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How will the economic recession affect customer investments in IT solutions, products and services? How can MSPs, vendors, and solution providers maintain and grow their customer base. Strong customer experience (CX), is the key. How will the economic recession affect channel organizations’ investments in IT solutions, services and products? How can managed service/solution vendors grow their customer base? According to speakers at the “Customer Success” session of CompTIA’s 2020 EMEA Partner and Member Conference, strong customer experience (CX), holds the key. Lindsay Willott is the founder and chairman of Customer Thermometer. Mark Paine, senior analyst at Gartner, spoke with Willott about forecasts for customer technology spending and strategies to improve your CX throughout the technology buyer lifecycle.
In 2021, IT spending by customers will decrease slightly
The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 drove customer demand for hardware, edge devices, and security solutions. However, the economic recession that followed it will reduce customer demand for IT products and solutions in 2021. Gartner senior director, analyst Mark Paine explained that IT investments in business process outsourcing, consulting, and consulting will drop 8.5% across all industries over the next 12-18 months. It’s not the exact same around the world. For example, APAC will see an 8.8% decrease in IT spending. The most affected countries are North America and Europe at 10.5%,” Paine stated.
Expected IT budget cuts will cause enterprise and small-to medium business (SMBs) customers to scrutinize each technology provider more closely based on the value and the CX they receive. This includes all interactions your company has with customers throughout their customer lifecycle, from recruitment, purchase, onboarding, implementation, support, renewal, and support. Your customers will be more likely to stick with you if your CX is excellent, consistent engagement, and reliable support. This is especially true in difficult financial times. Strategies to Improve CX
How can vendors and providers ensure that their CX is superior than the rest? These strategies were the focus of Willott & Paine. Create a customer journey map.
Create a customer journey map to visualize how customers interact with your company throughout their lifecycle. CompTIA’s industry councils created the Technology Buyer’s Journey. Login or register to get started (it’s completely free!) Download the Technology Buyer’s Journey. A map shows all the ways customers interact. It can be used to identify how they interact with you online, meet with sales team members to review contract terms or call to ask billing questions.
Paine stated that “Journey mapping ensures the right engagement at significant milestones in the buying journey, which means the right information is delivered to customers at the right time for them to see the value” of their purchase.
2. Increase customer engagement
Channel organizations must increase their customer engagement in a competitive tech environment. While lockdown restrictions may have limited many in-person meetings and physical touchpoints, personalized digital touchpoints can help your business stand out. Willott shared that they used to send customers a book on customer service and a box with chocolates when they signed up. We stopped doing that during COVID as it was not allowed to send to their homes and it is not safe. We realized that we were missing that part of our brand. We created a PDF that included an Amazon voucher and links to books and chocolates that might interest them. Paine also pointed out that customer engagement is crucial in the ownership cycle. Customers are using your products and services. Instead of reacting to customer requests, vendors and MSPs should be proactive in making sure that the product or service is performing well. Over deliver on service.
Service is key to retaining and growing your customer base during economic recessions. Paine said, “Deliver what your customers expect.” And

By Delilah