Identify the customer's problem then give them the right tools

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Identify the customer's problem then give them the right tools
Darren McCoskery (Hostopia)

When working with small and medium businesses, IT providers should look to identify a customer’s problem first and they should be getting the right tools to ensure their technology spend is worthwhile, according to executives from Hostopia, Aircall and Telstra.

Speaking at CEBIT Australia’s SMB Digital conference in Sydney, Hostopia Australia chief executive Darryn McCoskery said IT providers should “plan the plan” and identify a customer’s problem properly before committing to any spending

“[SMB customers] generally don’t really understand the technology to the depth that [Hostopia] does and so building that trust with your partners is a really important part of that,” McCoskery said.

“But again, if you don’t know where you’re going or what you’re trying to achieve, you’d risk buying the wrong tech stack or new product to stick in that isn’t going to fix the problem. And then six months later, [they realise] they spent all that money and the problem hasn’t gone away.”

McCoskery added that intimacy is an important part of winning customers, and that if a provider understands what it’s trying to do for the customers.

“If we understand what you’re trying to do and what you’re trying to do with your customers, it actually gives us an insight into what it is that you're trying to achieve,” he said.

“Make sure that you understand who you’re dealing with and there’s trust there. Go and talk to the person you want to engage and their customers because they’ll tell you the truth.”

Fred Viet, APAC vice president of call centre software vendor Aircall, said SMB customers require the right tools to develop the best experiences for both customers and employees.

“SMBs want to have the right tools - when they do a survey, most of their employees come back saying they don’t have the right tools to do their work well,” he said.

“You have to make sure you’re going to make life easier for employees to make sure they love selling, marketing or support. When customers invest, it’s very important to think about what you want to deliver for both your customers and employees.

“Who knew that we’ll all be working from home now? You need to think about all these kinds of things that are going to impact your business and you need to be able to see throughout the office.”

Anna Da Cunha, small business executive at Telstra, said small businesses wanting to embark on a digitisation journey would be overwhelmed with big words like “tech stack” and the like.

“It comes back to human interaction, and how you can help through that journey and find somewhere to start and it’s going to be different for every business,” Da Cunha said.

“Some businesses already have a lot of things in place, other businesses have not much in place. But really working through and having a conversation makes it just such an easy step to start. So we've really focused on how do we actually make sure we've got experts out there that can have these conversations with small business and help them on the journey.”

Da Cunha also spruiked Telstra’s recently launched Go Digital offering, a consultative service where the telco would work through and help small businesses build a roadmap to digitise.

"[Go Digital] takes into account all different areas of digitisation for business and opportunities, so that you can identify a bespoke roadmap for that business for products - not necessarily just Telstra products, so also outside of Telstra - but just helping a process to follow-through."

Telstra’s Business Technology Centres were also mentioned, where SMB customers can demonstrate different technologies and interactions, leveraging vendor partners Cisco, Netgear and Microsoft, as well as security vendors like Check Point and Tyro services.

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