There’s that old saying that goes, ‘the customer is always right’. I think many business owners will agree, however, that that’s not always the case. At some point or another, every business will run up against a difficult customer who they simply need to say no to.
But not Jeff Hootselle. As the Chief Cloud Officer of Auditmacs, Jeff has helped build the business into a thriving communications life-cycle management services company that primarily serves mid to large enterprises. And he’s done so by always saying yes to his customers.
In fact, this very ‘can-do’ attitude has taken Auditmacs from a telecom provider into a full-service shop that now provides telecom, cloud, and even hardware services.
But getting to that ‘yes’ isn’t always so straightforward. More often than not it requires a good understanding of the client’s problem and digging to the heart of what they desire. I recently sat down with Jeff to learn more about Jeff’s path to a yes and how it has helped Auditmacs prosper.
Here’s what he shared.
Understanding the Variables Behind the Problem
If a customer approaches you, chances are they’re looking for you to solve a problem. But understanding that problem isn’t always so straightforward. A customer may know they need help, but may not always know exactly what they need to alleviate their challenges.
According to Jeff, getting to the source of a customer’s problem first requires an understanding of three main variables that impact every problem: time, money, and knowledge and experience.
The first two variables, time and money, are typically related to a scarcity issue—where the customer has constraints on their availability and budget to be able to solve the problem themselves.
The third variable, knowledge and experience, is a little more complex. Many IT and telecom customers are well-informed about the technologies available to them. They’ve done their research and may have pinned down a service or product they’d like to deploy.
But while the knowledge is there, the actual hard experience it requires to carry out their goal is often lacking. Further, their research and knowledge may even blind them from fully understanding that they lack the required experience needed to get the job done.
According to Jeff, the best way to unearth these three variables is by sitting down face-to-face with the customer. Through an open dialogue, Jeff says he’s able to discover the factors behind his customer’s problem. These chats also provide him an opportunity to show the customer alternative solutions that their research may not uncovered.
Becoming A One-Stop-Shop
Today’s customers are busier than ever before. While the digital era has opened up many new markets to the everyday business—allowing them to do more for more people—it has also placed huge demands on their time. In response, customers now want seamless customer experiences at every touch point to alleviate their time woes.
Jeff has seen this shift first hand over the years and has responded by becoming a one-stop-shop for their needs. Back when Auditmacs was founded, the business solely provided telecom services. As the cloud grew, the business brought cloud-based services into the fold. Soon they’ll be adding hardware to their mix.
The decision to add additional services was in response to their customers’ demands for more. In a nutshell, they wanted convenience and a single vendor who they could go to for the entire IT and telecom lifecycle management.
Realizing the opportunity, Jeff and his team said ‘yes’ by providing full lifecycle management services. That shift has made Auditmac an invaluable and trusted one-stop-shop for most of their clientele. Today, the average Auditmac customer is enrolled in six to seven of the business’ services.
Knowing Your Limits
No business can be everything to everyone. While a certain service mix may work for one customer, the same may not hold true with another. Customers, are after all, unique and bring with them unique problems.
Jeff understands this well. While Auditmacs provides an in-depth service offering, there are times when parts of their offering isn’t a perfect match for a customer. During these times, Jeff and his teams turn to a roster of trusted strategic partners. These partners are brought in to backfill gaps in their offering in relation to a customer’s need.
What’s really important is that these partners are folded into his master team to appear as a single entity from the client side. By doing so, he’s still able to say ‘yes’ and continue to provide them with a seamless one-stop-shop experience in the process.
To hear more about Jeff’s ‘can-do’ attitude, be sure to check out the complete interview over on the podcast. Jeff shares many more great insights into Auditmac’s success including some interesting ideas on pitching and conversions.