Do not lose your customer's trust

Missing deadlines is one of the biggest problems every team lead wants to avoid when dealing with managed services. When the customer hires your company to help with IT services it is expected that the executed hours do not exceed the contracted ones. Internally, you also should have ways to monitor the progress of a service contract and its limits.

Your revenues come from the contracts you established with your customers. These contracts contain the number of hours, usually tracked on a monthly basis. You are supposed to send invoices to your customers every month detailing the services provided and how many of the contracted hours were consumed.

In case you don’t have a wise way to monitor the contract consumption, you may face the risk of invoicing your customer with values that are higher than expected. This can cause many problems to them but the most critical ones affect the relationship. This is the kind of scenario we usually call a “trust breaker”. And once trust is broken, it’s hard to get it back.

For example, imagine you are executing support services and your customer has contracted a package of 40 hours/month. During the execution of services, 20 additional hours were consumed and nobody was monitoring it so by the end of the month the number of hours executed was 60. Of course, there were costs involved to execute those services and you expect to be paid for that. On the other hand, your customer will not like to receive an invoice containing higher values than expected…

Working as Atlassian consultants for years we noticed this happening many times with different companies. When using Jira to control managed services you need to do a lot of manual work to avoid the issues mentioned above. Not rarely this control requires a lot of different tools and apps (yes, even MS Excel is included here…) to help team leads and managers to track the contract limits and make the customers aware of it. Even with all these tools involved, there is nothing telling you that the service consumption is on track and the contract limits were not exceeded or are about to exceed.

ContractsPro Cloud was developed with these scenarios in mind. The app uses different resources to keep users on top of everything in terms of deadlines or contract limits:

The Contract Screen shows the current statuses for every contract created so users are always able to monitor any possible contract expiration or the ones that already expired:

The Smart Notifications feature allows users to create rules that trigger alerts to advise the target audience about limits a contract is about to reach in hours or dates. For example, you can specify that an alert should be sent whenever a contract consumption (executed hours) reaches 70% of its planned hours. But ContractsPro Cloud can do more and it allows you to notify the audience in different stages for the same contract. In this case, you can add another trigger to notify again when the executed hours reach 90% of planned ones. You can also notify when there is a certain number of hours remaining to complete the services or some days before the contract expires. The notifications can be sent to the contract owner or to the teams tied to that contract whenever they access the contracts screen.

But the great difference is that you can also notify your customers via e-mail so they will also be updated about the contract progress and limits. This is fundamental to create transparency and to leverage the relationship with your customers to the next level. When the customers are on top of any possible invoicing/billing issues in advance, this surely avoids negative surprises and increases the sense of trust you can obtain.

The Delivery Report provides additional information about the progress, planned x executed hours, and how the work is distributed among teams. This helps you to understand the consumption of services, check how contracts behave across time and allow to better predict how it is going to be in the upcoming months. You can check how hours are distributed per team and identify bottlenecks. IThe report also indicates when executed hours exceed planned ones or when worklogs are entered outside of contract start/end dates.

Having this powerful information in your hands not only helps improve the relationship with customers and increases the sense of trust. It also better guides the efforts in the right direction. This means you will not need to take reactive decisions again. When you are able to anticipate any of the issues we mentioned above and address them quickly, your results are also positively impacted. Our experience tells us that the way you communicate your actions to your customers is one of the keys to keeping their loyalty. More than that, it may become a great tool to attract new customers via referrals, creating an ecosystem where everybody can be successful. Want to be part of it? Try ContractsPro Cloud today and let us help you achieve these goals!

Mindpro helps modern companies do more and get the most of their Atlassian tools.

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