Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to keep customers at an arm’s length. But the best MSPs add value by fighting that urge – and making it a point to constantly communicate with their clients, Jessica Schroder writes.
How do you demonstrate value if you’re not always visible to your customers?
That question is at the heart of the challenge today’s managed service providers (MSPs) face. The marketplace is flooded with MSPs, making the competition for customers increasingly fierce. Setting your business apart is crucial. But how can you do it? The MSP business model is built on a foundation of remote work, proactive service and the occasional on-site visit.
With all the dashboard tools, solid network architecture, uninterrupted power supplies, virtually fail-proof cloud services and, in some cases, redundant Internet for smaller business, there are fewer reasons for your clients to physically see you. So what can you do to make sure your customers are continuously seeing the value you are adding to their businesses?
Reach out to them.
It all comes down to communication and your commitment to cultivating relationships. Here are three ways to do it:
There’s no substitute for face-to-face conversation; it is among the most powerful ways MSPs can demonstrate value. Make time in your schedule to meet for a meal or drinks. Maybe stop by with coffee and donuts at the start of the day. Engage your customers – and listen to what they’re saying. Celebrate their successes and reassure them when something doesn’t go as planned.
Taking time to interact with your customers shows your commitment to them.
What better way to build – and maintain – trust? You’ll likely find your business benefits in the long run.
Keep your customers informed about any new developments that may add value to their businesses. (“I know you suffered a break-in a few months ago. Have you thought about adding some security cameras that connect to the network?”)
If presented properly – not as a sales pitch – talking about the future can be fruitful. MSPs that stay actively involved may even find that they have a better understanding of their customers’ needs than the customers themselves.
Every MSP needs professional business cards, event invitations, brochures or a graphic designer. If you don’t have a client who specializes in this area, work to find one. Ask your customers who handles their printing, especially if you see something that catches your eye. Maybe your customer will introduce you.
Several MSPs deliberately add a printing firm to their customer base – sometimes in exchange for a discount on IT services.
As the managed services landscape grows more crowded, building strong relationships with your customers is one of the best ways to demonstrate your value and understanding of their business.