By: Ian Pugh on August 27th, 2019
Want Customers for Life? Ask Yourself this One Simple Question (Part 2)
Are your customers unwilling to give up their ancient technology? Are they so married to the outdated analog phones, exchange servers, or backup tapes that it is costing you profit and efficiency to support them?
This is such a common pain point, yet not all companies experience it. What separates those who struggle to upgrade, and those who don’t? The answer to this question:
Have you and your customer mutually agreed to the usable lifecycle of the technology you’re recommending?
Not just how long the technology might last, but how long they should use the technology before considering new innovations may positively impact their organization. There is a big difference between the companies who can answer yes, and those who answer no.
Check out Part 1 of Ian's blog series, WHY I LED WITH A MONTHLY PAYMENT WHEN I RAN A TECHNOLOGY COMPANY.
Do These Two Things to Create Lifetime Customers
If you really want to harness the power of clients who rely on you for their technology needs, there are two things you can do to secure Customers for Life®.
First: Have a Recommended Lifespan in Mind
While I was selling UC and other technology, we asked thousands of technology buyers what they thought the usable lifecycle of the technology was. The most common response to the question was: “Jeez, I’m just not sure, what do you think?” Depending on the technology we were recommending, we would suggest a technlogy review. Three years for technologies with rapid innovation like cyber security or Wi-Fi; and five years for longer-lasting Unified Communications and Network Infrastructure.
Second: Prevent Indifference to Aging Technology
The second step to creating a Customer for Life is ensuring your clients aren’t okay with their old technology. If your customer decided to pay cash or has chosen a finance program that allows them to “own” the technology at the end of the term, I can guarantee the response you will get during the technology review: “Things are still working fine, we can connect once we start to see signs of failure.”
Your customers not only expect you to make technology recommendations, they often welcome guidance on how to consume technology. Yes, they may have purchased in a different way from you in the past, but do you really believe that it’s in your customer’s best interest to use technology beyond the lifecycle you’ve now agreed to?
Central to this strategy is managing through the ancient idea of “ownership”. No one wants to own technology anymore. (Take your iPhone for example.) They want to know how long it should last, how to get an outstanding services experience, and then expect to get the next best thing. There is no ownership strategy in cloud or As-A-Service models, and the adoption of this new consumption model is the new normal.
Why Customers for Life Matters to Your Clients Now More Than Ever
Customers for Life isn’t just about you. Your clients aren’t facing the same cyber security threats that they did three years ago. They may not have fully comprehended the implications of UCaaS and cloud on their business 5 years ago.
The pace of innovation means everything is changing all the time in your world. If your customer owns the technology you recommend, they are exposing themselves to new risks and threats, and missing out on critical innovation.
If you agreed that it is important to create lifetime customers, you might be asking yourself: What’s next? What else do I need to do to ensure my customers don’t hang onto their old technology?
In Part 3 of this blog series, I’ll share strategies to guide your team through this transition.
To learn more about offering a monthly payment option to your customers, click on the link below to book an appointment with one of our team members.
Ian Pugh is the Director of Strategic Programs for the Unified Communications & IT Group at GreatAmerica Financial Services. Ian is responsible for the GreatAmerica UC and IT manufacturer programs strategy and serving as a liaison between GreatAmerica and the telecommunications industry, including manufacturers and service providers. Prior to GreatAmerica, Ian spent 15 years of experience in the leadership, sales and marketing roles at Gsolutionz Inc., a UC and collaboration provider in California.