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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreement (SLA)

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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLAs are the foundation of your MSP business. They are essential to building strong client relationships and must be clear, reasonable and well-constructed.

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Travel More... Even to Those Remote Destinations: IT Resolution 6

Posted January 19, 2015by Stephanie Moncayo

When you offer proactive managed IT services like remote monitoring and management (RMM), it’s very easy to keep interactions exclusively remote. I mean that’s the point, right? However, think about the old adage, “out of sight, out of mind.” When clients can’t see all of the configuring, troubleshooting and more that goes into managing their devices, they can overlook the value of your MSP business’s services. What’s to stop them from cutting ties with you?

How often do you visit your clients? A little personal interaction goes a long way. Think about how much your MSP business relies on relationship building. You’re more likely to retain clients if they feel like they know you. Stop in and pay them a visit!

Every client (assuming they're profitable for your business) is valuable, irrelevant of size, location, industry, etc. They also have different needs, pain points and areas in need of growth. The more you get to know your client, the more you will understand how to meet those needs in a personalized way, ultimately improving client retention and satisfaction. I know there aren’t enough hours in the week to give every client that face-to-face time, but here are some strategies that will transmit that personal touch and set you apart from your competition.

FaceTime

I don’t mean the app because I’m actually leaving technology out of this one. I’m talking about quality, one-on-one time with clients. Everyone is always too busy for this kind of attention, which is why on site visits are a perfect way to express your appreciation and make your client feel special.

It doesn’t always have to be you dropping by. Sometimes, it is actually better to send someone else. I would start by identifying who has the closest relationship with a particular client. It could be the senior engineer or account manager. This way your visits are more personalized and thoughtful - you’re not just sending a messenger around. Everyone knows that in-person interactions beat FaceTime any day!

Your client will appreciate this personalized service, and will likely reach out to you with a warm note to extend their thanks and appreciation for visiting them. Don’t forget to celebrate these positive mentions! Keep an eye out for what we refer to as “love letters,” or client praise. These can come via email, voice mail, social media, or even anecdotes from your employees that work with your clients on a daily basis. Record these interactions and reference them any time an opportunity arises. They make great testimonials for your website!

Still not sure what we mean? Check out this tweet about our Network Operations Center (NOC) that we received from one of our awesome Partners, Computer Troubleshooters Tonbridge!

Screen_Shot_2015-01-19_at_1.57.50_PM

 

Can’t Come to Them? Send a Care Package!

Here’s a thought. As an alternative, why not give them rich relatable content, like a holiday tech gift guide? Better yet, offer them white labeled assets that they can use to build better relationships with their customers! We recently had a lot success creating a series of holiday email templates for our Partners. Browse our selection, and tuck a few away for next year!

Another example of an "out-of-the-box" gift is donating to local charities under their name, maybe an organization you think they would care about.

Related: Give Back to Clients & Employees: IT Resolution 2


The key is to personalize as much as possible. Check out Vsnap, an application designed to create 60-second personal video messages. Theoretically, you could send a message to 60 clients in an hour! Be thoughtful, it shows you care. So when it comes to special occasion or thank you cards, take the time to hand write them instead of stamping a generic signature. Your clients will appreciate it!

More Than a Destination - Make Sure Your Clients Enjoy the Ride

Recognizing that your client is more than just a number will actually make you more numbers ($) for many reasons. The more attention your clients get, the stronger the relationship you will build with them. Clients will increasingly begin to rely on you, come to you for advice, and trust that you have their best interests in mind. With your assistance they can grow, use more of your products and services and essentially make you more money.

Not to mention, by getting to know your clients and their business pain points better, you’ll have a better understanding of their current and future needs. Maybe a client wants to expand but doesn’t know how, and you happen to stop by for a visit. This is a perfect opportunity for you to listen and provide your clients guidance. One suggestion, perform a Quarterly Business Review. Your goal should be to become your clients' trusted business adviser, after all.

You could suggest that they offer a new product or service so as to add new revenue streams. Similarly, you could relay their issue to an employee that could better assist them. With this kind of attention, you rest assured that they will remain loyal and continue to grow with you, as they rest assured that you've got their back. At some point, they might even start to refer you to colleagues. So, as you can see, these efforts pay off! You're able to make your managed IT services stickier, while generating new prospects in the process. It’s not just about where your clients are going, but how you help them get there. If this travel metaphor isn't immediately apparent, think of JetBlue. The airline separates itself from the competition by promising passengers "you above all." It's their mission to take the hassle out of flying because they know any plane can (ideally) get you from point A to point B, but what matters is the journey.


Your Travel Summary 

Visiting your client and adding a personalized touch to client interactions is time and resources well spent. Not only will this improve client retention and satisfaction, but also give you a competitive edge. Now more than ever, MSPs (and consumers in general) appreciate when a company values them. Don’t let your clients forget that you are there to support and grow with them, because their success is yours.


Not devoting enough time to clients is a classic MSP mistake. Falling for any of these others?

Stephanie Moncayo is an Inbound Marketing Consultant at Continuum. Stephanie works with the programs team, assisting with content creation and strategy. A recent graduate of Northeastern University, Stephanie is passionate about dancing and traveling, as well as studying market trends and behavior.

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