Today I wanted to talk about what makes us different to all of the other local IT companies out there.
It's one of the most common questions I get asked when I network, and it's honestly one I've struggled with since every answer that came out of my mouth is what you would typically expect.
The question comes in many forms:
"What makes Tekkers IT Solutions better than everybody else?"
"What's your USP?"
"Why should I chose you over other local firms?"
And, well - the answers that typically came out of my mouth were something along the lines of:
- We're proactive
- We respond quicker than anyone else
- We work with the business as a partner, a core part of their team
- We work at board level where necessary to guide the strategy
- We have an incredibly good customer retention rate
- We've not lost a single member of staff (except one who moved up to Manchester with his wife!)
- ...and the list goes on!
Whilst all of the above is indeed true, I absolutely hate hearing myself speak those words.
You could replace me with anyone else, any other local IT company, and those words would sound the same.
Every IT Company will tell you they're proactive, fast to respond and work as a 'business partner' to help your business get the best out of its technology investment.
Less IT Companies will be able to tell you that they have a near 100% customer and staff retention rate like we do - but it still feels like something that any company could claim with no real proof.
Recently there have been 2 key trends which I have seen becoming more common throughout the IT industry, trends that I don't personally agree with - but each to their own.
These are our differences.
These are what sets us apart from our competitors.
#1 - Exit Strategy
"Pete, what's your exit strategy?" Is an increasingly common question I'm being asked at IT Vendor and business coaching events.
Death. Death or old age... Seriously.
I have zero plans to sell this business in 3, 5, 10 or any number of years! It's just who I am - As Hugh Jackman would say, this is me.
Tekkers is my retirement plan - and I love what we do here.
We get a huge amount of joy from making our customers happy by fixing things that others can't.
The number of times we've taken over IT Support for a new customer, and then fixed all of the old IT issues which the previous provider couldn't, it's just a fantastic feeling!
I've been contacted so many times by other companies in recent years asking if I'm open to selling the business. I haven't responded to a single one.
I love the job, we're in this for the long game. We're not in it for the money. As long as we can afford to pay to keep our great staff and build a great work environment then I'm happy.
With the recent merger between Taylor Made Computer Solutions and Peach Technologies coming as a surprise to some, it didn't to me, and given the sheer amount of prospecting letters I receive, I wouldn't be surprised if a few other local companies follow suit in coming years.
I have even sat at a number of presentations where those local companies are talking about their business goals to build the business and sell in the next 3 years! I'd hate to be one of their customers where the focus is on short term profit and service.
#2 - Non-IT Companies doing IT
Another common trend I see.
Someone starts out selling mobile phones, then realises that IT is more profitable so decides to that instead.
Telecoms companies who sell traditional phone systems, unaware of the impending ISDN cut-off starting in 2020, realise that they now need to know how VoIP and SIP Trunks work so they decide to build (or acquire) an IT arm to their business so they can stay profitable.
Tekkers was built on 2 fundamental pillars. Technical support and customer service - both are what I excelled at when I left my last position, and so I feel I have some ground to discuss why I think a phone salesman may not be best placed to discuss the best IT technology for your business.
The business has been built on doing what we're good at. Providing great technical support and customer service, and providing the right solutions along the way to best suit each business. We don't look to sell products that allow great margins and make us the most profit, and we always stick by what we do and the way we do it.
We don't really do sales here at Tekkers. In fact, I'm actually a pretty awful salesman.
A number of times we have refused customer requests because we believe, hand on heart, that it's not the right thing to do. Things like buying cheap hardware that won't last or perform as well as hardware we use day in, day out, and know that it's up to the task. We don't cut corners, we never over charge, and when we quote a fixed price for a customer - it's never more than that price. Even if we messed up and ended up having to suck up the additional costs ourselves.