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Is Remote IT Damaging Your Client Relationships?

Posted January 4, 2017by Joel Kennedy

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The advent of remote monitoring and management (RMM) software has transformed the way we deliver IT, paving the way for the managed IT services industry. Indeed, the market is projected to be worth $242.5 billion by 2021!

But while RMM helps MSPs enjoy enterprise-level automation and monitoring, collect monthly recurring revenue (MRR), optimize end-user uptime without disruption during servicing, increase technician utilization and productivity and more, the technology often creates one unintended side effect. Has your proactive IT service delivery left you out of sight and out of mind with your clients? 


The Slippery Slope of RMM

Even in today’s technologically advanced age, relationships drive business. There are many online options available that help maintain business relationships (email, social media etc.) but they often can’t replace old-fashioned human interaction. Many clients also prefer to witness providers physically managing their systems. They like seeing you under the desk, flicking switches and handling their devices. Since technology allows you to remotely configure, troubleshoot, fix, and even turn ON a device now, there is less of a need for technical, onsite work.

What are they paying you for? It’s very difficult for clients to value your services if they all take place in the background. Clients like to observe you in action, which means you need to schedule regular face time with them. It helps ease their minds when you can regularly demonstrate the value you’re delivering—especially since they have to write you a check each month. If you are managing devices remotely, clients may not necessarily understand your role in safeguarding and improving their computing systems, and might even wonder how much work is actually getting done. 

How to Strengthen Client Relationships 

So what are your options? How do you reassure clients that your managed IT services are a necessary investment, even when you are doing the bulk of your work remotely? Let’s take a look at a few options.

1. Make an excuse to see your customer

Bring your client a pizza to just say “hi” and gauge their customer satisfaction. Customers appreciate having face-to-face meetings with their vendors, and the employees need to know they have someone (a real person) to rely on if something goes wrong. Be sure to ask them if they’re experiencing any IT issues and work to understand their business and technology goals. In this day and age, businesses need technology consultants. Meeting and conversing with clients assures them of your expertise and helps to deepen your relationship with them. These visits might also provide valuable feedback on how your business is performing and where you can make improvements.

2. Create an account management role in your organization

You may not be able to personally go visit every customer, but offering account management services is still important. Your approach could be as simple as combining regularly scheduled visits when convenient with calls to check in on the rest of your clients and whether or not they’re happy with your IT service delivery. Even though your technicians are monitoring their systems remotely, your customers still need a point-person responsible for guiding their growth and having their back. A salesperson or technician with communication skills and business sense could be coached to incorporate account management into their day-to-day interactions, but if you're looking for more information on account managers and other sales roles needed to grow your MSP business, keep reading here. 

3. Perform operational reviews and network assessments

While stellar customer service maintains customer relationships, it’s also smart to provide tangible evidence of the work you’re doing. Schedule operational reviews that touch on all technical aspects of your client’s environment. And with network assessments, clients will receive tangible insight into how their systems are performing and where you are saving them money, which helps them understand the real value you’re delivering. Operational reviews also serve as a great way to uncover unmet needs that could result in cross-sell and upsell opportunities.

4. Perform Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs)

QBRs are an absolute essential for MSPs. While you may be mostly concerned with your clients’ IT components, there can be tremendous value in talking with them about their business goals. Having a deeper understanding of your customer’s plans, dreams, desires and wants can be invaluable in providing the optimal technology solution and ultimately, in building a longer, more meaningful relationship. Understand their business goals for the upcoming month, quarter and year. Then, map out an IT plan that helps them achieve those goals. Nothing builds trust like a genuine interest in the success of others. 

5. Act as a consultant and expert

IT expertise is hard to come by. These days, people need technology experts that can understand their business, help to strategize its expansion and create the best, most up-to-date solution to meet operational and financial needs. While businesses rely on MSPs to monitor their IT systems, they also look to them to be true technology partners. They are much more likely to value your services if they can trust you to be their virtual CIO (vCIO), IT leadership that acts as a business consultant. In doing so, you will grow your value exponentially!

 

In the end, RMM has empowered service providers to be more efficient and profitable than ever before by providing proactive issue detection and remediation. However, as effective as this technology is, it’s easy to fall into the trap of being “too remote” and forgetting to touch base with your customers. Adopt the preceding best practices to protect your own client relationships and assert your worth over competitors who also offer RMM. 

What are some strategies you use to gain face time with your clients? Leave a comment below!

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