A well-maintained customer-vendor relationship can open up a world of new professional opportunities and capabilities. As an IT support vendor, building trust with a client is the first step to forming this strong relationship. Some customers realize they need a vendor even when they’re working on a small project. Others might not acknowledge the necessity until they’re working on a major project, such as an international IT rollout. Therefore, it’s crucial to meet your customer where they are to establish that trust and rapport as soon as possible, especially if they’re planning a global expansion.
Laying the Foundation
As experienced IT service providers, we all know that protecting our customers' data privacy and integrity is critical to success in the industry. Even so, it’s still a big step for customers to have full confidence in their IT support vendor. After all, clients are choosing to entrust their companies' most sensitive data to strangers.
Trust provides the foundation for a stable relationship between IT service providers and their customers. That is why Kinettix and our IT field support partners have stringent policies and robust controls to ensure that service technicians cannot access any private information.
Ideally, IT technicians only need to view system and security logs to complete their duties. However, there are often situations where monitoring evolving threats may necessitate deep packet analysis. This solution may mean full insight to a company's available data, so IT support vendors should take advanced precaution to protect their relationship with clients from the start.
First, you must obtain obligatory insurance to protect customers financially and to qualify for requisite technical certifications for fieldwork. Next, take the following steps:
- Welcome Customer Audits: Do everything you can to make new customers feel comfortable. Encourage them to audit your security operation center procedures, operations, staff security clearance credentials, physical and data access procedures and controls, redundancy systems, business continuity plans, and field training procedures. By giving them the opportunity to vet these policies, you will be able to address any initial questions or hesitations.
- Begin Gradually: Don’t jump into an international IT rollout before knowing whether you and the customer are a good fit. Start small while still using this time to demonstrate your experience and expertise. That way the client feels confident in your abilities. For example, suggest that you provide a one-time network and telecommunications systems assessment instead of monitoring the entire infrastructure right out of the gate.
- Develop a Joint Incident Response Plan: For large projects, align your plan for incident response with the customer's established policy. Develop a joint plan to add value to the service you already deliver. This step is especially important when customers are using cloud services. The cloud infrastructure often requires stronger monitoring controls and security measures than internal networks, so it pays to have both parties on the same page before an issue arises.
Maintaining the Relationship
Global companies' IT security operations management must balance the risks with the rewards. In other words, they should maintain a level of security that is fully effective without impeding the customer's smooth and profitable operations, plans and goals.
Outsourced IT must act as—and be accepted as—an extension of the customer's IT security team, prioritizing security and comprehending the customer's need for IT that seamlessly accommodates daily business operations. That means IT support vendors should be available to help their customers whenever necessary. Additionally, customers should treat their vendor as part of the team. Below are two ways to maintain trust over time:
- Break/Fix Service Delivery Visibility: Modern corporate customers want visibility of service delivery processes, including management of tickets, quality assessments and cost management. This clear system ensures that there is little to no confusion. The transparency then fosters trust. Kinettix customers, for example, receive detailed information on the use of our ticket management and service process monitoring platform. They also have access to our dedicated vendor support system as we handle any break/fix issues.
- Project Service Delivery Visibility: Transparency and successful collaboration are central to our long-term customer and IT field partner relationships—and the backbone of our service delivery model. Without visibility, projects become delayed or stuck. Your team effectively merges with the customer's internal IT team in full collaboration, providing process status updates and requests changes in real-time, through available team collaboration tools.
Building trust with a client takes time. Here at Kinettix, we have experience working alongside major clients and partners to manage and coordinate enterprise-level projects in over 90 countries worldwide. If you’re looking to partner with a company who specializes in international IT rollouts so you can give clients the local support they need, then join our Global Alliance.