They talk about usResellers Must Show Their Empathetic Side After COVID

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‘Centile discusses Reseller and Partner opportunities’

Resellers Must Show Their Empathetic Side After COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way that a lot of companies work. Businesses around the world have transformed almost overnight. Even companies that might not have considered the move to cloud in the past now realize that cloud is essential to getting ahead of the competition.

It’s not just end-users that are feeling the strain, however. In this new landscape, vendors, resellers, and channel partners all need to rethink their go-to-market approach. According to the Director of Centile, Justin Hamilton-Martin, businesses must ensure that they’re making the right connections with customers in this time.

Centile believes that the connections companies develop with their customers during these challenging times will be what clients remember for years to come.

What Kind of Impact Have You Seen?

I started by asking Justin what kind of impact he’s noticed in the communication landscape in recent months. Like most businesses in the UC and collaboration space, Centile UK say that the impact on them and their customers has been incredible.

“We’ve had a lot of discussions going on externally that has lead us to achieving a significant amount of new business. The number of committed seats that we’ve secured lately has tripled. The number of contracted seats we have has grown even more than that.”

Crucially, Justin noted that although the amount of customers his company is working with is increasing, it may not show too heavily in the brand’s revenue. That’s because Centile have been offering free packages and bundles too.

“I think this is the right thing to do. Right now, the way that resellers handle their customers is going to be what people remember going forward. It’s the channel’s responsibility to take care of end-users, and our responsibility to help our partners and resellers.”

Are Partners and Resellers Struggling Right Now?

Justin told me that things are overly complicated in the communication space right now. Emotions are running higher, and isolation that we all feel is exposing our vulnerabilities as a species. We’re all facing a strange new world. The traditional partners who had an outdated view of cloud have had to change overnight.

“We’ve seen people struggling because they haven’t been able to switch to the cloud quickly enough. Overall we’ve also seen a decrease compared to last year in our private cloud deployments to enterprise customer by our resellers. Although there were more of these deployments initially based on the decisions being accelerated as COVID appeared the pipeline for many has started to become strained, the key right now for many is supporting existing customers with extra functionality and integrations, not necessarily delivering new solution deployments.”

Justin told me that any resellers that hadn’t fully adopted the cloud in the past are bound to face some significant stress. “My hunch is that resellers are going to need a template in mind for how they’re going to handle different kinds of customers facing financial pressure on their businesses”. According to Hamilton-Martin, today’s resellers are going to need to approach different customers in different ways.

Partners need to take a long-term and big-picture view of the relationships that they build with their customers.

How Are People Creating Collaboration Stacks Today?

Justin told me that when companies first began to move everyone to working from home, they realised that they need to carry on delivering a complete collaboration experience. Brands discovered that relying exclusively on email just wasn’t an option.

Initially, the move to collaboration on the cloud started with a massive adoption of lots of online tools. However, some companies might need to change their approach going forward. Some companies might look to open APIs to combine their collaboration and communication landscape. Others might decide to expand their solutions through custom creations.

“A lot of enquiries have been coming through for resellers capable of offering collaboration solutions. People that have been working on integrations with leading tools have been getting more attention as well. Even at Centile, we’ve been using things like Zoom, Asana and Microsoft Teams.”

Justin noted that any organisation focusing on disaster recovery as their promotion point for customers right now is looking in the wrong direction.

“The focus needs to be on business continuity. It’s not just about recovering from what’s happened; it’s about being prepared for anything”

How Are Things from a Billing Perspective?

According to Justin, there hasn’t been a lot of issues with billing problems in his company. People need to pay their bills to keep the cloud on. There are a handful of people asking why they should pay for the cloud when they’re dealing with employees on furlough. However, Justin’s team addresses each case individually, speaking to clients about how they’re actually using their services.

“You need to understand how your relationships with customers are going to be affected by what you do now. Partners need to make sure that they’re looking after their customers long-term, because they’re going to remember what happens here.”

Deliver the Right Service and the Rest Will Follow

Even as partners and resellers struggle with this changing environment, Justin recommends that they should all be focusing on their customers needs right now. Doing a risk analysis and assessment of each customer and contacting them to find out what they need and how they’re getting on is essential. There’s a lot to be gained from speaking to your customer base during this difficult time.

“We’ve been working as hard as possible to help our channels continue to thrive and grow their business since all this began. We’re going to continue to do that going forward. The key to success right now is to focus on helping people as much as you can.”

“You need to show your clients that you can still support them during this pandemic, and afterwards too”

Resellers and partners need to realise that the moments they deliver during this time will be pivotal to their client relationships going forward.

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