To grow and sustain any business, one must keep up with the market changes, customer demands as well as industry trends. To retain market share and address the customers’ needs, Microsoft regularly updates prices and product features. The price changes include changes in the cost of subscriptions, licenses, and other Microsoft services. Product changes refer to the addition or updation of features in existing products, the introduction of new products, or retiring certain features or products. As a Microsoft CSP, it is your job to keep up with these frequent changes and communicate them to your customers without any delays. In the absence of a robust CSP billing automation tool, it can be difficult to keep pace with these changes.
There are several reasons for the regular price and product changes by Microsoft.
To keep up with the latest technology
Microsoft must ensure its products are always up-to-date and compatible with the latest hardware and software ecosystem. By incorporating newer technologies and features in its products, Microsoft improves the user experience and further solidifies its position in the technology industry.
Maintain market presence
To stay ahead of the competition and retain its market presence, Microsoft needs to make regular updates both to the pricing and features of its products. Offering products incorporated with the latest technologies at competitive prices helps attract more customers.
Address customer needs
With the rapidly changing business environment, customers’ needs are constantly evolving. If the product features are not updated in line with these changing business needs, they will become obsolete. To improve customer satisfaction, Microsoft has to modify its products to cater to the needs of the customers.
Product updates can also help address cybersecurity concerns. By timely addressing the security flaws Microsoft can protect its customers from possible cybersecurity threats. This helps safeguard customer data and ensures business continuity.
You can read more about Microsoft pricing and offers here.
Challenges of Price and Product Changes for Microsoft CSPs
As a Microsoft CSP, there are several challenges you will face while dealing with Microsoft price and product changes.
Keeping up to date with the changes
Manually keeping up with the price and product changes can be quite time-consuming and resource intensive. Without a CSP billing automation tool, you will be spending a substantial portion of your time tracking price and product changes. This will slow down your other business functions such as sales, customer service, new product development, billing, etc. As a Microsoft CSP, you not only have to remain on top of all the changes but have to communicate the same to your customers in a timely manner. You also must ensure that your existing systems and tools are equipped to handle any price and product changes.
Maintaining profit margins
Price hikes in Microsoft products and services can have an impact on your CSP revenue and profit margin. Steep price hikes may lead to a reduction in the number of customers, or the customers might reduce their spending by downgrading their subscriptions. In case of a price hike, you will have to look for diverse ways to minimize the impact on your customers. In the absence of a CSP billing automation tool, it will be difficult to track potential churn and take proactive measures to protect revenue.
Investing in training
With the launch of new products and features, you will have to train your sales team as well as your customer support team. You will need to invest time and money in educating your sales team on the product changes and associated benefits. Unless your team understands additional or upgraded product features, they will be unable to convince the customers of the advantages of using the new or updated products. Similarly, for customer support teams to provide satisfactory resolutions to customer issues and help customers navigate through the changed products, they need to have complete product knowledge including additions or replacements of product features. If you are looking to upskill and train your teams, you can read our blog here to learn more about building technical and sales capability.
Managing a large customer base
When managing a large customer base, it becomes quite challenging to keep track of the price and product changes for each customer. If you are not using a CSP billing automation tool, then with every price change, you have to manually update the product pricing and customized discounts, if any for each customer. Failure to do so will result in underbilling the customer in case of a price hike. Inaccurate billing not only leads to revenue leakages but also reduces the trust of the customers.
Ensuring business continuity
There could be potential disruptions due to price and product changes. An increase in the price of the products could impact on the budgets of the customers, leading to delays in renewing the subscriptions as customers will have to relook at their financial planning. Changes in the features could impact on its integration with third-party solutions, leading to downtime for the customers. These disruptions can affect business continuity and damage the reputation of your CSP business. To mitigate this you will have to provide advanced information as well as offer training to your customers.
How a CSP billing automation tool can help simplify price and product changes for Microsoft CSPs
If you are manually managing the billing for your customers, any price fluctuation or product change will be difficult to handle. CSP billing automation tool is the solution to simplify handling Microsoft price and product changes. A CSP billing automation tool can help you address the challenges of price and product changes in the following ways:
Automates price and product updates
Manually updating the price and/or product changes for each customer can be a resource-intensive and time-consuming process. You will not only have to update the price changes but also the discounts and offers associated with different customer accounts. A CSP billing automation tool will automatically update any price and product information for each customer any time a change by Microsoft is made. This will not only eliminate manual intervention but will ensure that the billing information is correct for all customers. With a CSP billing automation tool, accurate invoices will be generated based on the latest product pricing.
Reduces potential disruptions
As the CSP billing automation tool will automatically update any price and product changes, there will be no delays in generating the invoices with the updated pricing. This will ensure that accurate invoices are generated in a timely manner so that there are no disruptions of services due to non-payment or billing disputes. A smooth billing experience will increase the confidence of the customers in you and lead to a long-term business association.
A CSP billing automation tool provides your customers with the option of self-service. This allows your customers to view any price changes to their subscriptions themselves. This leads to greater transparency and reduces the incidents of billing disputes as the customers are aware of the price changes. This also lowers the number of support tickets raised by the customers, which reduces the burden on your customer support teams.
Customers are also able to adjust their subscriptions or opt for product bundles to adapt to price changes. This improves the customer experience and lowers customer churn. With the self-service portal, customers can also explore additional features and product upgrades on their own. They can also learn about new products and services and the benefits for their businesses.
Provides extensive reporting
The real-time reporting and analytics provided by the CSP billing automation tool can help you make data-driven decisions. These valuable insights can help you understand customer behavior and the impact of price changes on usage. You can use this data to adjust your pricing and offers to minimize customer churn. According to a survey by Gartner, “84% of customer service and support leaders believe that customer data and analytics is a priority for achieving their business goals in 2023.”
You can also use information on customer preferences to identify which new products are more popular with the customers and create product bundles that are cost-effective and meet the needs of your customers.
Streamline Microsoft price and product changes with C3
If you are tired of dealing with Microsoft price and product changes, the CSP billing automation tool by C3 is what you need. C3 can help you simplify managing the Microsoft price and product changes.
- Accurate invoicing– C3 automatically incorporates any price changes by Microsoft and updates the billing data for your customers. This ensures that you send out accurate invoices to your customers without delays.
- Self-service– leverage the self-service capabilities offered by C3 to keep your customers updated on any price and product changes. Also, reduce customer churn by providing your customers with more control over their subscriptions.
- Sell product bundles- with C3 you can create and sell product bundles that not only offer a comprehensive solution to your customers but also reduce the impact of price changes on your customers.
- Reporting and analytics- C3 provides you with real-time insights to help in strategic decision-making. You can use extensive reports to gauge customer needs and sentiments and adjust the pricing of the products and services.
Get in touch to know more about how C3 can help you stay ahead of the curve.