It’s looking pretty rough out there at the moment. Markets are crashing, a certain virus is doing a very good job at spreading the world over, and short-term uncertainty is driving more and more businesses to cut costs. If your client sees you as an expense and not a driver of growth, you may very well get a Dear John email if things continue to go sideways.
However, some MSPs are very much ready for what’s coming, even seeing it as a business opportunity, especially when it comes to account management. There are some concrete steps you can take to present your services as opportunities for growth instead of a cost of doing business. Take some time to consider how you maintain client relationships and what sort of plan they are provided on an ongoing basis. Are most of your conversations with your client about the breaking and fixing of technology, or are they about how to use technology to grow their business?
The most successful MSPs and the ones that aren’t sweating the news right now always have a shared plan with their clients, provide value past what a break/fix provides, and make themselves part of their client’s team, indispensable in a time of crisis. It all comes down to having a strategy for account management, not just a list of tactics.
Give them an evidence-based plan
Account management and QBRs are lot more than a reporting problem. Let’s face it, most IT infrastructure reporting is roundly ignored by a client, because it’s not what they’re concerned about. You only care if you have electricity at your home and office, a report about power lines and transformers doing their job isn’t going to make you feel one way or the other about the power company.
Now, if the power company came to you instead and said this is how you could save money on electricity by improving efficiency, or get more productivity out of your power bill spend, following those recommendations would be a no-brainer. Especially in times of economic transition like these, business owners are looking for expert advice on how to improve efficiency, connect their workforce and be more productive. This takes more than a stack of reports. You need to have a vCIO planner tool and a real QBR process in place to show them what you’ve done, what you’re planning to do, and what you can do for them.
Now is a great time to promote your service catalog
You’re going to need to be as proactive with account management as you are with service delivery. The economy as a whole is going to take a hit, no doubt, but for MSPs the opportunities are plentiful. We’re just seeing the very beginning of the disruptions millions of Americans not going into work will cause. However, in the past few years products like Microsoft Teams have matured into a reliable way to conduct business anywhere that has a decent internet connection. Now is the time to be the CIO instead of the IT guy and help lead your client to being productive outside of the office. The last thing you want to hear when this is all over is “I didn’t know you guys did that,” especially when it comes to virtualizing their workplace.
This is why CloudRadial gives you tools to easily build your service catalog and puts it front and center in our white-labeled client portal. This way all of your end-users have a chance to understand the breadth of your service offering so they can be confident that you know what you’re doing and aren’t just making it up as the opportunity arises.
Provide value everyday
It comes down to the essential differences between a break/fix and an MSP. Are you just providing value when you are fixing something that breaks? An MSP with long client relationships delivers more than just operational end-points and functioning servers. They are helping them use their end points better and informing what’s on the servers. Even if that can sometimes get a little sticky. You see dozens of ways clients could be working with their technology more efficiently and productively, in just about every business you walk into. Now is the time to make sure you’re pointing those things they could be doing better out, and quoting them for services that will help them do just that.
This is why CloudRadial also provides a full-featured company intranet. A surprising number of companies don’t have a company intranet site, and in a time when companies are having to rapidly rethink their workplaces, the MSP can be a hero by providing an easy to setup intranet fully integrated into their client portal. You can get their knowledge base, training, company calendars, staff directories, employee communication, app directories, and much up and running for them in a day, or provide it to them as a self-service tool. Either way, it gives you one more way to be a resource in this time of transition.
Have your mailing list ready to go
Times of uncertainty are exactly when you should be communicating to your clients. Your PSA can do this, and it may very well be super-clean and you can easily send broadcast emails out of it. However, we see the inside of a lot of PSAs and we know that’s not always the case. CloudRadial is a useful way to tidy up your contact list and our integration with MailChimp makes sending an email to your clients quick and easy.
Reach out to your clients with reassurance and your best advice. If you haven’t already now is a great time to reform you client relationships to be less reactionary and focused on end points, and more advisory focused on their success. Now is the time to ignore the stock tickers and be your clients hero.