Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Creating Stability is Key to Improving Customer Relationships

Ensuring a great customer experience can be tricky in a stable business environment, where customers know exactly what’s around the corner. But it’s a much more difficult task during periods of significant change.

As a global hybrid multi-cloud managed service provider, Aptum is focused on enabling businesses to solve complex technology challenges with total solutions and tailored options that maximize business outcomes.

In the two years since I joined Aptum, we have experienced several significant events including a company rebrand, a strategic business change and the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite these changes, our Net Promoter Score (NPS) has trended significantly upwards. It’s above the average for our industry and truly demonstrates our resilience and commitment to our customers. Below are some of the lessons you can take away to help with your own NPS score:


  • Create a stable environment for customers: Many B2B organizations are going through change as a result of the pandemic, including reorganizations and remote workforce enablement. At Aptum, we’ve dealt with these issues and more over the last two years. We’ve become a standalone company, handled the changes brought on by COVID-19, and migrated customers from an older data center to a newer facility in one of our major markets. And that’s on top of the usual changes a managed service provider experiences, such as new product launches, partnerships and technology evolution.Through all this, we’ve focused on being a necessary stable presence for our customers by being diligent, innovative and providing solutions to their business challenges.  Although our brand is new, our company has more than 20 years of experience helping customers move, store and secure their most important data. Our customers trust us to keep their critical data accessible, without exception, regardless of uncertainties.



  • Customers want solutions – not transactions: Over time, we’ve focused on providing tailored solutions to our customers, rather than just selling products. Each of our customers has a consistent account management team that knows their business and understands how to help them achieve the best outcomes.For example, during a recent data center migration, we took time to plan the move for each customer, help them understand the benefits and consulted with them to determine which solutions would best meet their business needs in the new data center. We gave every customer a lot of individual attention and came up with a solution designed specifically to help them achieve their goals. We didn’t use a one-size-fits-all approach. We communicated transparently with customers, ensured they had minimal disruptions and made sure they knew they were moving to a best-in-class facility. Our customer retention rate during the change was high because our team communicated consistently and provided creative solutions that limited downtime.



  • Clear and Consistent Communication: Keeping in constant communication with customers is very important. It can be a tricky balance, because too much communication can be viewed negatively. It’s important to make sure every customer interaction provides real value.Good communication also means every customer-facing person at your company is delivering the same messages – whether they’re coming from a sales rep, the technology team, or via an email newsletter. You want to offer customers a variety of information — not only about your own business, but about the overall industry and trends, especially if you can relate it directly to the customer’s business. That’s a great way to build relationships and become more of a partner and less of a product supplier.At Aptum, we have put a lot of effort into training our sales team to ensure our message is consistent. We have focus days at least twice a month where we select a solution portfolio area, such as cloud or security, and train the sales teams on those solutions. The product experts present use cases and discuss key benefits for customers; and the marketing team shares product messaging with available literature and assets to support and supplement the conversations. This helps our sales force communicate the value we bring to customers.



  • Keep it Short and Simple: This tip is more tactical than strategic, but when we created our first NPS survey years ago, we made it too long. We were trying to get marketing information, product information and any kind of feedback we could get. If we didn’t get a response, we would follow up by phone. The lesson we learned is if you make the survey too long and too complex, customers won’t participate. We also focused on gathering information that was truly meaningful, so we could understand exactly what we were doing right and where customers thought we could improve.Our latest NPS survey is much shorter and is designed to take customers about two minutes to finish. Our response rate has been much better, and so has our score.

There are a number of factors that can contribute to improving NPS scores, but in my opinion the real key to success is to eliminate complexity for customers. I like to use the analogy of a duck swimming. On the surface, everything is calm, but beneath the water there’s a lot going on. We have made a conscious effort to minimize challenges for our customers and focus on creating technology solutions that help them achieve successful business outcomes.

Leigh Plumley

Leigh Plumley is the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) of Aptum, a global hybrid, multi-cloud managed service provider based in Toronto.  He oversees the creation of new revenue opportunities and growing sales of Aptum’s products and services portfolio globally. With more than 20 years of experience in developing sales organizations, Leigh is an expert at generating profitable revenue growth in the IT and Managed Services industries.


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