Support: After-sales = after-thought

Statistics suggest that when customers complain, business owners and managers ought to get excited about it. The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business.”
Zig Ziglar.

So, you’ve sold a new OSS and then handed over the keys to the customer. Are they ready to take over at the wheel yet? Have you given them enough of an apprenticeship? Okay, let’s say that all boxes are ticked. You can move your attention onto signing up the next deal with the next customer….

…Or have you missed something?

Have you remembered to also hand over the keys to your after-sales support team? Are they ready to start supporting the solution you’ve just cut over into production?

It’s interesting that after-sales support is often actually more of an after-thought in terms of:

  1. Project / product handover to operation/support teams and
  2. When a CSP evaluates a vendor / integrator for suitability for their needs

For item 1, CSPs usually need high-quality ongoing support to get the most out of their OSS investment. Seamless handover from project-led support to operations support is a non-negotiable if you plan to generate additional future revenues from this customer. As Zig Ziglar stated above, a complaining customer represents huge opportunities for more business. The Support Team are the front line to satisfying customer concerns and hence earning ongoing consultancy revenues for the support provided.

For item 2, CSPs don’t always ask questions about support when evaluating a vendor / product for suitability for their needs. Interestingly though, I feel that it’s the demonstration of resource commitments to after-sales activities that acts as a bellwether relating to the depth of talent a vendor / integrator has available. It’s natural for a vendor’s best people to be put into product or project first. If they still have enough talent left over then you’ll see that represented in the support team.

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