Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast

Episode 70: Stop using the words “users” and “tickets”

Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 70: Stop using the words “users” and “tickets”
/

In this week’s episode

  • Words have power – be careful which ones you use! This week Paul unpicks the terrible words used by many MSPs, that can be a real turn off for your clients and prospects
  • Also in this week’s show, an MSP customer satisfaction expert details how best to survey clients and what to do with the results
  • Plus Paul talks about the kind of meetings that will help your MSP to grow (and which could have the opposite affect). And there’s a listener book recommendation all about brilliant branding

Show notes

Episode transcription

Voiceover:
Fresh every Tuesday for MSPs around the world. This is Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.

Paul Green:
Somehow we’re already 10 weeks into 2021. Seriously, how did that happen? Here’s what we’ve got coming up for you on today’s show.

Andrew Wallace:
Businesses tend to focus more on growth than we do on retaining our existing customer base.

Paul Green:
I’ve got a great book suggestion for you later on about how to build a great brand for your MSP. Plus, we’re going to be talking about meeting rhythms, how often you should meet and who you should meet with on your team in order to grow your business.

Voiceover:
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.

Paul Green:
There’s a word that far too many MSPs use in their marketing. And I hate it, hate it, hate it. That word is user or users, because to us, you and I, we know what users are, they’re end users. They’re people that are actually using the computers, but to the decision-makers that you want to influence, the word users might mean something else. To some people, it might mean a drug user. To other people, it might mean that a user is someone who manipulates other people. Users is just not a good word. I mean, how would you feel if your techs were on the phone to someone and they said to the boss, “Hey yeah, could you get a few of your users to give me a call, please?” They wouldn’t do that, would they? The techs just wouldn’t speak like that. We don’t use the word users when we’re talking about people, we use the word people.

Paul Green:
So in your marketing, use the word people, use the word person. Those are the words that you should be focusing on. In fact, there’s another word as well: tickets. I hate the word tickets used in marketing because it’s an internal word. You and I know again, exactly what ticket means. It’s support tickets. It’s jobs that have been queued up to be done. And we want to clear the ticket, but to someone who’s stuck, to someone who has got a problem and they can’t continue, they can’t do their work because something’s broken, they don’t want to think of themselves as a ticket. They didn’t want to think of themselves as being in a queue of work that needs to be done. They want your immediate attention now. They just want it fixed. They want it to be over so they can get on with all the things that they need to get on with.

Paul Green:
We should never use the word users or tickets in our marketing because they are internal words, and internal words are the wrong words to use to try and influence external people. Ordinary decision-makers, business owners and managers that you want to reach do not use these words on a regular basis. So you must not use them. It’s internal jargon, and internal jargon actually creates a barrier between you and your clients. Avoid the internal jargon and it makes your communication with people so much easier. And as we’ve talked about so many times on this podcast, people don’t buy from you with their brains. They’re not making logical decisions about which MSP to buy from. They are making emotional decisions based on how they feel about you. Remove the internal jargon, the words they don’t understand, and they’re going to feel a lot more warmer towards you than they will towards the MSPs that you’re up against.

Voiceover:
Here’s this week’s clever idea.

Paul Green:
About a month ago on the podcast, I was talking about the need for your MSP to have rhythmic marketing and how critical it was to get into that rhythm of doing stuff daily, weekly, monthly, rather than letting your marketing be a sort of haphazard, boom and bust style affair. Well, it’s exactly the same with meetings. You need to get into a good meeting rhythm if you want to grow your business. So a meeting rhythm kind of takes away some of the haphazard nature of growing the business. Now, if you have a management team that you work with, you kind of need to figure out how often you should meet with those people and why. I believe with this, that less is definitely more. The more meetings you have, the more the meeting seem to take over your life and seems to dominate everyone.

Paul Green:
So you don’t want to have too many meetings, but I think there is a risk that you can also have too few meetings, and we need to make sure that you get into a rhythm of the right kind of meetings at the right times to sit and talk with your people about how the business growth is going. Now, even if you don’t have a management team, this is a good rhythm to get into, and I’ve got a suggested rhythm for you here. This isn’t going to be the perfect rhythm for your business, but it might be something that you can use for inspiration. So for example, I believe that every MSP, whether you’ve got a management team or whether it’s just you and two techs, you should all just go away at least once a year and have a couple of days off-site. And that’s primarily for bonding, but it’s also for thinking big.

