In our previous blog, we talked about those negative triggers that can cause a client to leave. That’s the worst case scenario part of the client journey, and while it’s good to keep the negative in mind so you make sure to avoid it, it’s probably more important to focus on creating positive experiences. These amazing experiences can take a client to the evangelist stage, which is where the real power lies, especially in a business that depends so heavily on referrals and word of mouth.
The Client Journey
The client journey basically goes from awareness through the process of becoming a client, onboarding and then to, ideally, becoming an evangelist. Your role is to help guide this process, and this is best accomplished by seeing the journey through the eyes of the client. This McKinsey article explains how this works for a customer setting up a utility, which is fairly analogous to a customer signing on with a new managed service provider.
The client’s goal isn’t to onboard with a new MSP; it’s to make sure that all their IT works at all times. You already have a pretty good sense of what you need to do on your end to set them up and service their tickets, but it helps to look at it from their perspective as well, so that you anticipate some of the things that might get in the way of a superlative client experience.
There’s an old article in the Harvard Business Review that explains how to use diagrams to map out the customer journey.
Getting to Evangelist
The most mysterious step in the entire customer journey is getting from having a happy client to having an evangelist, someone that raves about your service and sends you new business. It’s not always easy to predict who will be an evangelist.
A lot of companies want to get a commitment for good feedback right after the onboarding process. This is when a new app you’ve downloaded pings you, or Amazon wants you to review your purchase. The logic is sound. At this point, the client has just had a positive experience (and if it wasn’t positive this is when you want to know about it).
But there’s a case to be made that you want to convert to the evangelist stage a little further down the line. After some months have gone by, the client will have built up a variety of experiences with you. There may have been an opportunity for you to deal with a crisis, or remedy an error. You may have had several great service desk interactions that they can speak to. There’s just more weight to an evangelist who is speaking from months or years of experience, versus someone who has merely happily onboarded.
As for who becomes an evangelist, that’s always going to be a bit of a mystery. Some people are natural cheerleaders, while others might just prefer to stay in the background. So knowing that, it’s definitely good to ask a lot of your clients to help. Your biggest evangelist might turn out to be someone you never expected.
Creating amazing client experiences is something that requires understanding client needs, and then making sure all aspects of your business are aligned towards meeting those needs. Every MSP has its own approach to that, so as long you keep focused on the end goal, you’ll be all right.
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