Think about the last time you went to a restaurant and experienced truly terrible service. Whether you waited an hour for your food, they messed up your order, your server needed an attitude adjustment, or all of the above, how likely is it that you will return anytime in the near future? No matter how good the food was, I’m betting your answer to that will be “When pigs can fly.”
So why is it that our standards for acceptable customer service are so much higher in our personal lives than in our professional lives? There’s something about spending company money that makes our customer service standards a little bit lower. I get it, the stakes are a lot higher and you’re more personally invested in the experience when the money is coming out of your own bank account. I’m definitely guilty of it. You tolerate 72-hour response times on service tickets, 45-minute hold times, and a half-dozen emails that go unanswered because the hassle of changing providers is enormous. During your current provider’s sales process they were responsive, helpful, and would jump through hoops to get you to sign that contract. But now that the ink is dry you’ve been bounced around to different account managers and you say a quick prayer before you have to pick up the phone and try to speak with someone.
Today I’m offering insights, tips, and new ideas on how companies everywhere can start getting the level of customer service they deserve out of their security service providers.
The IT industry is an Anomaly
I’ve worked for different B2B companies spanning multiple industries in the past, but I’ve never seen a more pervasive “You need me more than I need you” mentality when it comes to customer service than I have in the IT services industry, especially the cybersecurity space. In some ways, the provider probably knows your network better than you do, which they definitely use to their advantage. No skin off their backs if you can’t access your email for 8 hours. It’s time for this dynamic to change, and it starts with people like you making stellar customer service a priority again.
If you’re currently stuck in a long term contract with a provider that still doesn’t know your first name a year later, I feel for you. Here are some practical ideas and questions to ask the next time you’re vetting new providers that could help you avoid making the same mistake twice:
- Ask to listen to some of their troubleshooting calls, from more than one engineer
- Find out what their average ticket response time is
- When you’re speaking with their referrals, make sure to ask questions around what it’s like to interact with their team.
- Find out what kind of feedback surveys or process they have to make sure your voice can be heard
- Get the direct contact information of anyone working on your network
If the company you’re talking to is unwilling to provide the above information or you’re not thrilled with the results- move on, even if you have to pay a little more somewhere else. You’ll save yourself a lot of headaches, and in the end your sanity is worth more than a couple hundred bucks a month.
Technology is Only as Good as the People Behind It
That’s a statement I’m sure you’ve heard time and time again. I’m betting you probably haven’t thought about it from a customer service perspective, though. When you’re working with a Managed Security Services provider, it’s imperative that they’re proactive when it comes to issues that they see within your network. When one of your end users clicks to download his “totally free, no strings attached $100 Amazon gift card!” (and it will happen) an hour delay in detection could mean thousands of dollars in potential loss. The best technology in the world can’t replace a person monitoring it, diligently looking for issues, and (most importantly) effectively communicating the issue as quickly as possible.
It’s engrained into the Infogressive culture for everyone on our team to treat our client’s networks like our own, and it’s not just some feel-good statement that we say to sleep better at night. We truly mean it, and if you’re working with a security vendor right now that hasn’t proven to you that they share the same mantra, then it may be time to start looking for a new one. We keep an endless supply of Redbull in our fridge for a reason.
The Good News
There are security companies out there that care! It may take a little heavy lifting on your end to find them, but truly great, personable service providers exist out there today. I’m proud to say that Infogressive is one of them. Our CEO intentionally recruits team members with a background in customer service, our clients get the phone numbers and email addresses of our engineering team, and we work service tickets like our lives depend on it, among many other things.
You don’t have to settle, we promise!
Written By: Lindsay Doll, Chief Growth Hacker