Tracking technical details for clients is part of what MSPs do best, as clients often can’t keep up with the full scope of service, like tracking asset lifecycles or backups. While it’s ideal when a client doesn’t need to worry about their technology, MSPs often face challenges when working with clients who have varying degrees of technical knowledge.
Some may be the type who want to be too hands-on with their tech, while others may not understand anything about the technical details that power their business. Understanding how to keep your clients engaged with your MSP is a key factor in maintaining contracts, growing revenue, and building trust.
One of the quickest ways to upgrade your client experience is by taking proactive interest in a client’s needs. Don’t wait for clients to volunteer information during review meetings or summaries of the entire tech environment. MSPs have reported clients losing interest during QBRs due to overwhelming detail of reports, spreadsheets, and technology they don’t understand.
Get right to the point and ask questions about what goals they want to achieve or roadblocks they have faced.
Do they have goals around staff productivity and slow computers? Manual tasks taking up staff time when they could otherwise be automated? Compliance requirements associated with their industry? Take the first step to ask about what the problem is and what solutions have been discussed to see if there are actionable steps your MSP can take to make the goal a reality.
Jeff Fulton, fCIO at the SafetyNet, makes a point of starting discussions with pre-existing and new clients about what types of goals they have. That way, regardless of their technical knowledge, an MSP can talk about solutions immediately without having to go through the details of their entire operation to uncover potential projects.
“As you come in and work with clients, especially new clients, as the fCIO I come in and I’m asking the questions of ‘What kind of compliance are you up against?’” he said. “‘I know you’re a credit union so you’re gonna be up against GLBA and other state financial institution laws. Or you manufacture body armor and it goes to the Coast Guard. So you’re gonna be in compliance with the Department of Homeland Security… And so that conversation is had, and then you start molding, ‘I think you’re deficient on a few of these things. Let’s see if we can work on being able to put the tools in to answer the questions because if you can’t answer those questions then it’s really hard to be compliant.”
Showing interest in improving a clients’ business operations can build a lot of trust, and lead to more buy-in to collaborate on future goals ahead of time. MSPs across the industry are finding massive success and growth by moving from basic services like break-fix work and asset management, to strategic planning.
That same approach works for Carrie Green, VP of Strategy at Alt-Tech Inc., who said that engaging clients proactively also can help them be more receptive to making investments in their own business.
“It’s huge growth for us. That’s where we get our projects from too… Here’s something we wanna bring forward to you, but we can plan for it moving forward, as opposed to ‘You guys need to do this, you need to do it now. Where’s the check?’ Right?” she said.
So if you have those conversations with your clients to move forward and to look into the future, I think they’re more receptive to it too, because it’s not like you’re always trying to get money from them. You’re not always trying to get another project. You’re not always trying to upsell. Here it’s ‘Let’s work together and when is this gonna work for you? Do you have a slow time in your business? Let’s plan to do it in those three months.’ As opposed to ‘No, you’ve got to do it right in the middle of tax time for an accountant.’ That’s not good.”
When working with clients to manage assets or backups, providing them a spreadsheet exported from some monitoring software isn’t going to cut it. Clients won’t have the same level of technical expertise, so detailing every single ticket an MSP responded to, or running through the warranty status of every server will overwhelm them.
Tailoring information according to your client’s priorities is critical. Presenting specific information, like upcoming warranty expiration dates for PCs, can keep clients engaged as they consider that one topic, how it affects their productivity and budget, and begin to plan for a solution.
Instead of going through every warranty, show clients which specific warranties need to be renewed and why. Talk about the risks associated with lapsed warranties, and get buy-in to develop a warranty renewal plan so that this conversation doesn’t need to happen again. Even if the client doesn’t take immediate action, that topic will stick with them and inform their decisions moving forward.
David Mercer, CEO of David Mercer Consulting, has used this approach in the past to keep clients aware of what is coming up, instead of trying to address topics as they become current problems.
“I think it helps to reassure them and also to be prepared. I know I need to be buying three machines this year. So it’s not so much of a shock when we tell them, ‘Hey that machine’s out of warranty so you can replace it, but we can’t fix that hardware problem for you. Which I think is helpful. They may not ever take action on it, but they want to see it.”
By putting some thought into curating how and why an MSP tackles managed service, clients can react to the relevant information and recommendation, rather than having to hunt for the information themselves. They don’t need to understand technical details, when they understand the potential risks and how those risks may impact their business.
Help clients make decisions more easily, allowing your MSP to spend more time getting things done.
To put these strategies into practice, MSPs around the world use Lifecycle Manager to automate their asset monitoring and generate easy-to-understand Scorecards that evaluate their clients assets, provide recommendations, and estimate budget requirements. They use scorecards to dive into a clients’ tech environment and develop plans to address their clients’ concerns. Get Lifecycle Manager’s Free Edition today to go hands-on with the best asset monitoring tools, allowing MSPs to strategize with their clients more effectively than ever before.