We live in a feedback-driven world where opinions and viewpoints matter. Whether in social feeds, product review sites and video reviews, customer reviews are a major force supporting the buyer journey, and brands’ marketing spend in this area is increasing. So, in a global market that is seeing steady double digit growth (CAGR) of 11% through 2024 (SolarWinds, 2018) what is it that makes MSPs different than other segments in terms of finding value in customer reviews?
Where reviews work:
Maybe you only look at negative reviews (how bad it could be), maybe you only look at highly favorable reviews (how good it could be). Whatever the case, you have come to accept the basic idea that aggregated customer reviews are a strong indicator of reputation and trust (G2). In a rapidly evolving digital economy, opinions matter. The shared experience of many carries weight and helps others in the buying process.
The goal of reviews, feedback, and other active voice of the customer techniques is to leverage the voice of the customer to demonstrate credibility, reputation, and enhance sales and marketing exposure. In short, reviews work- usually.
Why reviews don’t work for MSPs:
One area where reviews work great are product reviews. However, product-oriented markets are transactional. The value exchange (what buyers perceive to be getting for their money) is based on features, workflow automation, and other productivity gains in exchange for a license or subscription fee.
MSPs are service oriented. They focus on meeting service expectations at the point of service. The value exchange is based on domain expertise, technical competency, and process efficiency. These businesses are service-oriented and people dependent, creating the potential for variability, inconsistency and lack of dependability. Contracts are long term which creates implications for meeting service expectations both short term and over the long haul. Managed applications, managed IT, managed security services are representative examples of types of managed services offered.
To effectively evaluate services-oriented businesses, a different approach is needed.
If not reviews for MSPs, then what?
Leading MSPs are innovating on their customer feedback approaches. They go far beyond annual surveys and quarterly business reviews. They seek customer feedback that is tightly integrated with customer touchpoints in areas such as onboarding, technical support and points of service and business reviews. Through automation, this approach effectively creates an automated feedback generation process that creates large amounts of active customer data points.
When aggregated, leaders have an active repository of customer insight data that can be used to tune and improve business. These tightly integrated customer interactions are analogous to an employee performance review, except, in this model, performance is evaluated by the customer at every customer touchpoint.
This dynamic dataset is used to monitor and continually focus and improve service related processes across service lines, customer groups and across geographies. Leading service providers even use the customer feedback data to quantify employee incentives and bonuses. And, the data can be used to support and inform business teams during quarterly business reviews with customers.
If your business utilizes MSP offerings to support any of your business functions look critically at their customer engagement approach. Do they provide a way for customers to provide feedback at the point of service? Do they incorporate this data in annual, semi-annual, quarterly business reviews? Do they actively ask you “how can we improve?”
We are very interested in fostering an open dialogue on this topic, so if you have any thoughts, comments, or experience to share please do so in the comments below to help enhance and create an active discussion.