Amy’s sayings: The answer is always Yes

This is installment 9 of a series where I explain the sayings that help me run my MSP business and manage employees. You can read the whole series here: How to: Business topics ( Specifically this is one of Amy’s Sayings.

The answer is always yes

Some people are immediately exhausted when they read, the answer is always yes. In their minds it means that they must be doing everything anyone demands of them right now. Relax, that’s not what it means in this case.

There are phrases that help you run your business and there are phrases that help your employees know intuitively what to do in every situation when you aren’t present. You can’t be everywhere at one time so it’s really important that you develop some memorable sayings that help your employees know the right thing to do without asking. This is a crucial part of developing the self-managing employee. The answer is always yes, is a phrase that employees need to know when interacting with clients.

What it isn’t

Do not confuse this phrase with the customer is always right or that you have to ask how high when they ask you to jump. This is also not a to-do list builder or a phrase that throws you plans for the day into a tailspin. This phrase does not build chaos into your business, rather it builds customer respect and loyalty. Yes doesn’t have to mean, right now. Yes means that you are acknowledging the clients ask and will help them find a solution.

What it is

This is a phrase that defines how we want our staff to interact with clients. Some examples might help.

Client: Our phone bills have gotten really high. Can you guys install VOIP system to save us some money? Bad Tech: No we don’t do that. Good Tech: Yes. I’ll send a message over to Amy to let her know that you’re interested in VOIP. Good Tech then let’s the right person know that the client has high phone bills and thinks that VOIP is going to save them money and that they are looking around at phone systems. This alerts the firm to an opportunity to have a discussion about the clients desire to reduce phone system costs and opens up a discussion with them about modernization, features, and the project as a whole. It puts our firm into the conversation in advisory role and maybe in an implementation role too.

Client: We need to track our products from sale to final delivery. We’re thinking about an excel sheet, some barcodes and a few scanners. Can you help us get that set up? Bad Tech: Sure! Good Tech: Yes, I’ll send a message to Amy. We’ve helped some other clients with projects like this. Why was it bad to say sure? Because the tech will go down the path of ordering scanners, and a barcode printer. When what this project actually is a call for help. There are solutions out there already built, some industry specific, some stand alone, some part of an ERP, that do exactly this for businesses and the outcome is efficiency, profit and business growth. The problem is that the client is unaware of them and even if they tried to find the right solution, they have no reference for what’s a good solution and what’s a less good solution. For this type of project, we would consult with the client and the solution provider to make sure that the goals are achieved.

Client: We’re going to build another building on our property about 3000 feet away. I need you to run a cable over there. Bad Tech: You can’t run a cable over there, it’s too far. The client then orders a separate internet service for that building. Good Tech: Congratulation on the new building! You can’t run a cable that far but there are better ways to connect that building to your network. I’ll let Amy know that you’re going to need to make a connection to your building. It’s never good to put the client into a situation where they feel that they have to solve their own problem. They only know what they know and will probably make the wrong decision. Our value is that we’ve seen this problem, we know the options, and we can present them after consulting with the client about the function of the new building and the business goals.

Client: A friend of mine got hacked. Am I safe? Bad Tech: No one is safe. We do some stuff but there’s no way to protect you from everything. Good Tech: We have a pretty comprehensive security program. Nothing is 100% but we do what we can. It might be a good idea though to do a security review with you. I’ll see about getting that scheduled. If we had a bad tech what would happen? The client would look at the next MSP marketing material they received, notice what they said about security and probably set up a meeting with them. The client would also become increasing paranoid and make future bad decisions based on this fear. A good tech, sets up the company he works for, for success. By acknowledging the clients concern it reaffirms to them that we are here to help and we’re here to help them.

Client: We want to start using AI. Bad tech: We are recommending that yet. Good Tech: Awesome! I think it’s great that you’re interested in new technology. I’ll ask Amy to set up a meeting with you so you can figure out what needs to be done and which AI is going to best for you.

Are we a phone company? No. Are we a custom coding company? No. Are we a WAN installer? No. Are we security specialists? No. But we can help our clients find the best solution for all of these situations. We can provide the leadership in technology that our client needs and earn the title of trusted advisory for all business issues that involve technology. It’s knowing that the answer is always yes, that can help us build that rapport with our clients. The answer is always yes, also results in a steady stream of new high value project work.

Teaching your staff that the answer is always yes, even when they don’t actually know the answer not only builds great client relationships and high value project work, but it also empowers the employee. Good techs don’t want to say no. But they do need to understand how to say yes. Knowing how to say yes, is a skill that good techs know. And it is helped by another phrase, Did you ask the question? Spoiler alert, this one is about asking why the client is asking you do something before you start to work on an issue. For example, If the client says, I need to make sure that when I print an address on an envelope that is stays all the way to the right. The tech, shouldn’t help them make Word put addresses all the way to the far right of an envelope. Instead, they should ask why and they might find out and there’s a problem with the printer. In this case the tech says yes to the question but then asks why and ends up solving the real problem, which isn’t the request that the client made of them but is a solution that gets to the root of the problem and results in a lasting solution.

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