Paul Green:
So you want to spend some time together, lockdown permitting of course, spend some time together, bonding, socialising, enjoying a few beers together, really getting to know each other, but also challenging each other to think big. Where do we want to be in a year’s time? What about three years time? What about five years? Where could we take this? What are we in this for? What are the big picture things here? What are the things that we’ve got to consider? What’s our vision? Where do we want to go? What are the problems that are likely to crop up along the way? What can we do now to stop those problems from holding us back when we actually get there? Even if it’s just you on your own, even if you’re a one man band, you should do an off-siter once a year, kind of a bit weird to do an off-siter on your own. I suppose, just going to the cinema during the day, isn’t it?

Paul Green:
But you could take your life partner if you don’t have a business partner, and the two of you could … Actually, you could turn it into a weekend away in a hotel. That sounds very nice as long as you know that we’re not just there for fun, we are there to talk about the business, we’re there to think big and decide where we want to go. So you should do a once a year off-siter. The next meeting that I recommend you get in a rhythm of is a once a month meeting and this would be a formal management meeting. Ideally, you would physically up for this. And again, it’s not ideal at the moment doing Zoom meetings is it? Even if that’s the only kind of meeting we can do. But if you could physically meet up for a couple of hours every month, that would be an amazing focus meeting, and you should set an agenda for it as well. And that’s agenda should be 100% subjects that grow the business.

Paul Green:
This is not an operational meeting. This is not about staff. This is not about problems. This is about growing the business. It’s, if you like, a check-in. If you’ve done that once a year off-siter, it’s a check-in of how are we doing, implementing our vision? How are we doing changing things to get towards our goal? What’s our progress? Let’s check where we are. Let’s see if we’re going as fast as we need to be going. And if not, why not? Why aren’t we making that progress? What can we do to speed things up?

Paul Green:
Now, then on top of the monthly formal meeting, I think you and your management team should then have a once a week meeting. Now, this one can be a video call. In fact, it’s probably preferable to be a video call, and it’s literally a short progress update on the actions from the management meetings. Because if you just do a management meeting once a month, and there’s nothing in between those meetings, guess what? There’ll be a splurge of action just after the monthly meeting, there’ll be another splurge of action just before it, but there’ll be nothing in the middle. We call this the donut effect. It’s the management meeting donut, where you have things that happen on one side and things that happen on the other side, but there’s a hole in the middle. It’s an action hole.

Paul Green:
So if you have a short video call every week, what that does is it prioritises for you and your management team that this stuff is important. And you’ve got to allocate some time every single week to making progress on it. Because we all know that working on the business is more important than working in the business, but sometimes we have to schedule time to do that. I would recommend that this weekly video call is the same day each week, in fact, Mondays are pretty good. Perhaps Monday afternoons when you’ve cleared all the tickets and problems from the weekend. What makes Mondays’ good is you can set up the whole week.

Paul Green:
If you start having these meetings on a Wednesday or a Thursday, the week’s kind of over in a way, because the weekend really does act as a massive reset button. So I would do these perhaps on Monday afternoons and I would make them must attend events. You and your management team must be there unless they’re off on holiday, on vacation, or they’re really quite desperately ill.

Paul Green:
And then finally, we’ve got operations meetings. Now, I believe you should call these only as needed, to discuss technical issues and client issues. If you do do them once a week, then you just need to make sure that they’re on different days to the growth calls. Otherwise the risk is if, for example, you had a growth meeting followed by an operations meeting, yeah, they’re going to merge into just one meeting and the whole point of a growth meeting that’s separate is you’re only talking about growth issues, not the current client crisis. If you have an operations meeting that’s separate, that’s where we talk about those kinds of things. So I would, for example, keep your growth meetings on a Monday afternoon and your client meetings on a Wednesday afternoon. You might find that you actually need to have daily operations meetings. Again, though remember the risk is if you have too many meetings, it can become utter overkill.

Paul Green:
Now there is a great book that you can read about this sort of thing. It’s called Traction: Get A Grip On Your Business by Gino Wickman. We’ll put a link to it in the show notes on my website, go and have a look at that book because it talks about how you can get into a meeting rhythm, and in fact, organise the way that you run your business and that you talk about growing your business so it’s done in a much more structured way. It’s a really, really good read and I do highly recommend it.

