Welcome to the Partner Economy
The traditional service model for IT maintenance and repair is no longer delivering the value it once did. We hear the complaints from our customers all the time and we bet you do as well. Here’s what’s driving that frustration: When a piece of equipment or software malfunctions, customers want to know immediately who they need to contact to fix it. They’re tired of navigating multiple service providers—the alphabet soup of OEMs, TPMs, and other resellers—to get problems solved.
In short, customers in the IT space are no longer looking for just a maintenance provider. They’re looking for a maintenance partner who can manage their service matrix, provide all-in-one service, and swiftly address their tech and equipment concerns so that they have more time to handle what they do best.
We can see how this partner economy works in other sectors. There are website providers that handle design, hosting, and registration and marketing agencies that oversee social media management across every relevant channel. Customers are becoming accustomed to this comprehensive service model and once they’ve experienced it with IT asset maintenance and repair, they’re not going to switch back!
Let’s explore why the partner economy is so effective and why platforms like CloudCover are able to leverage it so successfully.
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Your Customers Expect More
When customers enter into a relationship with a maintenance partner rather than a mere provider, they expect to have a wider variety of needs addressed. In our experience, we have found that customers are looking for:
- Custom solutions that address any kind of maintenance issue that might come up, on any of their devices or software, no matter the manufacturer or developer.
- Seamless fulfillment that keeps them in the loop, but primarily puts the problem-solving process in the background, giving them only essential information: what is the issue, what’s being done, how long will it take, etc.
- Value-added experiences in the form of service that’s getting better, smarter, and more efficient all the time.
- Real-time response that reaches them promptly, soon after they report an issue, and Real-time information that keeps them up to date on the progress being made toward resolving that issue.
- Long-tail value provided by efficient solutions. Small savings in time and money spent that add up over months and years.
- SaaS-integrated solutions that draw together information from multiple systems and generate customized reports on any issue that needs solving. They want to learn one piece of software and use it for all of their IT and maintenance needs.
In offering this umbrella of services, the maintenance partner becomes integral to a customer’s operation—a dependable go-to for all tech-related concerns. The customer no longer has to worry about getting a particular vendor to return a phone call or email about a particular problem. They shoot a message to their maintenance partner, receive a speedy reply, and feel confident knowing that their partner is on the case. And they know exactly where to turn for updates.
Better Tools Make Better Service
Making the leap from maintenance provider to partner might involve adding services to your current menu of offerings, or it might just mean organizing those services in a way that makes them easier for you to implement and easier for customers to access and understand.
Perhaps you have maintenance expertise but lack a robust ticket-tracking system. Maybe you’ve made a recent effort to respond promptly to customer requests but found yourself bogged down by too many messages. To offer comprehensive and streamlined service, your company needs to streamline itself with digital infrastructure that automates busywork, allows customers to answer some of their own questions, and reserves the bulk of your time for providing solutions to the tricky problems that actually require your input.
A versatile maintenance management platform makes this possible. It performs a similar role for your business that a maintenance partner performs for its customer, bundling together and rendering legible all the different moving parts of your business—ticketing, invoicing, inventory tracking, software licenses—and putting it all in one place so that you’re not fiddling with different interfaces or punching in three or four logins in the course of solving a single problem. It is your dependable go-to for anything and everything related to your business.
Ideally, a versatile management platform is both vendor- and customer-friendly. It integrates with your existing tech stack. It works across many platforms. It does everything you need it to while also featuring a customer-facing valence that allows them to solicit service, reference SLA reports, manage vendors, and check on the progress of service requests all without having to place a call or draft an email. The platform cuts down on chaff, those “just checking in” and “quick question” messages that distract you from more substantial work.
Combining your know-how and an expertly designed platform allows you to realize goals like seamless fulfillment and real-time response. It saves you time, makes you more agile, and creates value for both your company and its customers over the long haul.
What Else Can A Maintenance Management Platform Do?
At CloudCover, we have developed a versatile platform that meets all the needs of a full-fledged maintenance partner. We have also built into our platform additional sales tools like smart quoting for our SLAs, which use machine learning to take into account every cost-impacting factor you can think of, to ensure that you’re at the right service levels for your budget and delivery needs. We have an automated renewal system that aids customer retention and frees up sales associates to handle bigger, revenue-generating projects.
These tools are included in our platform because we understand a maintenance partnership should be both comprehensive and long-lasting. Our tool has also been recognized as a Gartner Cool Vendor in Service Channel Enablement.
Want to learn more about maintenance management platforms? Read the blog, “What Features Should You Look for in a Maintenance Contract Management Solution?“