So you look at your monthly customer report and you are 2-3 customers down on last month, but they hadn’t said anything about switching systems and last you heard they still wanted to use Dynamics. You do some investigating, and guess what? They still use Dynamics but went to a different provider. You’ve lost a customer out of the blue, and you thought everything was fine! So what happened? In this blog, I discuss 3 reasons why end-customers are leaving their current provider and 3 ways in which you can help avoid this happening to your business. Straight from someone who talks to end-customers on a daily basis!
The first reason starts at the very beginning as they become a customer of Microsoft Dynamics, this is the implementation step. It might surprise providers that they lose customers at this very first stage when they have barely even gotten out of the starting gate. This happens for a couple of different reasons, mainly to do with the relationship between end-customer and partner. The initial trust-building is super important for not only implementation but for the whole relationship, from first meeting to support post-implementation.
The main points that end-customers inform us what happens are:
- The provider doesn’t tell them all the upfront costs – suddenly springing costs on them when they are already in the project
- The customer is told the project won’t cost a lot and then adds “extras”, each of which costs and does not always inform them of changes/difficulties in the project.
This can lead to a breakdown in communication between the end-customer and the provider, and as such, they will go and use our service at Dynamics 365 Providers to find a new provider that can help them. Be honest and upfront with them, and also make sure they are looked after.
So how do we fix this problem? It’s relatively simple, it is all about being open and honest with the end-customer. Your job as a Provider is to help them get a new IT system for their business and provide the best service that you can, while also explaining the risks/issues/problems about the system they want and manage that trust they have in you. In the end, providers are only in business because end-customers need new IT systems, they want to have it implemented and they need the support to help them keep their business growing.
This leads onto the second reason, the support that happens post-implementation, or in the cases we see, the lack of support and interaction. So, you’ve completed the implementation and the customer is up and running on their brand new Dynamics system. So what is the next step?
- Training and Support! Having a new system is fantastic, but it is only as good as it’s users, and that’s where the provider comes in as a vital cog in the machine. Too many times we have end-customers come to us with issues regarding both training and support, and the fact they haven’t received any, or that has it has been lacklustre.
- The biggest frustration with this is that the end-customer has paid the provider for this service! So they feel doubly hurt that they’ve paid for a service they haven’t received, AND now they need to find (and pay) a new provider to actually do a proper job. This doesn’t sit well with them at all and leads to a lot of unhappiness and distrust with both the provider and Microsoft Dynamics overall.
- Customers even tell us they have paid for a year of support with a provider and had not heard a single word from them, even after multiple contact attempts! No wonder they want to switch!
So how does a provider go about fixing this issue?
By regularly checking in with their customers, keeping the dialogue open and not promising more than they can deliver. Here at QBS Group we look after every size of provider, from 2/3 people, right up to huge multinationals, and each presents their own specific set of challenges. As a small provider, you want to assist your customer base as much as possible, but you only have a limited amount of people. You know all your customers personally and have probably personally visited all of them. So how do you provide support/training for all these customers? You need to be honest and open with them, discuss what it is they are looking for and help set the bar about what you’re able to help them with and how quickly you can help them in times of crisis. Trust us when we say end-customers don’t always mind if it takes a bit longer when they get personalised service. But say you’re a multinational Provider, how can you make sure companies don’t become a number, as you have plenty of support people to help out all of them? You need to set times as the owner of the end-customer accounts to check in with your customers and see if they need help and to touch-base as to how everything is going for them.
It is all about care, and people want that human interaction and to see that even though you’re a massive company, you still care about them all individually. Whether it’s once a week, a fortnight, or once a month, having that call with them will help you keep on top of the relationship (and fix the things that aren’t working!)
Both of the previous two reasons help us look at the third reason, setting the correct expectations! Nothing is worse for an end-customer than being kept in the dark, and there is nothing that destroys trust quicker than either setting the wrong expectations or not even setting expectations at all. So many times, end-customers have no idea what to expect from their provider as that boundary has never been put in place, or it has been broken multiple times and now the end-Customer is hurt/lost/confused about what to do with their system and needs help to get back on track, or risk moving to a totally different provider/system altogether!
Fixing this is the simplest of the three reasons, it’s all about setting expectations, but most importantly, actually meeting the expectation you’ve set!
- If you say you are going to do something, whether it’s around implementation, support, or even setting up that first meeting, make sure you, as a provider, actually go and do it. It is the easiest way to build their trust, and as they are the lifeblood of your business, the easiest way to keep their (and your) business moving forward and growing year on year. Don’t get us wrong, sometimes things will change, and you’ll no longer be able to meet those expectations, and that is fine, but it has to be an open dialogue with the end-customer and tell them what has happened and discuss with them what the next steps are. This is perfectly acceptable, and will actually help build trust as you were open and honest. However, if this constantly happens, we suggest making sure the original expectations next time are shifted, so you live and you learn, and you grow as a business and most importantly, you keep your customers!
So in this blog post, we discussed how the 3 reasons of Implementation, Support and Expectations can be the deciding factors as to why end-customers leave their current providers. As a provider, there are simple but effective steps you can take to make sure you don’t lose your customers to the competition and look after your install base. It focuses around open and honest communication with the customer and if you are a Salesperson, having those initial conversations will help build trust in you and the product, and help in the long run. If you are an Account Manager (and you’re not already), make time every week, fortnight, or month to check in with your customers and make sure everything is going in the right direction!
Follow these simple steps and not only will your end-customers stay with you and their business grow, but also your business will grow as a result and everyone will be happy!
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