Written by Beth Hildreth on January 23, 2015

Providing great customer service is vital in business. Customer service generates customer loyalty and encourages word of mouth referrals that lead to increased business growth. The same holds true for channel partners–outstanding customer service is essential. Channel partners seeking to ensure their customers receive the best customer experience should follow these tips below.

Understand the Audience

The customer service conversation channel partners will have with someone with limited technical skills should be very different from a conversation with a Systems Administrator, who likely has a thorough understanding of the technologies involved. The first order of business should be for channel partners to determine where on the technology spectrum the customer lies.

For instance, a small business owner may have concerns about the security of data they have migrated to a cloud-based system. An assurance that their data remains backed-up at an off-premise location to prevent any security breaches is likely to be sufficient. But a Systems Administrator may want to know which public cloud is storing their data. An administrator might also ask questions about bare metal restore solutions, or the options for deduplication. Channel partners should interact with each customer at the customer’s tech level, without appearing condescending or making the customer’s eyes glaze over with too much tech-speak.

Match Support to the Solution

Not every support issue requires direct interaction. Providing support channels, such as social media, email, support ticket systems, telephone calls, and web chat, is a good idea for channel partners. This allows the customer to address their need using the most convenient method.

Initially, customer service contact may occur through a communications channel that is insufficient to resolve the issue. Channel partners have to assess the situation and respond using a channel that most efficiently resolves the problem. When a customer forgets how to connect to the VPN, an email detailing the steps involved should do the trick. A more complicated problem should be addressed one-on-one, via Skype or over the telephone. Ensure the issue is resolved satisfactorily and that the customer leaves the experience with a positive impression of the company brand.

Get Customer Service Feedback

Channel partners can open lines of communication by periodically asking clients about the customer experience. Ongoing positive relationships with customers position channel partners as authoritative experts on the customer’s IT infrastructure. Channel partners helping customers to anticipate problems and solve current issues become the go-to vendor when customers need to implement additional business solutions.

As the level of trust between a channel partner and a customer grows, so does the likelihood of future business. With the competitive nature of the market, channel partners should take every opportunity to provide exemplary customer service.