Years ago, we implemented a new customer feedback module where after each ticket gets closed, the customer receives a email where they can give us a quick rating with a single click. And we take that feedback very seriously and encourage any and all responses – good, bad, or otherwise.
While this kind of customer feedback is great and valuable, the most useful feedback for us is feedback that is gathered without our involvement or influence. We can only get better if we can get honest feedback, so we figured the best way to do it was to have somebody else gather it. So last year we hired a third-party research firm to contact and schedule meetings with 20 clients (including a former client), both in Anchorage and in Bend. A few highlights:
- The bulk majority of the clients interviewed (including the former client) rated us a 10 on the Net Promoter (NPS) scale. Nobody rated us lower than an 8.
- The feedback across the 11 various criteria metrics was very good. Our top-scoring metrics were Relationship, Quality, System Performance, and Overall – all at 4.7 (out of 5) or higher. Our worst rating was a 4.5, which is still a solid A-rating.
- There were loads of wonderful comments from our clients about great knowledgeable service, customer service, communication and response times.
- The results say we communicate very well and are really good at explaining technical things to non-technical people. It also says we are good at communicating to technical people (as we have clients that have their own in-house IT staff that work with us), and making sure those technical people know if we don’t think what they’re doing is the right thing for their business (and why we feel that way).
While the majority of the comments and results were positive, we wouldn’t be doing this unless we actually learned something from this whole process. Some of the areas that came up that we’re putting plans in place to improve on:
- Strategic planning: Some clients need and value this kind of planning more than others. We prefer to be known as a partner in your business, but we also understand the value of your time and don’t want to take you away from getting your work done. We’re in the process of restructuring many of our account management practices to make sure the clients who want this kind of planning are getting that kind of help and those who just want simple and quick check-ins are getting that as well.
- Support Team Expertise: Employee turnover is a reality in every business. And while we have a lot of long-time folks on our team, we do occasionally have to hire new folks (either as growth necessitates or because of staff turnover). We do try to make sure we cross-train our team whenever possible and write up good documentation so new team members can get up and running on a client’s environment quickly, but we can certainly do a better job of it. We are also making a point to get more vendor certifications and training for our techs (including more Microsoft and Sonicwall training) so that we can continue to be the technical subject matter experts for your business.
- Some of our clients said we need to do a better job of introducing our team members to clients as they are (understandably) wary when a new person contacts them about their IT services and support. We do try to get you introductions to our team when we hire a new person, and will continue to find new ways to make sure you know the person on the other end of the phone line isn’t trying to phish you.
- Cost: Right up front, we always tell prospective clients that are shopping around that we are not going to be the cheapest. We’re not cheap, and if you’re shopping for an IT company based strictly on price, we’re going to be a disappointment. Instead of offering the lowest cost possible (and as a result, lower quality and responsiveness), we focus on how we can provide the highest value. We define value as feeling you got more for your investment than what you paid, and our goal is to make that value as high as possible. We saw this in the feedback where existing clients mentioned that while we were not the cheapest, they really valued what we were doing for them and the impact it had on their organizations. That being said, we do feel we’re the best at what we do, we choose the vendors and products that will best protect your environment, and will always try to prove our value and worth to you. Once clients join us, however, and have been with us for a while, they will frequently tell us how they’d get rid of a things before they got rid of us as we’re just too valuable for their business (many of the clients who included comments about cost also included a note about how our value to them is very high).
All in all, it was a very valuable experience for us and we will continue to take any and all feedback to heart. Thanks to all the folks who participated and worked with the research firm to help us get better at what we do!