If you’re contemplating how to successfully build recurring monthly revenue in your integration business, you are not alone. Discussions around RMR have reached a fever pitch in the industry as most integrators have embraced the important role these revenue streams will play in their businesses moving forward (and the implied transition to “technology manager” that goes along with it).
While it’s encouraging to see the industry’s sharpened focus, it’s important that we don’t put the cart before the horse. To find true success with RMR, you must first build an effective service process within your organization. To make that process easier, we’ve listed out five tools you will need to run an effective service team, which ultimately paves the way for sustainable RMR success:
1) Dedicated Phone and Email Channels for Service
One of the first steps you should take in building out your service process is to set up a dedicated phone number and email address through which you should funnel all support requests. Once these channels are set up, you’ll need to make a concerted effort to notify your client base and continually reinforce the message that the use of these channels is the quickest way to receive support.
The service phone number can be implemented either by using a dedicated cell phone, or by using a modern phone system that allows you to create preset forwarding rules. Cloud-based phone systems such as RingCentral are what we recommend.
Centralizing email communications can be as simple as setting up an address such as “firstname.lastname@example.org.” The credentials for this inbox can then be shared among service employees. Or even better, emails to this address can be automatically routed into a ticketing system for tracking. The process of setting up and using this email address also presents a great opportunity to review effective support communication with your team.
2) Ticketing System
Ticketing systems are highly effective for tracking service issues and ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks. A quick Google search will turn up dozens of choices, most of them with very similar feature sets. Zendesk is a very popular and robust option that we’ve had success with. Ihiji’s Service Manager is another great option, particularly in light of the fact that it was built from the ground up specifically for our industry (full disclosure: I am an investor in Ihiji). The most important thing is that you pick one and implement it right away. Ticketing systems are an absolutely vital component to any successful service organization.
3) Time Tracking
The third tool that you’ll want to implement right away is a cloud-based time tracking app. Time-tracking data is absolutely critical to making sure that your team is running efficiently and that the service plans you are selling are profitable. Harvest is a popular choice and one we recommend if you don’t already have one. There are plenty of reviews available and most of these tools offer free trials to help you choose. Once you find one you like, implement it right away and make its use mandatory across your entire team.
4) Quick Communication Tool
Real-time messaging platforms are quickly growing in popularity, and for good reason: these tools enable quick collaboration across your entire organization. Slack has become enormously popular and is the tool that we use with great success at OneVision. The demands of service require a nimble team that can communicate quickly and work in tight formation around the client’s needs. Far more efficient than email, cross-platform instant messaging tools enable your service team to communicate and collaborate in real time.
5) Remote Systems Management (RSM)
No article on RMR would be complete with giving RSM its due. With at least half a dozen different options now on the market, this category has matured greatly in recent times. This maturation has brought price points on both the hardware and software licensing to new lows, leaving no excuse to forgo implementation of RSM in your business.
It’s important to note that RSM is about service enablement first and foremost. By requiring an RSM appliance on every job moving forward, you’ll make your service team more efficient (decreasing the need for truck rolls) and enable RMR potential by providing monitoring functionality (if your clients pay for it). In either case, RSM tools leads to a valuable and profitable service experience.
Service First. RMR Second
RMR has an unquestionably important role in the future of the home technology business. But as we push forward in search of new strategies and pricing models, it’s important to remember that RMR is not a strategy in and of itself, but rather an end goal. The path to success is through quality, effective service. The five tools listed in this article will get you started in the right direction.
If you find these five steps daunting, then reach out to us at OneVision. We do all this work for you when you become a partner on our platform!