Not too long ago, most businesses differentiated themselves from their competitors by offering a higher level of services. One of the best examples were gas stations. When you pulled in to fill up, a full team came running out to wash your windshield, pump the gas, and check your air and oil. Gas station owners knew if they could create loyalty with great services, they would earn more of your business. Not only would you keep coming back for fill ups, you would also likely buy larger items like tires and mechanical work from them. While service levels have dramatically dropped for most business, we are seeing the opposite trend in the IT reseller sector. Over the past 20 years, many traditional resellers have turned to services as their key value-add. These services include design and installation, virtualization, cloud offerings, managed services, and asset/support contract management applications. In order to better describe their services portfolio, Value Added Resellers (VARs) have become increasingly referred to as Solution Providers.
As competition increases, Solution Providers are finding it harder to differentiate themselves. Many industry leading Solution Providers have found that offering a web based customer portal for access to asset and support contract data has been most effective. Along with portal access, these Solution Providers have automated the renewals with expiration notifications, customer dashboards, and quoting processes. Their customers are able to log-in and view all of their equipment, software and associated contracts and receive notifications of impending renewal activity.
So, many highly successful solution providers, are building long-term loyalty with their best customers, creating more opportunities for new sales and services, and winning new customers by recognizing the value and return on investment in providing the best customer service.