Using VIP or Membership Status to make your Service Sticky

Joe Kern

VIPs for your MSP. Getting those invoices paid on time and in your bank account is always a good thing. Sure it's great when you're up to your neck in work and deploying all sorts of new software and installing hard drives, but managing customers on Break Fix terms can lead to a roller coaster of monthly revenue. 

There are always going to be those exciting climbs to the top, and gut wrenching falls to the bottom.  You can try to gain stability in several ways, like moving to more block/time or Managed Services, but it's not always an easy ride to get there.

MAKING YOUR BUSINESS STICKY

The use of a VIP or Membership status with customers is a great way to bind your customers to you; it makes your company “Sticky”. By this, we mean that your customers have a reason to keep coming back to your business, rather than going somewhere else.

A reasonable yearly membership, high in value, will ensure your customers call you, rather than then next name in the yellow pages.

This approach works great for the small MSP who has a base of residential customers. Your customers will think they're getting a good value, as well as personal service when things go wrong with their systems.

MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS

What should be included in a VIP or Membership?  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Discounted Pricing:  reduce your hourly rates for VIP members.
  • Response times:  VIP members get priority over customers who are not!
  • Phone and Email Support: Free phone and email support on issues that are less than 10 – 20 minutes.
  • Training:  Offer Quarterly training on the tools and products they use the most.
  • Free Stuff:  Roll inexpensive and valuable products into your membership. (Anti-Virus)
  • Discounted Products:  Pass along a deeper discount for critical products.
  • Resources:  Provide resources that specifically will help them with their needs. (Videos, Newsletters)
  • CIO/ Trusted Advisor:  Offer quarterly or yearly CIO/trusted advisor reviews.

PICKING THE RIGHT MARKET

We've seen a number of MSPs offering such VIP packages to their residential customers. Who would be the best market for this?

Silver Surfers might make a good market for your VIP program. You might want to start with targeting retirees and older users. The so-called Silver Surfers are generally people in their 50s and older who are fairly comfortable with computers and using the internet.

They probably started using computers in the workplace when they were in their 20s and were introduced to the Internet when they were in their 30s.

Silver Surfers aren't afraid of technology, but they might not have the patience or knowledge to clean out a virus infection or install a new hard drive.

PRICING

Try offering a VIP Membership to your chosen market. Of course, you'll have to determine the right price for your area, but say for example, a $100 VIP Membership for yearly service. Pick a combination or all of the services mentioned above and bundle them together into the membership plan.

One way to make this palatable is by breaking it down into a monthly bill. An up front cost of $100 might seem like a lot, but it you were to bill that monthly, that's less than $10/month! You can sell is (as the insurance guys used to say) as selling "peace of mind."

GIVE THEM THAT SPECIAL FEELING

Of course, all your clients are special, but your VIP Members are EXTRA-special. Why not make them feel that way? There are a number of different ways you can make your VIP customers feel like they're getting more than they paid for. What about a membership card? Or a separate customer line? Maybe even a "VIP Members Only" area on your website.

When your clients talk to their friends (and they will talk!), will say “I'm a VIP member"?

Or will they not even remember your company name?