Keep Your Customers Happy (for the Local Tech Consultants Amongst Us)

If you’re a local technology consultant you need a lot of perseverance, patience, guts, smarts, connections and great customer service. The market for local computer consultants is huge and there’s more competitors in your neck of the woods than Starbucks.
Best Buy, Dell, CDW, Circuit City’s Fire Dog, dozens of national providers and thousands of your local peers are all out to help small businesses with their technology consulting needs – what are you going to do?
You don’t have the advertising budget to compete with them? You don’t have the national footprint they have?
The key is to ensure that your customers don’t just “like” you, but “love” you.
Computer Reseller News writes The numbers back up James’ experience. According to CMP Channel Group’s quarterly business spending survey, 66.5 percent of small companies and 60.8 percent of midsize companies say responsiveness influences whether they think they’ve had a good experience with a solution provider, ahead of technical savvy, timeliness, understanding of business goals and whether they met expected goals.
Happy customers are more likely to refer new customers as well. Of small-business customers that have had good experiences, 54.1 percent responded that they were extremely likely to act as references and 30.3 percent responded that they were fairly likely to do so. Midsize businesses had similar responses with 50.5 saying they were extremely likely and 34 percent said they were fairly likely to act as references for solution providers they liked.

Your clients want a consultant that’s smart and knows “his” (or her) stuff, but they also want a consultant that has a human dimension – who can speak well, explain the solutions in simple terms and listens to their problems and concerns.
If you’re a local technology consultant and you want to ensure that your business grows and is not stagnant then focusing on customer service should be (must be) a huge part of your business.
If your business is growing, this is even more important. If your business has grown from just you and 5 clients to you, a staff of 10 and 50 clients then you are probably not able to have face time with each customer as much as you would like.
You must implement a system to get feedback from customers before a problem happens – not when they’ve gone to the competition because they were not satisfied with your work or something.
Your technicians see and interact with the customer more than you do (assuming you’re in the growth stage of business). Impress upon them that they are more than “just technicians” but that they are also customer service representatives of your business. If problems occur they should let you know. If course if THEY are the problem they might be a bit cautious of telling you – so it’s important that you are someone you designate check with the customer directly.