft compelling stories.

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