YOU KNOW EXCELLENCE when you see it, whether it’s the Bentley Flying Spur driving by, the Patek Philippe watch in the jeweler’s window, the $1,000 a night hotel suite, or Tom Brady winning another trophy. Your customers also know excellence, and they expect it with every experience—a call they make for support, a quote request, or a meeting to discuss ways to improve their business. When you disappoint them, they have a much easier time switching MSPs than you have of winning the Super Bowl (seven for Tom).
Delivering an excellent customer experience, or CX, will attract loyal fans who willingly pay a premium, refer their friends, and stick with you long-term. Conversely, an unpleasant customer experience stays with customers, causing some to refuse to do business with you any longer, according to Erica Martinez-Rose, CEO of Tech Rage IT, an MSP in Winter Springs, Fla.
Customer experience is distinctly different from customer service. Service is what you provide to the customer, but “experience is what the customer feels about what they’re going through,” says Stanley Louissaint, founder and principal of Fluid Designs, an MSP in Union City, N.J.
CX is “the way I’m treated from beginning to end when interacting with a product or service, adds Martinez-Rose.
In the big picture, CX is “the overall impression that a customer has of a brand, company, or service provider throughout all elements of the relationship,” says Marc Bodner, senior director of business development for American Technology Services, an IT services business in Fairfax, Va.
When you think excellent CX, think of businesses like Apple, Disney, and Carvana, says George Humphrey, vice president and managing director for the Technology & Services Industry Association, a research and advisory firm in San Diego. “They obsess over the experience,” he notes. Every Disney Park provides a well-planned presentation, just like every McDonald’s offers a consistent menu and dining environment. “Disney is the happiest place on earth,” he says. “You’ll pay a premium for the experience, but you’ll love it.”
Price will always be a factor when choosing an MSP, Bodner says, but “almost any business owner of any size prefers a frictionless relationship over saving a few dollars.” To Bodner, a frictionless CX is the key contributor to customer retention.
Juan Fernandez, former MSP and now CEO of the consulting firm MSP Growth Coalition, agrees. “If you remove friction from your customer, there’s no reason for them to look at other providers.”
Humphrey points to Amazon Web Services as a provider of frictionless sales. “With AWS, you get on with three clicks,” he says. Humphrey contrasts that experience with purchasing storage as a service from a major hardware vendor: First, users must find it on their website, educate themselves, decide what they want, fill in the information, and then get told after all that time and trouble they must wait for someone to get back to them.
For Louissaint, a frictionless interaction means “white glove” service. “Everything I do is white glove, and I ensure every touch of the client works to make things as easy as possible for them,” he explains. For example, his clients don’t enter tickets; “they talk to a human” at his answering service, who asks questions to make sure the customer gets what they need. Plus, as a solo shop, he’s involved in every customer contact. “I’m the person interacting with clients, a real benefit.”