Why Service is Much More Than Price
By Jason Friedlander, Director, Marketing Communications
Ask the average media company what they want out of a vendor first and foremost, and they’ll probably say “a good deal.”
But the best service providers know that what customers really need goes way beyond the price tag. It’s not just about saving dollars; it’s about saving time, eliminating insecurities and building trust.
Here are three ways to ensure that media companies aren’t just satisfied, but are enthusiastic about entrusting their business to a content delivery network (CDN).
Enter into a partnership, not a dictatorship
When a service provider, such as an OTT platform or CDN, enters into a business agreement with a media company, it’s best to consider it to be a mutually beneficial opportunity from the get-go. Both sides are bringing something to the table; the OTT provider brings a state-of-the-art tech solution, and the customer brings the media.
In my experience, both service provider and customer benefit most when their relationship is set up in a way that if one side succeeds, the other side does too. For example, at Verizon Digital Media Services, our contracts are written so if our customers – OTT providers and broadcasters – don’t make money, we don’t either. If their service goes down, it’s in our best interest to get it back up and running as quickly as possible so we don’t lose revenue either.
Another trait of a good partnership: both sides are equal. Good service providers never take a dictator approach, assuming they know better than the customer on every aspect. After all, we’re confident that content creators know their content better than anyone else. That said, the best customers also assume the same about us – that we know our complicated technology stack best and are always working to offer the best experience for our customers and their users.
When both sides approach working together as a partnership and don’t hesitate to put all their cards out on the table, each side is free to focus on its respective strengths.
Emphasize knowledgeable service
Communication is another vital quality of any business relationship. That’s why a good provider knows that the tech solution isn’t enough. Excellent service is mandatory, too.
If a service provider wants to be considered reliable, it ought to focus on improved service that begins with a customer’s very first call for help. Nobody wants to call support about an urgent technical problem only to be forwarded to someone else … who then forwards the request to someone else. At Verizon Digital Media Services, for example, we have a program where our tech support respondents aren’t certified to be the first line of customer support until they’ve rotated through every different technical department of the company. By the time they’re picking up the phone, they understand the network and our products well enough to solve customer problems right there on the line – no forwarding necessary.
Additionally, a great service provider must become an expert on all the other products and services that each customer may use in its supply chain. If a customer calls with an issue, the service provider must be able to quickly identify where the problem may be occurring. While the service team may not be able to directly solve the issue coming from a third party, it must be able to use its knowledge to reach out to any other external support teams along with the customer to help get everything straightened out. Good service is not finger pointing and then hanging up the phone. It is being part of the team and solution, directly or indirectly.
Look toward the future
Most importantly, service providers should emphasize to customers that they’re in it for the long run, rather than out to make a quick buck on their customers.
In our line of work, most of today’s content creators aren’t rushing over to service providers asking for assistance with high-scaling augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) solutions. However, it’s vital that we as a service provider look ahead and come up with those sorts of solutions in advance. Planning ahead signals we can handle their current needs and also their evolving needs, far into the future.
Technology innovations are popping up at lightning-fast speed. A service provider concerned with new developments must consider each one now. It’s a best practice that will keep the provider’s technology stack up to date and give content creators the confidence they need to stick around for a while.
In the OTT industry, when it comes to provider and content creator business agreements, both sides have a common goal: to deliver the best possible user experience. Affordability is certainly a major concern, but at the end of the day, that’s just one piece of the puzzle. Considering these three factors will help partnerships develop synergy that makes a good product for viewers and an overall good business experience, too.