Over the last few weeks, we have been exploring and discussing what “Full-Service” means when it relates to your IT environment. A strong IT support system is a strategic asset that can help your organization move beyond a reactive approach to a proactive one - finding issues before they happen, identifying opportunities for efficiency and providing better support for your customers & employees.
When your current team either lacks the necessary skill or bandwidth to support your IT needs and this results in lost productivity, it is time to consider an alternative approach. Our customer, Boom Group of Calgary Alberta, had that kind of a-ha moment. We recently connected with Boom Group president Laureen Regan, to check in with how our team is performing and to see how their business has been doing over these last few uncertain months. We also learned about some new initiatives they have taken on to support their member community. Read more from our conversation with Laureen.
Laureen, please tell me a bit about yourself and BOOM Group?
Laureen: “I'm the president of Boom Group. BOOM delivers a fully managed, highly relevant Rewards and Loyalty Platform. It’s a two-sided model.
Member Companies (like corporations, unions, and professional associations) can engage, retain and grow through a valuable rewards platform.
While on the other side of our model, our local and national retail partners can connect to a high value, targeted consumer base in our multi-tiered platform with incentive-based offers.
Today, BOOM has over 120,000 members and well over 100 local and national retailers. We have seen great growth over the past number of months.
What does your day look like at BOOM?
Laureen: My day, like many small business owners, each day involves a wide range of activities. From supporting the 8-person team BOOM, to strategy on customer support and acquisition, to connecting with customers on offers and ideas – no two days are the same.
In your opinion, what makes a good IT support provider, or a good service provider?
Laureen: “We wanted to find outsourced IT support because whenever there was an issue, or as soon as something went wrong, we typically had to disrupt someone from our team, pull them from their day to day or find someone with a specific set of skills to help us when things went wrong. This started to create a barrier to productivity and growth.
But the challenge is, we are not big enough to have anyone in house! We had a different company service us in the past, they were all really nice but it was set up in a way that made you afraid to call them. It was billed at a flat rate and every time you call them you were getting billed for that, and unfortunately that doesn't work -- you cannot have that kind of uncertainty around cash flow. Because of the billing approach, if a member of our team had an issue with IT they had to come to myself or one of my other teammates with their issue and wait for one of us to determine if it was reason enough to be a billable problem. This did not work either.
Then TWT (now Fully Managed) comes along. I really valued how they approach things - a flat fee, no uncertainty around billing at the end of each month and we seemed to get the same people every time we reached out. Even on the rare occasion when the problem was not resolved right away, there has never been an issue of engagement or responsiveness.”
Over the past few months, the global pandemic has been a very abrupt reality for a lot of organizations, explain to me what your experience has been like?
Laureen: “As soon as soon as March hit, I knew we needed to protect the BOOM team and shift to working from home. It was surprisingly easy to make the shift.
Our full attention then turned to - how do we support our member companies when they're dealing with remote work forces? How do we support the retail brands that, in some cases, are closed or not able to sell in the ways that they are used to selling? So, we shifted - connecting them to members in a way that was safe, reminding them you can still get these things as part of our rewards program, but you can do it through these alternative, safer avenues.
Now, six months or so in, I am amazed at how we have adapted to our new way of working and delivering for our clients. I always thought that we needed to be in the office and I'm now not as convinced that we need to be in the office the way we have been in the past.
Moving forward with our customers and team in mind, we will be exploring different options such as: do some team members continue to work from home while others who want to return to the office are able to? Can we leverage technology to connect with customers and still build and maintain our strong connections? We will be exploring all of those options and more and finding what works best for the customers as well as for the employees.”
Did you have to change or innovate any of the things that you were currently offering in order to better serve your customers?
Laureen: “Our primary concern is ensuring our solution is helping our customers adapt their product and service offerings to support their needs of the pandemic. Perhaps, adding curbside pick-up to their offers, creating a click-and-collect offer, being nimble and changing their information as the situation shifts, whatever we can to better support our customers.
We redesigned our website, launched the Android app, created a member information section with feature articles from our brand patterns. We adapted our member company, “Lunchtime Learning” sessions to be online, virtual events to reach our members wherever they are.
The membership cards themselves are now created and delivered digitally for those member companies who want a digital solution. And finally, we have also been taking advantage of this time to get those things done that you typically put off for a “rainy day.”