You probably spend a lot of time thinking about ways to prevent technology from interfering with your clients’ precious life moments. During the holiday season, these concerns are dramatically amplified.
Clients who have dragged their heels for weeks or even months are suddenly moving forward with pressing requests. Builders who have fallen behind schedule are cracking the whip in an effort to recoup lost time. As a result, the need to resolve any client service issues takes on a whole new sense of urgency.
At OneVision, our own Integrator Service Desk sees a marked increase in these holiday-related service calls across our partner network. These calls all come in with similar requests for immediate resolution.
“Our music stopped working and I have a big party starting in an hour.”
“We have guests coming over this weekend and the guest room TV is having issues.”
But between fielding requests from clients and builders alike, you too are trying to find a little time for some holiday cheer as well. Time to enjoy with you friends and family, time to unwind and appreciate your hard work. The last thing you need or want during these times is a panicked, after-hours phone call about system failure that’s ruining the fun at one your clients’ homes.
But these emergency calls, laden with urgency and guilt, never seem to leave you with a choice. Most integrators we’ve spoken with take these calls and allow a technology hiccup to ruin their good time in the name of providing excellent customer service.
The good news is that with some forethought, and a bit of deliberate effort, these interruptions can be minimized, or even eliminated altogether.
Make Preventative Care Checkups
A great first step is to market preventative maintenance visits to your existing client base. A certain percentage of your clients will readily pay for these checkups, generating immediate cash flow while vastly reducing the number of service incidents that arise come party time.
Even more importantly however, these visits will deepen relationships with your clients and reinforce their perception of you as a valuable and reliable resource.
Ultimately, this tees up a perfect opportunity to have a conversation about a service plan. Even if you don’t pitch this plan right away, you can rest assured that the groundwork has been laid by demonstrating your proactive approach to quality and service.
Set Up a Dedicated Support Number
Another great way to reduce the interruptions to your life is to set up a dedicated support number and email address, and then direct clients with support requests to those channels exclusively.
Once the traffic starts flowing through a single channel, you can manage the demand in a more structured way.
Set the Right Expectations
You can also take the opportunity to set your clients expectations around response times, whatever they may be. For example, you might offer a one-hour response from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a four-hour response after hours and on the weekends.
We believe your clients will eventually (and usually already do) expect quick, 24/7 support, but in the meantime you should set manageable expectations. No expectations are worse than low expectations, and once you have them in place you can begin to manage your clients with them (e.g. no need to respond to every personal call/email; your clients should be going to your dedicated support system).
If you have enough hands on deck and a committed team, you can use an app called PagerDuty to manage the after-hours management of the service requests.
Taking these steps will not only eliminate emergency calls to your personal phone, but will allow you to track and, in turn, show your clients how much they rely on your service. The data can help you pull the levers with clients who may otherwise sit on the fence when presented with an optional recurring service plan.
Regardless of how you decide to attack and solve this issue during the holiday season, it’s important to stay grounded and remember what matters in your personal life. As an integrator and service provider, you work very hard all year long to ensure that technology doesn’t spoil your clients’ fun. During this year’s holiday season, set aside some time to think about how you can prevent it from ruining yours too.
After all, you deserve some uninterrupted holiday cheer of your own.
For more information about service and using it to create RMR, visit www.onevisionresources.com/blog.