How clients communicate with you

Old 2 Comments on How clients communicate with you 5

We’re living in the year 2014, and we have so many ways of being connected. Why then, are some businesses so determined (and in some cases outright require you) to only use one method ?

As you know, my company provides 3rd party IT support services to clients. As I’ve said before and as should be expected, I have competition from other businesses that provide similar services. As a business owner, we always look for ways to differentiate ourselves. One of the things I looked at was whether I could change the dynamic of how clients interacted with us.

Traditionally, at least in my area, IT support companies had a phone number. When one of their clients had a trouble, they called the phone number, and they would get support (whether that be a technician dispatched to go on-site or whatever). That was it. That was the single option and single method of requesting support. Now this would have been fine….. in the year 1998. Today we’re living in the year 2014, so maybe there are different ways we can go about communicating ?

So I began looking at options. The first one was obvious: e-mail. I let clients know that they could e-mail us for support. Of course this only works when one user is having issues, or when a change on the network is required (add a new user, delete a user, etc). None the less, I found my clients very receptive to this, and now my company is getting probably 40% of all trouble reports via e-mail. Next, I realized that just about every client we have (and just about every employee they have) has a smartphone. Text messaging is nothing new, so why not introduce that as a communications medium ? After that, I realized that most of us have probably filled out hundreds if not thousands of forms on web pages for things like support and sales requests. So I went and put a ‘support form’ on the web site that clients can fill out and hit ‘submit’ on.

You do need to be careful though and think things through. For example, if I’m out of town or out of a cellular coverage area, then sending me a text message to my smartphone isn’t going to get a response right away. This is where expectation setting and clear communication to your clients is important. My clients know that if I don’t respond to a text message within 20 minutes, they should give the main company number a call.

The more ways your clients can get in touch with you, the better. Remember, people have preferences and they will choose what works best for them and what they’re most comfortable with. If you’re clear with your communication and you’re clear on what expectations your clients should have, having multiple communication tools can really be a benefit to your business.

Author

Martin Lehner

Martin Lehner is an technology professional working for an IT services firm in Whitehorse, Yukon (Canada). He has been working in the technology field for over a decade. With a degree in Business Admin and numerous industry certifications, Martin leads a team of IT professionals that provide third party support for clients. Originally starting a company to offer web development services, Martin quickly realized that clients wanted the entire spectrum of technology services. When Martin is not at work (which is not often, since his company offers 24/7 support), he is busy at home spending time with his family.

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2 Comments

  1. William Oneb June 26, 2014 at 4:48 am

    Hello Martin, I usually let my clients chat with me via WhatsApp – the instant messenger. Through it, I’m able to offer support immediately whenever they need it during business hours. It feels like we are just friends and I agree business owners should have multiple ways of communicating.

  2. Martin Witheford June 26, 2014 at 10:27 am

    I’ve been saying this to my boss for years. Its not the IT industry but the coffee industry i work in while i study. The kitchen might as well be in a different building but every time they need something from the kitchen they would stop serving and walk all the way into the kitchen (basically crossing a human river in a shopping center )to tell me or whoever what they needed then go back and wait for someone to bring it!!!!! Why don’t you just message me?? Well your not supposed to have your phone out at work. Who in there right mind is still offended by a phone? I mean put a temporary sticker on it with the brand name so people know your working its so strange that communication the quickest and fastest and cheapest way while i admit can be distracting is completely cut off at work. I mean the customers can even use an app to pre order there drink. So help yourself use some technology in communications. Am i being too liberal about this?

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