What Are The Ideal Customers To Acquire For Your Technology Company
I came across a post on the MSP subreddit recently from an IT Account Representative in search of the ideal customer. I thought this was a fantastic question, and one that we often think about and attempt to analyze by using our 5R’s system. While our system works great in identifying who your best customers are by size, vertical, and territory, I thought it would be beneficial to also make a list of the more intangible traits of good customers. Here are a few characteristics that our best customers have shown over the years that lead to great long-term relationships.
A Good IT Customer…
Has Decision Makers That Want You To Succeed
When a customer genuinely wants you and your company to succeed, it makes for a very healthy relationship. If your company is growing, you will likely need to make significant changes to your service along the way. A good customer understands this and will be flexible as you go through growing pains. They may even refer you business or give you advice to help you along the way.
Has A Willingness To Follow Your Business Processes
As your company evolves, so will your processes. A good customer is willing to follow your business process and encourages their end users to do the same. Even though they may have you or your CEO’s cell phone number, they don’t use unless it is an emergency. When requesting support, they contact your Help Desk just like everyone else and don’t ask for special treatment.
Understands The Value Of Your Services
It is important for your customers to understand, respect, and appreciate the value of your services. They see you and your company as a crucial part of their operations and not just a necessary expense on their profit & loss statement. They are willing to pay top-dollar because they know the importance of technology as it relates to business productivity and ultimately their success.
Can Afford To Pay A Fair Market Price Per User
Not only should your customers be willing to pay a fair rate, but they should also be able to afford to. A good customer budgets appropriately for technology support and improvements. When hardware needs to be replaced, they can replace it immediately and don’t push back on cost or try to take shortcuts to save a dollar. They also take annual price increases in-stride without pushing back and straining the relationship.
Has End Users That Are Self-Sufficient
It is completely understandable for customers to have varying degrees of computer literacy. If everyone was an expert, the need for Managed Service Providers would not be as high as it is. What is more important is for customers to have the ability and desire to be self-sufficient. This means that they are willing to at least attempt to work through an issue on their own without just immediately submitting a ticket the first time something doesn’t work or seems out of the norm.
Has A Power User To Help Control Utilization
One of the great luxuries that an IT Provider could ask for their customers to have is a power user on staff. Whether it is a dedicated IT person, or just a tech savvy individual, this person often helps to resolve issues themselves before the tickets ever make it to your Help Desk. This helps lower the overall utilization of your labor resources, leading to more profit on their contract and your bottom line.
Has A Willingness To Adhere To Best Practices
As an IT Provider, it is up to you to develop the standard upon which your customers should adhere to. A good customer is willing to follow this standard and ensures that their infrastructure and practices are a direct reflection of it. They use technology responsibly and don’t take shortcuts for the sake of convenience, especially in areas that may make their business vulnerable to threats or loss of data.
Looks To Leverage Technology To Better Their Business
Technology is a tool that can be used to make incredible improvements in business. A good customer looks to constantly improve and relies on you to harness the power of technology to do so. They do not view technology as a liability that keeps them from growth or dips into the money in their pocket. Instead, they look at it as an opportunity cost and are constantly looking to invest in new solutions to accomplish their goals.
Has The Ability To Pay Invoices On Time
A customer that pays on time, or is willing to auto-pay, is one of the best type of customers to have. No matter how easy a customer is to support or how great your relationship is, they can still have a negative impact on your business if they fail to pay invoices according to payment terms. A good customer has the cash flow to pay invoices and expenses without hesitation and doesn’t look to use your company as a line of credit.
Holds You Accountable And Performing At Your Best
One of the most overlooked traits of a good customer is their ability to hold you and your team accountable. When a customer is too flexible, you can sometimes take them for granted. This can breed poor habits and sub-par service if not kept in check. A good customer is one that is easy to work with but still keeps you on your toes to ensures you are giving your best at all times.