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Four Ways VARs Can Strengthen Customer Relationships

Sponsored Guest Blog: There are 4 sensible steps VAR’s can implement today that will strengthen relationships with their existing customer base and increase their residual revenue. Here's everything you need to know to get started.

IT customers often struggle with support issues post sale. They often manage multi-vendor environments, costing them down-time and dollars and customer spend too much time managing service contracts and renewals.  In addition, support often comes in the form of a ‘call center’ where issues are escalated from one scripted customer service rep to another scripted rep where language barrier’s often exist.  And finally, pre-directed service level agreements structured for the manufacturer’s convenience and not the customer means added expense in already tight I.T. budgets.

Apply these EASY steps for superior support services:
  • Step One – Provide a single point of contact for I.T. support services.  You will save your customers time, money and downtime by providing one phone number, one name and one email address that they can contact for support services on all equipment regardless of the manufacturer.  To provide such a valuable service to your customers is EASY by becoming a Certified ISMO Provider.  ISMO (Independent Service Maintenance Organization) will provide hardware maintenance and support services on behalf of the reseller and in the reseller’s name.
  • Step Two - Consolidate their equipment lists and service warranties into one contract.  Instead of managing contracts and renewals on a continuous basis, they’ll have one service contract on all network, server and storage equipment which means one renewal, once a year.  They’ll have time to manage their business instead of managing contracts.  Maintenance contracts roll forward and integrate expiring OEM contracts.  Resellers can offer this benefit through their relationship with ISMO.  ISMO will provide customized service contract audits on the resellers behalf so that the Certified ISMO Provider can maintain the relationship and own the contract.
  • Step Three – Provide a North American-based, highly certified help desk available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  By providing such a valuable resource, which is always just a phone call away, reduces downtime and saves the customer money.  Resellers can implement this service for their customer base on a national basis by becoming Certified ISMO Providers.  ISMO will field calls with a DOMESTIC account manager on the resellers’ behalf and will manage the call from inception to closure.
  • Step Four – Provide flexible service level contract options.  Instead of providing generalized support at the size level, resellers can apply service levels to the equipment level and therefore save their customer’s money.  If equipment is not business critical, lower service levels can be quoted and money will be saved over the OEM’s service coverage.
SMB customers can benefit from one-stop-shop hardware resellers that provide maintenance and support services. But most channel companies do not have the resources or expertise to offer a broad range of such services, leaving them to offer OEM or third-party services, which add extra costs for customers.

To save customers money and ensure their equipment performance, resellers can approach a master independent service and maintenance organization (ISMO) who certifies channel partners in a variety of verticals to support multiple platforms. Because a master ISMO lets its certified partner use their own brand name, the reseller becomes an ISMO that can match support expertise to every piece of equipment, sustaining both customer operations and reseller margins.

About ISMO

An ISMO is an independent service and maintenance organization that certifies its channel partners to provide branded, multiplatform information technology (IT) maintenance and support services throughout North America for mid-range servers, networking and storage equipment. With ISMO certification, channel partners can tailor basic or complex solutions under their own name, from simple 24/7 help desk support to four-hour on-site service, while owning the service level agreement (SLA) and its revenue stream. ISMO certification is available to resellers, independent software vendors (ISVs), original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and leasing companies.

Background: For more information on ISMOs and how to receive certification, call (877)-GO4-ISMO or email info@goismo.com. ISMO was created by ServiceKey LLC, an IT service management company with over 25 years experience in channel management and strategies, as a to address the need for higher margins and stronger brand identity in today’s competitive channel.

More information is located at www.servicekeytss.com.

Christine Callahan (pictured) manages channel and alliance programs for ServiceKey. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy’s 2010 sponsorship program. Read all of her guest blogs here.

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