GFI MAX ANZ Conference day 2 - How MSPs can retain and grow customers

Debbie Thomson

As the second day of the GFI MAX Customer Conference in Sydney comes to an end, we’re delighted to bring you another roundup from one of the highlights of today’s proceedings.

The business session ‘How to Turn Engaged Customers into Really “Sticky” Ones’ lead by Bob Lawson, GFI MAX Marketing Director, was highly interactive and covered various topics on how to retain and grow customers, such as:

  • What keeps customers tied in to your MSP business?
  • Why do they stop buying from you?
  • Are their signals to show they are about to stop buying
  • What can you do to think about these types of issues – how do you show them value, make them sticky and ensure that you get a strong share of wallet with them?

Joseph Manser of Fusion Networks, an MSP with 4 employees in New South Wales, explained that they have proactive and regular meetings with clients to discuss all of the current issues with a view to quickly resolving them. They also work with a very proactive customer complaint escalation procedure via their helpdesk which quickly surfaces customer issues, gets back to them with resolutions and adjusts internal processes to ensure that it doesn’t happen again going forward.

Gordon Tan of R & G Technologies, a managed service provider of 50 staff in Brisbane who works with around 300 clients, explained how they use case studies on the front end of the marketing process and have a specific lead nurturing process including:

  • When prospects come on board as clients they’re given advice and top tips material that is more geared towards retaining them.
  • Creating “client advocates” within the customer base that can help promote their business.

R & G also operate a customer watch process internally on a weekly basis to ensure that any “at risk” customers are proactively managed through difficult transition periods and the whole team focuses in on them for concentrated periods.

Gordon also explained why they established their own MSP Client Heartbeat survey tool which is now used by other MSP businesses.

“We found that replies to our standard service-desk surveys was poor – we wanted to find another way to measure how our customers were feeling about the service we were providing. It works well for us and our clients – the absolute numbers in the surveys are important but the trends you see over time are the really useful insights” explained Gordon.

In the middle of the session there was a lively debate about the threat of “one stop shop” providers who not only provide core IT services around servers, workstations and other devices – but also provide telecoms, audio visual, networking & infrastructure and print services. There was a feeling that this is a threat to MSP businesses but the way to counter the threat was to become really expert in your niche. One of the frustrations that customers have from single source providers is that they lack the expertise they need across a broader range of products and showing expert value in the MSP space was key.

One of the more innovative ideas to thank customers was from Fusion Networks who send their new and existing customers cakes to thank them for their business. Simple touches like changing email footers with new product and service information was highlighted as a good way to raise awareness of your business within the customer base.

The GFI MAX conference roadshow moves on from Sydney to Las Vegas on 23 & 24th of September, London on 1st and 2nd October and 10th and 11th of October in Berlin. Don't forget you can get live updates from all our conferences by following #MAXCC on Twitter!

Were you at the Customer Conference in Sydney? Tell us about it with a comment below!