Voiceover:
Paul’s blatant plug.

Paul Green:
More than 400 MSPs are now a part of this, they trust it and they love it every day. It’s called the MSP Marketing Edge. It’s my content service. So we give you all the content you could possibly need to attract new leads, to turn those leads into prospects and to turn those prospects into clients. And it’s such a low investment for your business. It’s £99 a month if you’re in the UK or $129 a month if you’re in the US or anywhere else in the world. And when you go onto the website and you see exactly what you get for all of that, you will be utterly shocked, especially when you see that we only supply it to one MSP per area. You’re not competing with other MSPs using this stuff. You can use it in your area and no one else can.

Paul Green:
So actually the first step is to see if someone’s already beaten you to your area. If you go on to mspmarketingedge.com, that’s mspmarketingedge.com, have a look to see if another MSP has already locked your area, or whether it’s available for you to start your first month’s trial at a very low cost and see how many marketing problems this would solve for you.

Voiceover:
The big interview.

Andrew Wallace:
So I’m Andrew Wallace of SmileBack, which is a customer satisfaction platform or system for MSPs.

Paul Green:
Now, we all know that MSPs benefit from huge, huge retention. Most MSPs have still got their first or second client from back in the day, even if that’s 10, 15 years or more. And yet it’s impossible for any business, with anything more than sort of three or four clients to have all of the clients being a hundred percent satisfied all the time. Personally, I believe that MSPs benefit a lot from something called inertia loyalty, where it feels more difficult to move to someone new than it is to stay with your existing supplier.

Paul Green:
So Andrew, your whole system is about showing MSPs and your other customers exactly how happy or unhappy someone is. What are some of the small warning signs that your clients are starting to become a little bit dissatisfied?

Andrew Wallace:
Yeah, so I think that’s a really important question and probably the key piece of the platform, because the flip side of what you said is that we also as businesses tend to focus more on growth than we do on retaining our existing customer base. And it’s a much more efficient spend of dollars and time to retain your customer base. So putting focus on it is important. And so what SmileBack allows you to do primarily through our CSAT, which is our customer satisfaction and NPS, which is net promoter score surveys and the reporting and automation functions that result from that, we get good leading and often definitive indicators of a customer who isn’t happy.

Andrew Wallace:
So I would say that the first and the simplest is a negative response to a CSAT survey. So this would be when a service agent, a tech, whatever you want to call it, has completed a ticket. And the customer satisfaction survey is given to the client and they lodge a negative. There’s positive, neutral, and negative scores. So negative is really obvious. They’re putting their hand up and saying, I was not happy with this transaction, but that’s usually not necessarily a indication, a direct indication of a potential risk. It’s usually when there are multiple instances of a negative score, especially in a confined space of time that that customer may be unhappy. And why it’s important to have both the CSAT and The net promoter score surveys is that when they’re used together, you can get quite a holistic picture.

Andrew Wallace:
So net promoter score measure is a measure of brand loyalty or customer loyalty. And so customers will often also give a negative score, which is called a passive or a detractor score in an NPS survey, which is a zero to 10 scale. And then in the comments, the net promoter score looks more at the overall relationship. So you’re more likely there to see someone directly say, we are not happy with this, about the business relationship. And then also seeing in the CSAT score, we are not happy about this specific instance of the business relationship.

Paul Green:
Okay. So I’m going to come back to some of the things that you’ve just brought up there. Before we do, you’ve just thrown a whole load of massive big words at us. For the sake of making sure everyone understands exactly what you’re talking about, can you explain in detail and explain it as if we’re five-year-olds, what is a CSAT score and what is a net promoter score?

Andrew Wallace:
Good point. There’s so much jargon and customer feedback, which is quite ironic given that the idea of having customer feedback is to make things simple. So CSAT so C-S-A-T, this is an industry recognised measure of an individual transaction. It’s scored as positive, neutral, or negative. And that is represented by three smiley faces or emojis, a green smiling emoji, a yellow neutral emoji, or a red negative emoji, whoever receives the survey files it. And the score is given on a scale of minus 100 to 100. And the individual interaction has a score, which corresponds to those three values and then in the aggregate. So you can aggregate your CSAT score of however many interactions you want to get an overall score that is positive, negative or neutral.

