IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Customer Experience: A Growing Imperative for Channel Pros

A recent CompTIA study finds the channel needs to embrace an omnichannel approach to both communications and go-to-market delivery strategies. By Colleen Frye

ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION to customer experience (CX)? It’s becoming increasingly important across all industries, and the channel is no exception. CompTIA recently surveyed U.S. IT companies about how they are improving their customer touchpoints, from recruitment and sales to technical and business support to renewal and retention.

Respondents to the Customer Experience Trends in the Channel study say top reasons to improve their CX include the evolution of tools that require customer interactions (such as chat bots), customer retention, competitive advantage, profits/revenue, and younger client preferences.

Asked to rate their performance on CX activities, respondents say they are doing best at technical support, customer support, and training. Retention/renewal, recruitment/business development, and customer onboarding are where they need improvement.

Source: Customer Experience Trends in the Channel, CompTIA, July 2019

Process is key to CX, CompTIA says, writing that “the vast majority of channel firms today have at least some degree of formalization in place for the basic business actions that take place as part of customer relationship management.” Forty-two percent have formalized customer support for tasks such as billing and payments, and a third have done so for technical support.

Those who report little to no formalization cite lack of staff to focus on process (56%), being too busy running the day-to-day business (47%), and insufficient resources/price (43%) as obstacles.

CompTIA notes that customers today want to be able to deal with IT providers through any technology they choose, so the channel needs to embrace an omnichannel approach to both communications and go-to-market delivery strategies.

The good news is 3 in 10 respondents say they have moved to an omnichannel approach in the last year, including enabling purchasing and support via chat/video chat, email, social media, and other platforms. Other steps respondents have taken include retraining technical staff, introducing a multidevice approach to serve customers, and redesigning their website to feature automated tools such as chat bots. What steps have you taken?

Image: iStock

About the Author

Colleen Frye's picture

Colleen Frye is ChannelPro's managing editor.

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