perception versus reality

How Tekspace Has Overcome Passive Customer Perception with NPS

Have you ever sat in your house, looked around at all of the devices and utilities that are being powered by electricity and thought, “Wow, my power company is amazing.”

Likely not, right?

If you’re like me, the only time you think of your power company is when the power is out (or when that inflated monthly bill arrives).

The fact is, for most of us, we expect our power to be up and running at all times, after all, that’s what we pay for.

When our power goes out, no matter the reason, we blame it on the power company. On top of that, we expect that if there is an outage, it will be repaired in record time. Otherwise, they’ll be getting an earful from us as the customer.

At best, the most that power company can ever ask for is a passive customer, unfortunately. But, that’s the nature of that business.

The same can be said for IT services (Information Technology) companies, such as Promoter.io client, Tekspace.

Tekspace Net Promoter

Tekspace is an Australian-based managed IT services firm that knows the plight of passive customers all too well.

And, it’s not because they are bad at what they do. Quite the contrary actually. Tekspace has been growing like a weed thanks to their commitment to reduce IT downtime and their unique offering: the “Core Platform”.

In some industries, the best a company can ever ask for is a passive customer. Click To Tweet

For those of you who are unfamiliar with what a managed IT services firm does, they are essentially your company’s IT department, only outsourced. You know, those guys and gals you call when your computer won’t start.

The truth is, they do much more than that, but much of it is behind the curtain, which is part of the challenge when it comes to measuring customer sentiment.

In the case of Tekspace, they offer what they define as their 4 pillars, where each pillar has its own dedicated team in the business:

  1. Support – This is what most of us non-IT people are familiar with: help desk support, installing updates, anti-spam software, etc.
  2. Continuity – Monitoring infrastructure and looking for indicators of potential issues, then fixing the issues before they occur. This is the stuff most customers never see.
  3. Improvement – Continually benchmarking a company’s IT against best practice, then finding and bridging the most critical gaps. According to George Hagivassilis, Tekspace’s CCO, this has never been done before, so the team at Tekspace made their own proprietary system called the “Core Analysis”.
  4. Strategy – Working with business leaders to help them make smarter decisions about their technology, including assistance in contract negotiations with hardware or software providers.  

At the end of the day however, George says that what customers tend to measure their success on, is IT uptime.

Much like we as consumers expect our power companies to keep our electricity on, Tekspace customers rely on them to keep their computers, devices and servers up and running.

And, it turns out that IT downtime is no joke.

When Tekspace first got going, they needed to figure out how much IT downtime was costing the average company.

They performed an analysis across tens of thousands of past IT issues, and what they learned was that, on average, for every 25 employees that a company has, they will lose the equivalent of 1 full-time employee in IT downtime per year.

Upon this discovery, they decided that reducing this number for their clients was going to be one of their primary Northstar metrics.

Even though IT outages are not out of the ordinary for any company and even though Tekspace significantly reduces the chances of having them, they still get blamed when they happen.

To the end user (the employee of the customer), it doesn’t matter whether Tekspace caused the issue or had nothing to do with it (which is the majority of cases), the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the IT team.

This, along with wanting to grow and do better as an organization, is what led George and the rest of the folks at Tekspace to investing in NPS and Promoter.io.

Why NPS?

One of the biggest needs was that they wanted to know if their proprietary “Core Platform” was working perceptively.

In other words, since the customers couldn’t always see what was happening behind-the-scenes, did the C-Level decision makers and end-users (employees) at the very least, sense the impact that their platform was having on their business? If so, how could they improve it?

George and his team knew that NPS would be a great source for this level of information.

Additionally though, given that most IT services customers were passive by nature, they were curious to dig deeper to find the reasons behind those passive scores.

And finally, just like any company that measures their NPS, they had the same aspirations of increasing their score over time by leveraging the insights to improve and grow their business.

The Impact End-Users Can Make

When the initial results started to come in, they could clearly see that most of the end-users they surveyed were not aware of the full extent of the services Tekspace provided.

Many of the results were directly related to the experience they had with the service desk (often their only touch point), or their sentiment was based on their own internal IT issues.

While these insights were useful for making service-level improvements, they also presented an opportunity to improve communication and visibility around their broader efforts.

When asked why end-users (who only see a single side to their business) were a part of those that were surveyed, George stated that end-users are important to the business because:

  1. Despite however well Tekspace may actually perform, end-user perception is reality and drives their sentiment, so it’s important to understand how they feel.
  2. End-user sentiment ultimately impacts the buying decision made by C-Level decision makers at contract renewal time.
  3. Identifying promoters could be leveraged for positive reviews.

With surveys being sent every 60 days, Tekspace is able to measure how service delivery improvements influence end-user perception over time.

How Decision Makers Differ

Since all of the NPS surveys fall under a single campaign, George used ‘attribute filters’ to separate the results between the end-users and the C-Level decision makers.

While these C-Level customers are those that are aware of the full scope of services that Tekspace provides, it was surprising to find out that support (service desk) was still a big factor in their score.

Overall however, they were able to get deeper insights from these individuals with more pointed feedback.

Ultimately, they were able to determine that while customer sentiment from decision makers had indicated they were quick at responding to and ultimately resolving issues, the time to resolve the issues needed to improve.

This was an interesting discovery as their internal data had indicated that they were fixing issues extremely fast; often well within service levels.

The delta between their customers’ perception versus their internal data has led them to explore ways in which they can reduce their resolution times by up to half.

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At the end of the day, thanks to NPS, George and his team have realized that perception, as opposed to reality, plays a big role in the sentiment of the customers.

This has been an important realization as they look to expand their business beyond Melbourne in the coming months and years ahead.

On the important role that NPS has played for Tekspace, George stated,

Tekspace CCO, George Hagivassilis

Tekspace CCO, George Hagivassilis

At Tekspace, we’re on a mission to help our customers improve productivity by giving back the hours they’re losing to IT downtime. To help get us there, we’ve created the Core Platform; a unique mix of IT services that’s constantly evolving and improving.

It’s the ever-changing nature of the Core Platform that makes NPS and Promoter.io so important to our business.

As a metric alone, NPS helps guide us toward finding a tighter product-market fit, by giving us insight as to how we’re perceived by our end-users. This insight is important because it helps us to achieve our mission, do better by our customers and thus build a more successful business.

With Promoter.io however, NPS is far more than a guiding metric. The product has enabled us to have direct and open conversations with our end-users. These conversations give context to perception which is used not only to more finely tune our product roadmap, but also our positioning in the market.

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Chad Keck

As a product lead and executive for numerous successful ventures (Rackspace, HP Cloud, AppFog), Chad founded Promoter.io to help bring the actionable insights provided by Net Promoter to all businesses. He is a native Texan with a passion for helping other entrepreneurs.

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