Paul Green:
Yeah. That makes perfect sense. Explain net promoter score to us.

Andrew Wallace:
So this was something that was created by, I believe Bain Capital in the U.S. It is an algorithm that through a question, so there’s actually just one question, but a lot of companies like to play with that question, but the traditional benchmark question is how likely are you to recommend X? And X can be a product, a service or a company. And the key is in that how likely are you to recommend? Because the idea is that this indicates the customer’s affinity or brand loyalty to your company. And this is measured on a scale of zero to 10, where nine and 10 are, are considered a good score, a promoter score, seven and eight are considered passive. So they’re neither the detractor or a promoter. They are neutral. And then the bottom end of this scale is a detractor score. So that would be somewhat similar to the red smiley, the negative score.

Andrew Wallace:
This goes into the algorithm and generates an overall NPS score for the company. This is a little more difficult to benchmark as NPS scores are wildly different depending on, on industry. So you see certain things like Tesla has traditionally extremely high NPS scores and there’ll be in the best in class range, which is 75 and above, but then there’s other businesses say a meal kit delivery, which is something that I used to be in, and having a score in the twenties and thirties is generally good in that industry because people generally have very low brand affinity to that. For MSPs, NPS isn’t as widely used. And we’re trying to lead the charge on getting more people to use it, but it seems to date so far, that having a score above 50 would be very good in the MSP space.

Paul Green:
Yeah, that makes perfect sense. So for your average MSP, then as, as we said, right at the beginning, we’re looking for those little things, the tiny clues that your clients are starting to become dissatisfied, and you said it’s not so much one or two negative reactions, it’s a whole bunch of them over a small space of time. Do you find that relationships or working relationships tend to degrade over time? And what what would that time be for MSPs? Would it be weeks, months, years?

Andrew Wallace:
I couldn’t say through SmileBack definitively the time scale of it. I think it really depends on how quickly the negative interactions are happening and the velocity at which those negative interactions are happening. And so at the simplest form, you could see, as I said, a negative CSAT score and then worse is a series of consecutive negative CSAT scores. And then even worse is a series of negative consecutive CSAT scores in a short period of time. And similar with NPS, you could see in a passive score or a detractor score with a negative comment, that’s an indicator.

Andrew Wallace:
What we tend look at actually because we use our own product at SmileBack with NPS, is we look both for any passive or detractor score. We consider that to be an indication of potential churn and we consider it a more urgent indication of potential churn than we do a CSAT score because as I said before, the NPS is looking at the whole relationship and CSAT is looking at the individual transaction. And then we also look at similar to CSAT, the consecutive scores is obviously worse than just one bad score and then consecutive scores in a short period of time. We also with NPS look at, has the score changed over time? So you can often see, say over the course of, because usually do NPS surveys on a quarterly basis, over the course of a year it’s quite easy to see the trend of a company or an individual and their scores. So say someone goes from being a promoter at a ten one quarter, then to a promoter at a nine, and then all of a sudden to a five, that’s when you’re probably at the highest risk level in terms of churn.

Paul Green:
And I guess at that point, you need to take some action. You need to pick up the phone, you need to start talking to these people because I think when an MSP does lose a client, which is a fairly rare occurrence for most MSPs, I think by the time they actually know they’re losing the client, the damage has been long done. And you know, the damage was done some time ago because of course the sales cycle in people moving from one IT support company to another is very long, so they can be dissatisfied today and that might cause them to switch in 12 months time. Of course, once that damage has been done, it’s been done. So what do you recommend? Do you recommend monitoring clients on a quarterly basis and then taking that action, picking up the phone when you can see that there’s a problem and the relationship is degrading?

Andrew Wallace:
Yeah. I think early intervention is the key for all the reasons you just listed and just a good practice. And it’s also makes things, while it feels I find in the short term, like more work, it makes significantly less work in the long run because as we all know with our personal relationships, it’s much easier to address something in real time on a small scale than it is to address something that has been building up over time on a large scale. So you’d much rather deal with a small problem now than you would with a big problem later. And that’s why we consider SmileBack to be more than just surveys, but as an actual system where you get data, then you analyze that data, then you act on that data. So you collect, gather and leverage, and this is really important because you want to be taking those smaller actions in real time to address any negative feedback you receive, but also to reinforce positive feedback that you receive.

