Q&A: The secret to IT success: C-Forward’s client-centric approach

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This content is sponsored by C-Forward.

In today’s ever-evolving digital landscape, businesses of all sizes and industries rely on complex technological solutions to keep running smoothly. One Northern Kentucky company that has positioned itself as a true partner in the technology field is C-Forward

Located in Covington, C-Forward applies a client-centric approach with a wide range of services such as cloud solutions, cybersecurity, consulting, and designing, implementing, and managing network solutions from wired to wireless networks. Furthering this approach, C-Forward took the next step in differentiating itself from the competition. “In the MSP world, it is unusual to have a dedicated Customer Service Representative. At C-Forward, we added that position as the liaison for many reasons. Once the sale is inked, the majority of interaction occurs between the client’s users and our technicians, C-Forward’s President Brian Ruschman said. “Clients have many issues they face related to their IT responsibilities; purchase of new software, problems with issue resolution, and some special requests. Having a point person to call initially has been a benefit to their productivity and allows us the ability to facilitate their requests promptly.”

Having a point person is vital, especially when dealing with complicated technological topics. Dale Silver, C-Forward’s Vice President of Client Services, regularly schedules meetings with clients to make sure there is a continuous conversation between both parties so C-Forward can continue to provide great customer service throughout the year.

Brian Ruschman and Dale Silver sat down with LINK nky to discuss what makes C-Forward the leading IT Services provider in NKY and how focusing on clients’ needs and offering proactive support is the basis for their success. 

LINK nky: Can you share some information about your existing clients and what kind of services you assist them with?

Brian Ruschman: “C-Forward supports a diverse range of clients from various industries, offering a variety of services to meet their technological needs. Our most commonly supported companies are non-profit organizations, manufacturing, and professional service-based industries. We provide Managed IT Services maintaining a proactive management of clients’ IT infrastructure. This could encompass areas like network management, server management, and desktop support.”

LINK nky: How do you stay proactive in understanding your clients’ changing requirements and ensuring your IT solutions align with their business goals?

Brian Ruschman: “Providing proactive IT support to our clients is the cornerstone of our service philosophy. Rather than simply responding to issues as they arise, we take a proactive approach to identify and address potential concerns before they become big problems. We provide continuous management of a client’s network with monitoring, maintenance, security updates, and troubleshooting. C-Forward uses these tools to detect issues and implement preventative measures. 

Our team of skilled professionals leverages advanced monitoring tools, ensuring that our clients’ technology environments remain stable, secure, and optimized. This proactive approach not only minimizes downtime and disruptions but also contributes to long-term cost savings and a  positive overall IT experience for our valued clients.”

Located in Covington, C-Forward applies a client-centric approach with a wide range of services such as cloud solutions, cybersecurity, consulting, and designing, implementing, and managing network solutions from wired to wireless networks. | Photo by Headway on Unsplash

LINK nky: Can you share an experience where you went above and beyond to create a lasting relationship with a client and how it led to them continuing their business with you?

Dale Silver: “Cybersecurity is at the forefront of risk prevention for all IT firms for their clients. Protecting our client’s networks from ransomware is our number one priority.

We were brought into a situation where a company had been attacked, their entire network had been compromised, all data was encrypted, held hostage, and would not be released unless the ransom was paid. Following our Cyber Incident Response Plan (proactively developed for this type of occurrence) each member of our IT team was assigned responsibilities and began to follow the plan. We replaced servers and VPNs using specialized software to scan all programs to ensure they weren’t infected. Five members of our team spent the entire weekend working with the client enabling their ability to be “live” and functional on Monday morning.

Subsequent to this incident, our technicians continued to provide outstanding support over the next two years. When users felt their system might be compromised, we would provide the same outstanding response to allay their fears. With our standard response time of same-day resolution on 79% of issues, we built a strong alliance with this client as we enjoy with other clients.

Our dedication and response to their original data breach paid dividends when the Managed Services Agreement was up for renewal. In their particular industry, it was standard practice for all major contracts to have a Request for Proposal issued. Due to our unwavering commitment of support, not only was the need for an RFP waived but a longer-term contract was executed by both parties.”

LINK nky: How do you manage explaining complex technical issues that a client may be experiencing to a non-technical person?

Brian Ruschman: “Effectively communicating complex technical issues to non-technical clients is a crucial skill for IT professionals. We listen carefully to the client’s description of the issue. Let them explain in their own words, and encourage them to provide as much detail as possible. Technicians need to avoid technical jargon and acronyms that might confuse non-technical clients. Instead, use plain language and analogies that relate to everyday experiences to explain concepts.

It may be necessary to break down the explanation into smaller, manageable parts. It is important sometimes to use analogies to draw parallels between technical concepts and familiar objects or situations. It is important to have patience and empathy and to understand that the client might be frustrated or concerned about the impact of the issue.”

LINK nky: For your employees, what is the most important thing you convey to your team about overall customer service?

Dale Silver: “When clients call us for assistance, regardless of how easy or complex it is to resolve, we need to provide the same courtesy and the same sense of urgency to assist them.  Be courteous, respectful, and thorough, and when talking to a client, smile as that will be heard by the user in their voice. Techs are the face of C-Forward on an everyday basis and clients will know if we aren’t committed to solving their issue so they can return to their daily routine.  If they are talking to us, they aren’t working for their company.”

LINK nky: When new technology is introduced, how do you promote new services to existing clients?

Dale Silver: Promoting new services to existing clients when introducing new technology involves a strategic and personalized approach. We need to develop clear, concise, and benefits-focused messages that highlight the value of the new service and how it directly impacts the client’s operation. We reach out to each client through appropriate channels such as emails, newsletters, or personalized messages.

Clearly explaining how the new technology/service will make their processes more efficient, save them time, reduce costs, or enhance their overall experience is the most important piece. Sometimes we share real-world use cases that demonstrate how the new technology has solved similar challenges for other clients in their industry or with similar requirements. C-Forward provides continuous support and training to ensure clients feel confident in adopting and utilizing the new technology effectively.

One of the most time-consuming responsibilities clients have is completing a new hire form during the onboarding process.  In the past, Human Resource departments would complete a paper version of a New Hire Checklist that provided the pertinent information needed to set up the new hire in their network which was then sent to us for implementation.

In the IT world, automation is a high priority. We partnered with a software firm that gave us the ability to customize these checklists and forward them to C-Forward electronically via their browser. It is a huge time-saving factor for HR departments and significantly reduces the chance of manual entry errors. As Vice President of Client Services, I contacted each client individually so they could understand how the software performed and the impact on their workflow. It has been extremely well received, as well as appreciated, that we recognized the importance that their new employee information would be accurate and developed this new tool to streamline a part of their operations.” 

To learn more about C-Forward and all the IT services they can assist you with, click here.

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