It’s fair to say that managed services as a concept is an effective means of enhancing the customer experience. But there’s more to it than simply plugging your customer’s environment into your Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) platform.
Like any other business endeavor, successful managed services delivery requires communicating clearly, properly setting expectations, and enabling business outcomes. None of that happens magically once you start remotely monitoring and managing customer systems. You have to work at it from the minute you make the first contact with the customer.
To enhance customer experience, you must start with the basics. You have a service to offer, but unless it meets specific customer needs, it has no value to them. So, that’s where it all starts—ensuring you understand and successfully meet a customer need.
Then comes the part where managed services can really prove its mettle—hassle-free IT services. Without managed services, customers have to rely on a reactive approach to IT: when something goes wrong, they have to call the service provider to fix it. This can be time-consuming and hurt productivity.
But with managed services, IT service is proactive. You work behind the scenes to prevent downtime through regular routine maintenance and systems patching. When a system threatens to malfunction, you get an alert so you can address the issue before downtime occurs.
This approach enhances the customer experience. It helps save time and money by minimizing IT interruptions. Customers needn’t worry about routine IT maintenance because you do it for them so they can focus on their core business. (You can read more about achieving truly proactive IT in this blog.)
Of course, none of this works very well without reliable technology. So the RMM and automation tools you use are a critical component to successful managed services. You won’t be enhancing the customer experience if the tools break down constantly.
To properly serve customers, you need at least a basic understanding of their market and their business. By demonstrating knowledge of market conditions, pressures, and opportunities when you first meet the customer, you can immediately start enhancing the customer experience.
The customer will spend less time explaining things and you’ll be able to better map your service to their business needs and goals. This benefits you, too. When you come in with a vision, instead of a fishing pole, you get a much better shot at winning the business—and retaining it for the long term.
Taking your market knowledge, and combining it with reliable service delivery, allows you to support your customer’s business goals beyond simply keeping their IT environment trouble-free. There has to be a strategic component to what you do.
If the customer is relying on your services to help get into new geographies or to step up customer recruitment, you need to make every effort to deliver on that by communicating regularly, addressing issues that impede progress, and making necessary adjustments along the way.
Once you turn on managed services for customers, they expect near-term benefits—hassle-free IT supporting business goals—as well as long-term benefits. If you can’t deliver short-term benefits, customers may doubt your ability to support them long term.
So when we talk about managed services enhancing the customer experience, to help secure a long-term relationship, those enhancements have to be felt right away.
Pedro Pereira is a Massachusetts-based writer who has covered the IT channel for two decades. Recognized as one of the first journalists to cover managed services, Pedro continues to track, analyze and report on the IT channel and the growing MSP partner community.
Click here to understand more about how SolarWinds MSP can help MSPs.
© 2017 SolarWinds MSP UK Ltd. All rights reserved.