Customer Boot Camp Revisited (Helping Customers Succeed)
Providing additional consulting services and products can be a win-win, but only if your focus is on helping customers succeed.
This article continues our reminiscences about the Sage Customer Boot Camp we attended back in 2006, written and presented by Ed Kless and Christine Churchill-Kless.
The previous episodes were about the importance of Account Management and Communication. After a short recess, we have resumed our seats, and are turning the page to the next chapter, titled Helping Customers Succeed.
If you’ve been too focused on the success of your own business to think about that of your customers, this might inspire you to realign your priorities.
As before, we find that the world has changed in some profound ways over the past 15 years, but the key principles when it comes to serving customers are timeless.
Recognizing a Need
Completing a new ERP implementation means entering the next phase of what should be a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship, with many opportunities to sell additional products and services.
As companies grow and change – or the environment in which they operate changes - their needs change too.
To recognize opportunities, you need to know your customer. To act on them, you need a healthy relationship with 2-way communication.
In short, it means having an ear to the ground and being a trusted advisor.
In 2006, the default setting for product training was a classroom, with all the logistical issues and expenses that entailed. Today’s technology has all but removed those barriers.
Online training means reaching small, geographically dispersed groups has become much more viable. Remember that...
Everyone can benefit from additional training…and it’s also a wonderful opportunity for additional revenue.
New employees are the obvious candidates for hands-on Sage 300 training, but you can reach a wider audience by being a bit more creative. Some of the subject areas suggested in 2006, and still relevant today, were:
- Data Mining (think Info-Explorer, Orchid’s affordable BI tool)
- Customization without Programming (think Extender Configurator)
- Workflow Analysis (think Extender Workflow)
- Tips, Tricks & Troubleshooting
System Audits & Reviews
A regularly scheduled System Audit should form a cornerstone of your account management regime. The ideal time to lock these in is when negotiating an ongoing support plan as part of your ERP implementation, but it’s never too late.
As well as ensuring your client is getting the most out of their system, these reviews create the perfect opportunity to explore and discuss additional products and services.
Make sure you follow up with a written summary of findings and recommendations. For example, have they had issues with the regular execution of critical processes like backups and integrity checks? If so, perhaps it’s time to discuss automating these tasks with Process Scheduler.
Support & Maintenance
Ensuring that customers have a suitable support arrangement not only generates ongoing incremental revenue for the business partner. It also contributes to customer satisfaction. Customers will:
- Be more willing to seek help with issues as they arise, rather than letting them fester.
- Be eligible for product updates, including new features and fixes, to drive satisfaction and pre-empt problems.
This is as true for Orchid’s products as it is for Sage 300 core modules, regardless of whether support is built into subscription pricing or provided under an add-on assurance plan.