A Managed Service Solution is quite often the best support solution for most small businesses that depend on their computer systems.
Being proactive, monitoring systems for early problem identification, and providing remote support for instant problem resolution all make for more reliable systems and happier clients.
But for many small business owners, a Managed Service Solution still looks like a large monthly fee, rather than the low, hourly rates and break/fix service they’ve been accustomed to for so long.
So, how do you convince a customer who’s stuck on hourly rates that a proactive approach is the better way to go?
I like to ease them into a managed service by getting them integrated with a small, but very important entry into having their systems monitored. I might take an approach similar to the following:
“I understand you’re not quite ready for fully managed support. And I’ll be glad to continue supporting you at my standard hourly rate. But it’s just simply irresponsible on both our parts not to keep tabs on at least the critical areas of the network like the backup and antivirus systems. Heaven forbid the server crashes and I have to give you the news that the backup hasn’t worked in weeks. You’ll have my head on a platter! Or what if a virus spreads through the office like wildfire because the AV software failed to update? I honestly don’t physically have the time to rebuild every one of the workstations on the network. And even if I did, I know you wouldn’t appreciate the downtime... or the enormous invoice.
So how about I just setup the monitoring for just these two systems? If the backup fails, or if the antivirus fails to update or stops running, we’ll get an instant email alert.
I can set this up for you for just $1.00 a day. For what’s really a very insignificant amount, we’ll have peace of mind that at least the data is safe and that we’re as protected as can be from having a virus shut us down.”
An option like this can get you in the door with basic monitoring and a steady, monthly fee, even if it's minimal. Once you've sold the client on this, it's just a small step to moving them to a Managed Antivirus or Managed Online Backup solution. The point is, if they're paying the small monthly fee, they're still basically locking you in as the IT Support and you'll have continued opportunities for ongoing maintenance.
After you have your monitoring systems in place, you have the option and ability to do a spot check of the server in the future, and if you find errors in the system logs that require attention, it gives you an opportunity to go back to your client and say,"It’s a good thing I caught this. I really think it's in everyone's best interest if you let me monitor for these things 24x7. It will prevent problems and keep support costs down in the long run."
Regular monitoring of your clients systems is generally the safest and most efficient way to maintain their systems. But it might take a little work to convince your hourly-rate customers of this. Get in the door by monitoring the most critical systems and it can open up the opportunities to move all your customers to a higher level of managed support.
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