8 Questions You Need to Ask Every New Customer

Electronics OEMs know that mobile devices are changing the way that organizations do business. They are shifting the supply chain, manufacturing and more. In fact, mobile devices are also changing the way electronics companies are selling the products that they make. Asking the right questions is important to matching product to need.

Every new customer request is unique, as are the challenges they pose. Asking the right questions is vital to meeting expectations and keeping customers satisfied during a mobile upgrade. The following are questions companies should ask new customers, with insights as to why they are important to consider in the beginning of a new client relationship.

Are you planning to deploy a large number of devices at once (a technology refresh for example), or is the desired use case more like emergency replacement?

The planning and execution of these deployments can be similar, but the variance in velocity will change your network and security requirements as the logistics provider.

Is there a deadline to be considered?

Establishing and using a project schedule helps guide both you and the customer through a deployment process and lets you know what to expect from one another and when to expect it. Sometimes there's a hard deadline, such as a BES sunsetting, that isn't immediately known and affects the velocity of the project. A comprehensive schedule mitigates the potential panic and effects these unforeseen developments can cause.

Do your end users choose their hardware, or do you standardize this set for every user?

End-user experience is a huge factor to consider, especially when considering or implementing platform changes, so any planning or proof of concept testing needs to account for it. Standardization obviously makes processes more streamlined and efficient on your end, if users are the ones making the choices, prepare to add extra time into procurement processing and potential kitting operations due to variation.

What is your desired user experience?

Is this project designed to provide a seamless user experience (which adds kitting or imaging time to logistics efforts), or will the company expect end users to self-serve? In either case, proof of concept testing is critical to success.

Has your existing user and device data been recently scrubbed?

Users change jobs, email addresses, and physical addresses every day. Devices break, get suspended, have their service cancelled, and are added or removed to mobile programs every day as well. That's why it's important to audit user and device data prior to procurement, kitting, and shipping, especially if you're purchasing subsidized carrier devices. Using a partner can help immensely. Leveraging a strong technology solution that allows end users to input additional details, like shipping during deployment for example, is ideal.

What is your hardware procurement process?

This can add significant lead time to a project if not already determined. Whether you're buying subsidized carrier devices or unsubsidized third-party devices, volume affects this lead time as well. We've seen backordered devices cause delays that upwards of a month. If this delay isn't accounted for and end-user communication isn't aligned, this process quickly becomes a nightmare.

What MDM are you using and how are your profiles configured?

Depending on which mobile device management (MDM) platform is used and how profiles are configured, flashing process times can vary anywhere from one to fifteen minutes. This is one of the most important processes to test and confirm during the pilot phase.

Are your devices new activations or upgrades to existing hardware?

The addition of carrier activations in your facility can change the procurement, staging, and flashing processes significantly. The difference between 1,000 devices arriving in your facility pre-assigned to specific users versus unassigned isn't trivial. Be sure to fully understand the carrier activation process in both instances. Your worst case scenario is activating an upgrade in your facility and putting an end user's current device out of service. Those scenarios are often difficult to reverse and can cost your customer valuable productivity.

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