by Duncan Robinson, Cloud Market Strategist, Parallels
Increase revenue per user and reduce churn – two of the key business drivers for service providers moving into the cloud. Customers who already have a relationship with service providers are a key target for cross-selling cloud services for good reason. Research by Parallels SMB Cloud Insights ™ shows that SMB customers are highly likely to consider their existing supplier for cloud services and 68% of US small businesses have a strong preference to buy more services from a single supplier. All good news for traditional service providers entering the cloud services market. However, making the most of this opportunity relies on delivering a great end-to-end customer experience.
A crucial (and often overlooked) part of this is customer onboarding. Customer onboarding is the process of setting up the customer’s service once they have completed their purchase. This is often done by phone appointment but can be done onsite (usually for an additional fee). This is a critical step as customers often don’t know how to set up and get the most from cloud services. Service providers need to take the lead in ensuring that customers have their services properly set up and help them to get the most out of them by providing advice on getting maximum business benefit.
To avoid churn, customers need to feel like they are getting value for their services. Imagine a scenario where a loyal, existing customer with 10 employees buys a new cloud service. None of the employees activate the service as they are unsure how to do it and eventually switch it off. This means the customer has been paying for something they have never used and are likely to feel pretty aggrieved at their service provider. Something meant to decrease churn could end up driving an increase!
The key to avoiding this is to build a high quality onboarding process into your end-to-end customer experience. We have seen great examples where service providers have implemented proper onboarding processes with impressive results. One such provider measures (on a weekly basis) customers who have been properly activated have a 90% lower churn rate than those who are inactive.
You can choose to do this in-house or outsource to a specialist partner. Either way it does require investment but will payback through lower churn, a reduction in ongoing calls to customer service and importantly higher customer satisfaction.
The message is clear: get it right the first time – invest upfront for happy customers and lower churn.
Learn more about Parallels Cloud Acceleration Services.