The Microsoft Cloud Partner Program offers many opportunities for its CSP partners to grow their businesses. In order to maximize profits and succeed Microsoft CSPs need to focus on having a large customer base. To have a sizeable customer base, Microsoft CSPs need to attract new customers as well as retain the existing ones. Customer experience is vital to achieving business growth. According to the 2017 Gartner Customer Experience in Marketing Survey, “Customer experience (CX) is the new marketing battlefront. More than two-thirds of marketers responsible for CX say their companies compete mostly on the basis of CX.”
Customer experience starts from the first interaction the potential buyer has with your business and spans the entire journey of the buyer. According to Forbes, “Companies with a customer experience mindset drive revenue 4-8% higher than the rest of their industries.”
Giving customers a great experience will help your Microsoft CSP business in the following ways-
- Customers with great experience with your business will feel valued and are more likely to remain loyal which reduces the churn rate of your Microsoft CSP business
- A good customer experience increases the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) indicating financial stability. You can read Microsoft’s blog here, to learn more about predicting CLV.
- Loyal customers tend to become advocates of your business and help you in getting new business through referrals. As per Harvard Business Review, “New clients that come from referrals advance through the sales process faster, have more forgiving negotiations and healthier margins, and tend towards greater loyalty.”
- These customers leave positive reviews that increase the reputation of your business.
- It gives you a competitive advantage that helps you in capturing the market.
Thus, a positive customer experience ensures business longevity and increases sales impacting the bottom line of the business. A poor customer experience results in a loss of revenue and increases customer acquisition costs. As per PWC’s Future of Customer Experience report, “32% of all customers would stop doing business with a brand they loved after one bad experience.” Also, dealing with unhappy customers can lower the morale and efficiency of your workforce. There are many reasons customers can have a bad experience with you.
- Lack of personalization– There is little or no personalization in the service. Many sales professionals offer generic run-of-the-mill solutions to customers without taking the customer’s needs into account.
- Long wait times– Customers must wait a long time to get their issues resolved by the customer service representatives. In the absence of a 24/7 helpdesk customers must wait for business hours to raise a query or a complaint and after that wait for more time to get the information they need or to resolve an issue.
- Inaccurate and/or delayed billing– Cloud billing can be cumbersome and prone to human errors. Manual bill reconciliation takes time and can result in customers receiving inaccurate invoices. This not only leads to wasting the time of the customer but also dilutes their trust in your business.
- Untrained employees– Employees are not trained to handle the queries and complaints of the customer. These employees will not be able to deliver quality customer service to current as well as potential customers. When the employees lack product knowledge and training are unable to provide solutions to customers.
- Failure to adopt automation– Managing a large client base involves doing a lot of repetitive tasks on a regular basis. These tasks can be time-consuming and tedious when performed manually. The lack of adopting technology that can automate these tasks leads to employees being overworked, which is reflected in their customer interactions.
- Payment failures- Payment failures can be quite frustrating for your customers. In case the payments system is not stable, the customers must waste their time making multiple tries. This can lead to them simply abandoning the transaction. This not only contributes to loss of revenue but also creates distrust.
Now that we have established the importance of customer experience on the growth and profitability of a Microsoft CSP business, we will talk about the several ways in which Microsoft CSPs can enhance customer experience.
Adopt Microsoft CSP billing automation
Automating Microsoft CSP billing helps reduce the time and workload of generating invoices every month. This will not only increase the efficiency of your workforce but at the same time ensure that the invoices are accurate and delivered to the customer without any delays. Microsoft CSP billing automation ensures a pleasant billing experience for your customers. You can access one of our earlier blogs here, to know more about adopting automation for your business.
Offer self-service capabilities
Customers are increasingly looking for more control over the buying cycle. Self-service capabilities allow customers to find solutions on their own, anytime, and anywhere. It makes customers less dependent on you for minor queries related to their licensing, provisioning, and billing. The speedy resolution and buying process leads to customer satisfaction.
Personalize the product offerings
How do payment systems impact customer experience?
Payments are the lifeline of your Microsoft CSP business. Payments impact the cash flow which in turn affects the day-to-day functioning of the business as well as critical business decisions related to growth and expansion. The payment process is a significant part of your customer’s purchase journey. To succeed, Microsoft CSPs should focus on customer-centricity from the start to the end of the buyer’s journey. An enhanced payment procedure elevates the customer experience and helps you establish strong business relations with your customer. According to Forbes Insights & J.P. Morgan, 2019: Payments’ Potential Survey, “85% of the survey respondents say payment methods are important to provide the best possible customer experience.”
A poor payment experience can drive away customers, impacting the revenue of your Microsoft CSP business. The last step by your customer in making a purchase or renewing a subscription is the payment process. If the payments are unable to go through, all the efforts and time of your sales, marketing, and other teams in generating leads, guiding them through the sales funnel, and converting them fail. After multiple bad experiences with payment, the customers might just abandon their purchase. Payment systems can be a differentiating feature of your business if can improve the customer experience.
As payment systems play a vital role in improving the customer experience. To provide an excellent customer experience, you need to keep up with the changing needs and expectations of your customers. To improve your payment system, you first need to understand what your customers are looking for. Let us have a look at what customers expect from payment systems.
