One of the most common objections I hear when talking to businesses is that they are happy with their current IT support provider.
The reason behind this steadfast loyalty usually falls into one of three categories:
- Family / Friend: “My third cousin does it all for us.”
- Satisfaction: “We haven’t had any problems.”
- Longevity: “We’ve been with them for X years.”
These are all legitimate reasons; however, your unwillingness to consider alternatives could be costing you more than you realise.
The Three Hidden Costs of Loyalty
As far as I can tell, there are three main costs to never challenging your incumbent providers:
When was the last time you made sure you’re getting the best value for money?
Just imagine that every month you spend £75 more than you need to on, say, widget insurance.
Every year, this equates to £900, so over five years we’re talking about £4500 which could have been spent on R&D, system upgrades, or staff incentives – *cough*pizza!*cough*
These figures are pretty arbitrary of course, but should illustrate how cutting costs on just a single service can result in some significant savings.
When did you last check that your provider is still a ‘best fit’ for your business?
Before sending a prospective client a proposal I take the time to visit the premises to discuss requirements and pain points, and to get a feel for the way the business operates in a broader context.
No two people or organisations are the same, so a provider who offers a genuinely bespoke service as standard is going to be more adaptable as your business changes and grows.
What else could you be spending your time and resources on?
Squeezing more value out of your providers and improving efficiencies in your business will free up your resources to pursue other opportunities for growth.
As a quick thought exercise, consider some areas of your business that could be automated or outsourced.
How many hours you could save each week?
What could you do with that extra time?
“But they earned our loyalty!”
Loyalty in business isn’t just earned once. It must be maintained.
The same is true of everything from vehicles to marriage, and even your bank balance.
If these things aren’t proactively given plenty of TLC, it will soon become noticeable.
Don’t believe me?
Skip your car’s next service, forget your wedding anniversary, and ignore your bills – see where that gets you!
In my opinion you owe it to yourself, your business, and your family to run as tight a ship as possible, so make your providers work for your continued loyalty.
If you’re not sure how to approach this, call me and I’ll happily provide some questions you can ask companies like your IT support provider to prompt some innovation.
“But I want loyal customers!”
Customer loyalty creates great testimonials and enables more accurate revenue projections, but let me ask you a question.
Do loyal customers challenge you to change?
To grow personally?
To improve as a business?
Kaizen is the Japanese business philosophy of continual improvement.
Literally meaning “change for good,” kaizen holds as one of its central tenets the idea that big results come from many small changes accumulated over time.
Are your providers acting in accordance with kaizen?
We’re either growing or dying; there is no middle ground or static position.
“Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’.” – 10 points to anyone who can name the movie!
When you deal with an “awkward customer,” do you resent having to step outside of your comfort zone or do you welcome the challenge?
To prosper as a modern business, you need to be creating, innovating, and refining.
It is your most demanding clients who will force this kind of positive change, or kaizen.
The Comfort Zone is a Grave
PR firm Berkeley put out a great little blog post a while back entitled “Metathesiophobia – The fear of change, and something we are all guilty of!” here’s an excerpt:
“Look at the likes of Kodak, Blackberry and Blockbuster. All are dead, or dying because of a fear of change and lack of innovation. Now compare this to Google, the most successful internet company of today; Netflix, which has turned the TV network into an app and Apple, a company that doesn’t need an introduction. The difference, not just in marketplace but in survival, is huge, and all because some are willing to innovate products and services in line with their customers’ needs and the ever changing world we live in.“
Our very own Guy Webb also likes to talk about metathesiophobia – if you want a laugh, give us a call and ask him to say it three times fast!
Look, I know it isn’t always practical to put out tenders and have meetings with umpteen providers every year, but you need to go above and beyond if you’re going to differentiate from your competition.
This is achieved by allowing the kaizen philosophy to permeate through your entire business – many small changes accumulated over time.
The Full Disclosure Challenge
Here’s your chance to step out of your comfort zone in a controlled environment.
Where are you falling prey to metathesiophobia in your own life?
You can gloss it up by calling it complacency or laziness, but those are just examples of you moving away from the pain of having to make a change… it’s all the same!
Leave a comment below with an area of your business or even your personal life that may have stagnated due to fear of change.
Make what you will of the scary spider…