The impact of the economic downturn on your customers could quickly turn their attention to questioning the value they receive from your service contracts. They may have already cut back internal staff that support your products, which may result is higher service demand, loss of local advocates and product expertise within your accounts.
Now what?? Should you just try to meet your service levels and contract terms and wait out the storm and hope customers hang in there? I think this would be a big mistake… A more proactive approach is much better, look to be the service vendor that is working to help during this difficult time.
First, look to putting together programs to help your customers understand the value your products and services provide them. Work with Product Management and Marketing develop campaigns to stress value and new methods your products and services can be used that drive higher value and help the customer achieve their goals. Be sure to tell the support staff what messages are being sent, so they can reinforce them and possibly offer some low cost consulting or training to the customer.
Second, look for ways to help the customer become more effective at supporting your products, look to proactively providing webinars, videos or on-line training tools that can help them support your products. If you have not already developed a “best practices in supporting product xxx program”, then develop one! Then build the service and support programs that communicate its value.
Whatever you do be proactive; get in touch with your customers. Be the vendor that is helping them obtain more value from your products and experience fewer outages by being better managers of your products. As the funds of service contracts diminishes at your customers, be sure you are the vendor that they must retain.
What are you doing in your service organization to help your customers during the downturn?