Andrew Wallace:
You don’t want to see it only as I only act on the negative. You also want to act on the positive. So you should be taking these short term measures, small, direct, immediate, as they happen. And then also looking at the longer-term data in order to take more drastic, more fundamental measures to address negative relationships in the long run, and so these can be things through reviewing the feedback at your quarterly business reviews as an MSP with a client, they can be sending out reports. They can be presenting the feedback back on an ongoing basis or taking and analysing the individual pieces, seeing the trends, addressing those. And of course, discussing those with the client.

Paul Green:
Got it. That makes perfect sense. Thank you. So, Andrew, obviously you have a business called SmileBack, which you have successfully mentioned at least 17 times in our interview. That is fine. It’s good. I’ll ask you to tell us a little bit about SmileBack in a second. For MSPs in general, how can they get started with something like net promoter score? I mean, I think SurveyMonkey has it built in doesn’t it, so you can actually get a net promoter score template within a SurveyMonkey. What’s the easiest way for an MSP to get started with this?

Andrew Wallace:
Yeah, and I think the most important thing is just to get started. An MSP can use … There’s many, many, many different tools on the market. And depending on the level of sophistication that an MSP wants to adopt, they can adopt anything from a free tool to a wildly expensive tool. You know, something like a Salesforce. And it’s all about the level of sophistication and integration that they want to use. But I think the most important is just start collecting that data. So use any tool that works in the short term for collecting CSAT as a starting point, and then hopefully NPS soon thereafter, because once you start collecting the data, I think there’s a natural progression to start to want to analyse that data, to understand that data on a deeper level.

Andrew Wallace:
And then once you understand that data on a deeper level, there’s a natural inclination to want to act on it. So the first step is just to get started, just start sending surveys and most good tools out there will be very easy to implement and will allow the end user, the MSP, to be serving their clients within minutes of signing up.

Paul Green:
Makes perfect sense. Tell us about SmileBack then Andrew, and how we can get in touch with you.

Andrew Wallace:
The benefit of using SmileBack. We’re focused on MSPs. So we understand what MSPs needs are and that their needs from surveying are going to be different, their analysis and reporting needs, than other companies, and especially the action piece, leveraging that feedback. We’ve built that into our system for MSP so they can get in touch with us to learn more by emailing andrew@smileback.com or going to our website at www.smileback.com

Voiceover:
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing podcast – this week’s recommended book.

Steve Pailing:
Hi, my name’s Steve Pailing. I’m the co-founder of Plexa. We supply monthly reoccurring revenue streams for MSPs that can sell on. My book recommendation today is Building Strong Brands by David Aaker. It explains branding in simple terms, uses real life examples, and just makes branding easy to understand.

Voiceover:
How to contribute to the show.

Paul Green:
Is there someone you know, who you think I should feature on the show, either to interview them or just get a business book suggestion from them? Why don’t you drop me an email and let me know. It’s the real me at the other end. And I will happily reply to you. My email address is hello@paulgreensmspmarketing.com.

Voiceover:
Coming up next week.

Mark Edwards:
Done in the right way by the right person, the combination of the visual element and the verbal is very, very powerful.

Paul Green:
That’s Mark Edwards from Whiteboard Strategies. Steve Jobs famously used a whiteboard to communicate how he was going to turn Apple around and refocus it on four core products when he took control of the company again, back in the late 1990s. So next week, Mark’s going to tell us how you can use a whiteboard to sell more, both to new clients and to your existing clients. And we’ll also talk about what the modern equivalent of a whiteboard is when we’re doing sales calls over Zoom.

Paul Green:
We’re also going to talk next week about why you struggle to let go of stuff. There’s a deep, psychological reason why we don’t let go of those tasks. And yet we’ve got to because the most successful business owners typically are the ones who are not doing stuff on a daily basis. I’m also going to ask you next week, do you procrastinate? Get back to me on that one yeah? We all procrastinate at various levels. And again, there’s a deep, psychological reason why we do this. We’re going to explore that next week and see if we can remove some of the procrastination from your life. Have a great week. See you then.

Voiceover:
Made in the UK for MSPs around the world. Paul Green’s MSP Marketing podcast.


Brought to you by Paul Green's MSP Marketing of Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast