Channel failing customers

The IT channel is still failing to grasp the importance of customer relationships and is losing revenue as a result, claims Saudi-based solutions provider Digicom Systems

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By  Alex Malouf Published  December 2, 2004

The IT channel is still failing to grasp the importance of customer relationships and is losing revenue as a result, claims Saudi-based solutions provider Digicom Systems. Essam Albakr, Digicom’s vice president, believes that Saudi IT companies are still being too narrow minded in pitching for the short term sale rather than building a relationship for the long term. “On average we see that many customers leave their solutions provider or reseller partner after two years,” claimed Albakr. “It is not common to see long lasting and meaningful associations, not in Saudi Arabia. Sales are always on the spot — sell and leave as people focus only on making the quota due to pressure from management.” Digicom has been active in the Saudi market for almost a decade and early next year will celebrate its 10th anniversary. The company has significantly developed over its lifetime, going from a straight hardware reseller to becoming a major systems integrator in the Kingdom. The one constant has been a relentless focus on building up a rapport with the end-user, believes Albakr. “Digicom has understood the market through one strategy; through listening to customers. They are the ones who led us to where we are today and because of this we have been able to penetrate and capitalize on niche markets and capture market share. Sometimes it does not play in our favour because we lose money by providing extra services. However on the long run we are winning customers.” As the IT channel matures, service provision will become ever more important to revenues. IT players will either have to take a step up the value ladder and provide better support to customers or fall by the wayside. “A customer is putting his money, the health of his company, into your hands. How is that investment going to turn out in a year’s time or three years time? All of this will set the ground for how we ourselves succeed in the future,” concluded Albakr.

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