Perfect Image Award Winner for Dealer of the Year – MARCO28 Apr, 2016 By: imageSource imageSource
Recently awarded imageSource Magazine’s Perfect Image Award for the coveted 2016 Dealer of the Year, the company states that if there is one word that sums up Marco’s recent performance in the marketplace, it’s growth.
Over the last 43 years, Marco has continued to evolve into a leading technology services company that specializes in managed services.
In just the last six years, the company has gone through a record-breaking growth spurt, growing from 350 employees to 1,050 employees and expanding its footprint far beyond its Minnesota roots. Today Marco serves more than 27,000 clients throughout its 48 locations in Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. What was once a small technology company serving clients in the upper Midwest has become a national presence with an ever-expanding vision.
“As our clients grow nationally, the decision makers who originate in the Midwest are bringing us with them as they expand,” said Jonathan Warrey, Chief Operating Officer at Marco. “Our compounded annual growth rate has gone from 17 percent to 25 percent in the last five years, with profits outpacing revenue.”
Approximately half of Marco’s growth is organic and much of that growth comes from the company’s ability to offer managed print and cloud hosting services on a national—and even international—scale.
One of Marco’s national clients is Rich Blasing, Director of Core Technology Services for Dorsey & Whitney LLP, an international law firm with offices in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Asia. Blasing says what impresses him most about Marco is its level of service.
“They have established partnerships with international players. London is one of our larger offices with over 45 attorneys and staff. Printing was extremely problematic there. Our partnership with Marco really made that painless. Their excellent service level is some of the best I’ve seen in terms of managed services providers,” Blasing said.
Warrey believes the key to making the process painless for clients is investing in the client experience.
“It’s less about fixing the technology problem and more about providing the user with a great experience and communicating with them throughout the process,” said Warrey.
To make that experience the best in the industry, Marco is constantly working to perfect its methodologies and processes.
98% live call answer rate within 7 seconds
When a client calls Marco, they get a live person who is part of the company’s Rapid Response team. These individuals are technically trained to resolve common requests that are easy to remediate.
Sue Swanson, Practice Group Manager, says the role of the Rapid Response team is to get those quick hit items off the table so clients don’t have to be transferred to another support member and can get back to work quickly.
“It’s better for our clients and for Marco if we can get as many issues as possible resolved during the first call, so we can avoid a game of phone tag. It’s better from an efficiency standpoint and for the overall client experience,” Swanson said.
Whenever possible, the individuals on the Rapid Response team take calls in the same geographic region as the caller. Wanda Schroeder, Director of Client Services, says keeping the first level of client service live and familiar is critical to providing a personal client experience.
“One of the ways we’re able to achieve this is by using geographic call routing. When someone calls from a specific area code and prefix, they automatically get routed to a front line person who covers that geography. Having our front line support teams own geographies helps them get to know the territories and clients. That way we’re able to keep that small company feel while we still have those big company resources,” said Schroeder.
Warm call transfers
If a call comes in that requires a more advanced technical skill set, the individual on the Rapid Response team will document and triage the ticket and provide the caller with a “warm call transfer”—a live, three-way dialogue between the caller, the Rapid Response team member and the level-two technician on the client’s CARE team (see below). By having the Rapid Response team member personally relay all of the information to the CARE team technician, the end user can verify that the Rapid Response member understood the problem accurately. The warm call transfer also prevents the caller from having to repeat the issue a second time and the technician from having to read the notes and figure it out on their own.
Dedicated CARE teams
Another way Marco delivers a more personal and efficient client experience is by assigning each business a dedicated CARE team. The team includes 6-8 highly trained techs who know and understand the specific nuances of that client’s industry, vertical applications and computing platform. This gives CARE team technicians the ability to apply more context to the issue and reach a quicker resolution. Marco’s CARE teams boast a 95% resolution rate without having to escalate the call to a higher level technical resource.
Metrics. Metrics. Metrics.
Besides a personalized client experience, Marco attributes much of its success to its ability to provide strategic, metric-driven support. The company continuously compiles and analyzes real-time data to determine how efficiently and effectively it is interacting with clients. It tracks everything from when calls are heaviest to how quickly tickets are closed.
Marco tracks ticket activities throughout each day and displays that information on monitors in the call center. This helps the CARE teams see their work loads and progress throughout the day. Another monitor in the call center displays successes. Compliments from internal and external clients are posted on this monitor for everyone to see as an added incentive to bring premium service to the table.
The company also measures its performance against its own service level metrics by continuously surveying clients and end users. Every time a ticket is closed, Marco sends a short survey to the end user to learn more about that user and what their experience was.
That information—along with other detailed metrics—is shared with the client on a regular basis. If an end user provides a lukewarm or negative response on the survey, the CARE team’s supervisor contacts the individual within 48 hours to find out what his or her team member could have done differently to make the experience more positive.
“Knowing those metrics empowers us to turn that information into actionable items,” said Swanson. “Bringing standards and metrics back to the client empowers those decision makers to hold us accountable for the services we promised. It also helps them set realistic expectations with their users.”
In the last six months, Marco’s ticket closure survey satisfaction rates were 94% positive, 4% neutral and 2% negative.
Finally, Marco compensates its support staff based on the results it’s looking for. That gives team members even more incentive to provide clients with great service and get issues resolved in the most efficient and effective way.
With more growth anticipated on the horizon, the company knows that more change is inevitable. In October of last year, the company was sold to Minneapolis-based Norwest Equity Partners, the private equity offshoot of Wells Fargo. The acquisition will allow Marco even more resources to expand nationally.
As it does, Schroeder says they will constantly be evaluating and changing to make sure the client experience remains the focal point of its service.
“We know the process we’re using today may not perfectly scale into tomorrow. So we’re constantly re-evaluating through our Lean continuous improvement initiative. As we bring on new team members and increase our footprint, we have to be willing to evolve and adapt. We’re not afraid of change. In this industry, we have to in order to keep up,” she said.
One thing Marco doesn’t plan to change is its unique and personal client experience.
“There’s going to be more and more ways that people can consume technology, whether that’s through the cloud experience or servers on premise or other hosted options,” said Swanson. “The value our Managed Service practice provides is owning the end user experience and how users consume that technology. We’re going to continue to invest our time and energy to enhance our expertise from a technical perspective, but the bigger issue is continuing to improve our client service and communication skills. That’s what really sets us apart.”
Marco at a Glance
CEO: Jeff Gau
Headquarters: St. Cloud, Minnesota
Locations: Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin
Clients: 27,000+ nationwide
Products: business IT services, cloud services, managed services, telecom carrier services, copiers/printers, phone systems, document management and audio/video systems
Learn more about Marco’s culture by subscribing to CEO Jeff Gau’s Leadership Blog at aleadershipculture.com. Company information at www.marconet.com .