Why your MSP business must be flexible with its service offerings

Ben Taylor

It’s easy to become “set in your ways” when providing IT services. Once your business is established and you begin to see regular revenue, there may appear to be little incentive in changing and evolving the way you do things.

This complacency carries some risk, and a good example of this is illustrated by how rapidly cloud services such as Microsoft’s Office 365 penetrated the SME marketplace in recent years.

Before these services came along, many MSPs (or “traditional” IT support providers, as many were at the time) had been able to relax for quite some time. SME customers usually had a traditional client/server infrastructure, often based around Microsoft Small Business Server. Ongoing revenue was assured with a steady stream of support queries, system upgrades and hardware and software refreshes.

Flexible-ServiceIt’s fair to say that when Office 365 came along, many traditional IT businesses were caught out by a failure to get prepared for how the market was going to change. More progressive MSPs pitched directly to businesses and showed them an alternative to their on-premise system – sometimes leaving the original provider with nothing more that a handful of PCs to support.

This is just an example of what can happen if your MSP business isn’t designed to be flexible enough to quickly adapt to changing customer desires and priorities. Here are three important points to always keep in mind:

1. You are NOT the only MSP out there

Just because you have a well-established relationship with your clients, it doesn’t mean that your competitors will stop targeting them for business. Nor does it mean that long-terms clients won’t have their “heads turned” by new ideas and ways of doing things. Don’t allow yourself to be edged out by another firm’s innovation. Stay up to speed with industry developments - and if you think clients will be exposed to new ideas, make sure they hear them from you first.

2. Consumers are becoming more tech-savvy

Now that everyone lives in a world of apps, tablets and smartphones, the average individual knows far more about technology than they did five years ago. This means that your clients will start to have ideas of their own about how to do certain technical things. The days of the IT department being in full control of everything and, indeed, being needed for everything, are gone. Just think how many people now independently begin to use services such as iCloud and Dropbox. If you want your MSP business to survive, you’ve got to flexibly accommodate the technologies that clients choose for themselves.

3. Every client is different

Forcing a rigid approach to IT onto every client is not a recipe for success. Obviously it makes sense to stick to a fairly standard set of services and live in the hope that most clients will sign up to as many as possible, but you need to accept that customers expect you to accommodate their bespoke requirements. If you don’t, you can be sure that one of your competitors will. With the GFI MAX RemoteManagement tool you can give your clients a flexible and affordable service offering making the most of our PAYG pricing to tailor your services to your clients needs (why not sign up for a free trial to find out how.)

How do you ensure your MSP offering stays flexible? Share your advice with a comment below!