Maintaining Meaningful Partnerships: Insights from RSPA’s NextGen Rising Stars

By: RSPA NextGen Community

One key to success in the retail IT channel hinges on building and maintaining strong relationships. While emphasis is often times placed on developing new partnerships, it’s equally important to nurture and maintain connections through excellent customer service.

How can VARs and ISVs leverage customer service to maintain meaningful partnerships? To gain insight from the industry’s emerging leaders, the RSPA turned to the RSPA NextGen 40 Under 40 Rising Stars. Sharing their perspectives are:

  • Lily Cregeen, Metropolitan Sales
  • Salem Collins, Macro Integration Services
  • Owen Lucas, Lucas POS

How do you prioritize and manage partner relationships to ensure each partner receives excellent service?

Cregeen: We keep our customers and partners in mind with each decision we make as a business, and value honest feedback! For me, personally, it is important to get to know each of our customers and partners by name and make sure they feel valued.

Collins: Each one of our top-tier customers is assigned a project manager and a project coordinator. We practice daily/weekly management with customers which consists of reviewing the forecast, status of projects in motion, any risks, and what opportunities may lie ahead.

Lucas: We have several members of our team that are in the Customer Account Management role that provide a higher level of care for our clients. They provide more of a direct line of communication to our clients so we can support their needs as they evolve.

How do you train and develop your team to deliver high-quality customer service?

Cregeen: Our team is tight knit. We help each other out and communicate daily. We are always learning from each other which makes us stronger as a company and able to provide high-quality customer service to partners.

Collins: We have two top-tier customers that we use as the gold standard. As new members come on board at Macro, we use this standard to show them things such as project management and inventory management tools, but also the intangibles like how to treat customers and the importance of relationships.

Lucas: In our Support Department, we go through a detailed 7-8 week training program where our new staff members work alongside our lead trainer, going through the technologies we offer to our clients. During the program they ride along with other Support Team members listening in on support calls, reviewing and searching our internal knowledge base, as well as visiting local customers to get visibility of the solutions deployed in a live location.

What tools or technologies do you use to enhance your customer service?

Cregeen: We have an online customer service portal for partners to use at their own convenience. It offers on-demand trainings, product resources, and other information to help enhance their knowledge of the industry and latest in POS hardware.

Collins: The system that contributes most to our customer’s experience is called Vision. It’s a homegrown system that takes information from our field services system, inventory management system, and project management system, and provides a dashboard view for our customers. This allows them to log in to their portal at any time and get status updates on service tickets, inventory levels, and more.

Lucas: We’ve recently started using a reporting dashboard tool that allows us to mine service ticket information that we can provide during quarterly business review meetings with our clients. This data is invaluable for us, the customer and its staff, by pinpointing areas for improvement (training), plus reduction of time spent from staff (common recurring calls, etc.).

What KPIs do you track to measure the effectiveness of your customer service?

Cregeen: We measure the effectiveness of our customer service through KPIs such as satisfaction scores, average resolution time, and retention rates. We greatly value our customers’ feedback and ensure we do everything we can to provide excellent customer service.

Lucas: On a weekly basis we track the following: total service tickets, number of critical calls, top callers (client) by ticket numbers, tickets by day, ticket type and priority. This report gives us a high-level status each week where we can drill down if/when tickets dramatically increase or decrease and determine causes of the fluctuations. In addition, we always participate in the annual RSPA Customer Health Checkup Survey which allows us to get great feedback from our customers so we know how we can improve.

The RSPA NextGen Community meets throughout the year to provide a support network and resources for future generations and their companies to advance in the retail technology industry. If you would like to get involved in the NextGen Community, please email the RSPA Member Services Team of Peggy Fry, Nicole Greene, and Ashley Naggy at