Quick and frictionless payments
Customers do not want to waste their time and energy on lengthy payment processes. The more complex a payment process is, the higher will be the chances that the customer wonders whether it is worth their time to do business with you. A slow payment system also reflects poorly on you as customers might associate it with the level of overall service provided by you. Customers are looking for one-click and instant payment options that can save them time.
Customers today are more aware of cyber fraud and the risks associated with digital payments. They expect their payments as well as their financial information to be secure during as well as after transactions. Customers want to transact via a secure payment gateway that keeps them safe from hackers and data breaches. The customers might not go through with the transaction if you are unable to ensure the security of the payment. They expect the companies that do business with them to prioritize security and fraud mitigation.
Convenient payment options
Customers want the payment experience to be convenient. For this they expect you to provide multiple payment options. The different payment channels required are debit cards, credit cards, wallets, bank accounts, etc. In the absence of their preferred payment option, customers might hesitate to make online payments. They may also choose to do business with a competitor who is offering multiple payment options.
Customers are looking for a complete view of the payment cycle. They need all the information related to their payment at the click of a button. All the information that is relevant to upcoming payments such as the itemized bill, amount, due dates, previous billing, and payment details, etc should be easily available. The customers might also wish to keep track of completed payments.
Lack of payment failures
Failed or declined payments can be quite frustrating for a customer. Customers expect a seamless payment experience where the payments are completed instantly. In the case of recurring payments, a payment failure can have huge repercussions as the customers might be unaware of the failed payment and it might lead to a break in their subscription. This can hamper their business operations and can lead to involuntary subscription churn.
How can Microsoft CSPs modernize or upgrade their payment systems to improve the customer experience?
In order to grow your Microsoft CSP business, you need to upgrade your payment systems and bring them in line with customer expectations. The following features in a payment system can help you improve customer experience.
Customers are increasingly looking for options and flexibility when it comes to making payments. As a Microsoft CSP, you need to offer your customers various options for making online as well as offline payments. For this, you can integrate payment gateways in your billing and accounting system that would allow you to collect payments via different modes such as credit and debit cards, bank transfers, ACH, etc. The payment gateways will not only allow your customers to pay via their preferred payment mode but will also offer currency flexibility by enabling payment settlement in multiple currencies.
Integrating external payment gateways into your billing system will make your payment process seamless, with reduced payment failures, and make payment reconciliation a lot easier and more accurate.
Simplifying recurring payments
The Microsoft CSP business has seen a steep rise in the demand for subscription-based solutions. In a subscription-based model, you have to provide recurring invoices to your customers and collect payments periodically. As a Microsoft CSP, you might be offering flexible billing cycles for your customers such as monthly, quarterly, or annual. Your payment systems should also be equipped to handle flexible and custom payment cycles. A major reason for involuntary churn in a subscription-based business-like Microsoft CSP can be due to payment failures. Features such as repeated payment tries, automated e-mails on payment failure, and automatic card updater can help reduce the instances of recurring payments failing.
Keeping a tab on upcoming payments and having the ability to track the payments made in the past can help your customers plan their outflows better. You can make payment tracking easier for your customers by offering them the chance to transact via a self-service portal. By using a self-service portal, your customers will be able to do much more than just browse through the different solutions and place orders. A self-service portal will help them have complete visibility of their upcoming and past payments without the need for intervention from the customer support team. Customers can also use the self-service portal for dispute resolution. Giving the customers 360-degree account visibility will reduce payment delays too.
To continue doing business with you, customers need to have trust in your service delivery as well as your capability to protect their sensitive information such as financial data. Choosing a secure payment gateway will help keep your customers safe from identity theft and data breaches. To make your customers trust you, you should not only invest in making their payments secure but also let them know that security is a priority. Displaying an “SSL” certificate on your website can assure your customers that their data will be secure. You can also talk about the security features related to payment on your website and other knowledge resources. Also providing the customers with the option of paying via their preferred payment gateways helps build trust. This will give peace of mind to your customers and enhance their experience.
Partner with C3 and enhance customer payment experience
The Microsoft CSP billing automation platform developed by C3 can help you in improving the customer experience and achieve business growth. Powered by pureplay automation, C3 offers you the ultimate payment solution with a host of features that can simplify and streamline your payment collection and settlement. Partner with C3 and leverage its capabilities to offer your customers an improved payment experience.
- Multiple payment methods– your customers have the flexibility of making payments via multiple payment methods such as credit cards, ACH, etc. Apart from online payments, offline payments like cheque-based payments can also be adjusted so that the customer’s account is always up to date.
- External Payment Gateway– C3 allows integration with external payment gateways such as Stripe, Authorize.Net, Bill&Pay, MCB, and EziDebit. These integrations help in a hassle-free payment experience for your customers.
- Self-service– with C3 you can offer a self-service marketplace with an intuitive user interface to your customers. The self-service portal allows your customers to handle their purchases, provisioning, payments, and account management with ease. The customers have a complete view of their transaction history, upcoming orders, tickets raised, etc. Providing the customers with complete control over each step of the purchase journey including the payments leads to a good customer experience.
- Manage subscription fatigue– managing multiple subscriptions can be quite exhausting for your customers. Failed or missed payments only add to their workload. You can make your customers’ lives easier by enabling the auto-pay feature in C3 to make sure that they do not miss out on payments.
- Secure transactions– collecting and settling payments through C3 are not only simple but secure. By prioritizing security, you can earn the trust of your customers.
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