February 1, 2016
In January 2016, B2B research firm, Clutch.co, released a study on the current and future relationship between technology service providers and their small-to-medium-sized-business (SMB) clientele. Mindsight was asked by Clutch to provide insight on their findings and help contextualize the data. The survey consisted of over 400 executives in decision-making positions within companies with 1-500 employees.
Interestingly, the study found two conflicting ideas in the industry. Many SMB companies are unhappy with their IT consultant or service provider, yet 39% of SMBs who do use a technology service provider intend to increase their spending in the coming year.
At Mindsight, we have an idea as to why this may be the case and how to improve client rapport.
The Importance of Customer Service
In a nutshell, Chicago IT consultants need to exhibit the same levels of customer service that have become second nature in B2C operations. This need for quality customer service traces all the way back to the reason an SMB would hire an IT consultant in the first place. It’s about saving time and saving headaches. Ed Kapelinski, President of Mindsight, explained to Clutch in the study,
“Organizations of all sizes turn to IT consultants and engineering firms for a variety of reasons, the most notable of which is time. The internal staff’s time is often monopolized by system administration and expanding existing services to the rest of the company. This dynamic leaves little time to study and gain expertise on the ever-innovating advanced technologies available. Smaller organizations outsource IT to ensure that they have expert level engineering resources necessary to guide critical decisions and solve issues.”
The last thing a client needs is for their time to be wasted, and poor customer service distorts communication and slows the process down. As an IT consultant, it is our responsibility to ensure that we supply value on all levels of the partnership. Kapelinski went on to add,
“A client wants two things—their problems solved, and to feel like they matter to the consultant…Stress to your team the importance of the client’s satisfaction, instill in them a customer service mindset, and be sure to regularly survey the client experience after each engagement.”
Mindsight addresses these two levels of customer service by staffing highly certified and experienced engineers ready to provide timely solutions to advanced technology problems. At the same time, we seek to cultivate long term relationships by acting as an expert consultative resource for the current situation and any problems that may arise in the future.
Managed Services Rising in Popularity
The Clutch.co study also investigated, among other issues, the rising importance and appeal of Managed Services arrangements. Managed Services is a more involved relationship between consultant and client. Instead of the traditional break-fix model similar to an auto repair shop, Managed Services acts more as a partnership. The client signs a contract to offload some monitoring or administrative responsibilities onto the IT consultant, so the in-house IT staff can focus on more strategic, high-level objectives.
Clutch found that 59% of arrangements between clients and their IT consultants follow the Managed Service contract model. Kapelinski noted that there are benefits to both approaches and the distinguishing characteristic lies more with the client that the service itself.
“For applications that can be implemented through both models, it is a matter of cost and trust. A contract can provide a cost cap for certain applications. There’s a comfort in knowing precisely how much something is going to cost in the coming year, and that reduces the level of risk involved. At the same time, companies may be hesitant to commit to one organization or another. A contract locks you in.”
Still, even with value in both payment methods, certain projects are more suited to one over the other. For example, 70% of cloud and 69% of voice partnerships surveyed are Managed Services. This could be due to the level of importance of each service. For many companies if the phones don’t work or the data is inaccessible, it paralyzes the company. Companies feel more secure with a trusted consultant on standby ready to assist reactively and proactively when necessary. Contact Mindsight today to learn more about our consulting services and solutions.
Small Business IT Survey 2016
This has only been a snippet of the findings outlined in the Clutch.co survey. The full report is available to read for free on their website.
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Mindsight, a Chicago IT consultancy and services provider, is an extension of your team. Our culture is built on transparency and trust, and our team is made up of extraordinary people – the kinds of people you would hire. We’ve always prided ourselves in delivering the full spectrum of IT services and solutions, from design and implementation to support and management. Our highly-certified engineers and process-oriented excellence have certainly been key to our success. But what really sets us apart is our straightforward and honest approach to every conversation, whether it is for a local business or global enterprise. Our customers rely on our thought leadership, responsiveness, and dedication to solving their toughest technology challenges.