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December 15, 2021

Mastering the MSP-Client Risk Conversation

Antonio Neglia

How to get risky clients back into the green with Luis Alvarez, President & CEO of Alvarez Technology Group

Mastering the MSP-Client Risk Conversation

Since founding Alvarez Technology Group (ATG) in 2001, Luis Alvarez has grown his company from a small, two-person consultancy to become one of the premier technology solutions providers in California. Today, ATG provides security, IoT, and IT services to more than 200 client organizations throughout the state.

ATG strives to make each of their clients safe, secure, and successful; a challenge that is enthusiastically embraced by Luis and the team of over 30 professionals. One of their keys to their success is how they communicate critical risks, visually, with their clients.

As Luis states, your clients are expecting (and paying you) to keep their IT environment risk-free and operational, but sometimes the odds are stacked against you, and asset risk is inevitable. While communicating risk can be a difficult task, following Luis’ best practices can put your MSP back into the driver’s seat.

1. Start Communicating

Your clients are more than just the people who keep the lights on; they’re ultimately the most important relationships you’ve been committed to ever since you signed the SLA. What’s the secret to these relationships? Communication and transparency. Be transparent with your clients and send them risk reports. Explain why assets are in the red (or yellow) and make recommendations on how to “go green” using the replace, renew, retire model.

2.  Use the Red-Amber-Green Color System

Now that your clients are aware of the risks in their environment, breaking it down into plain English is the best way to go. Remember, having clients that can go toe-to-toe with you on technology is rare, so scrap the tech-talk. Instead, use the red-amber-green color system. This simple color scheme makes it easy for clients to see problems in their environment (red), potentially risky assets (amber), and healthy assets (green). This objective assessment clearly shows clients where they need to invest in their environment and reduce their business risk without unnecessary complications.

3.  Motivate Clients to Make Decisions & Modernize

Nobody likes seeing red in their environment, which is why your MSP was hired in the first place. You’re tasked with pulling your clients out of the danger zone their tech created, and there’s no better way to do it than by showing them how poorly their environment is doing. Humans respond well to colors, with red being the ultimate communicator of risk, error, and urgency. Associating their environment with red will naturally motivate clients into wanting to improve and make decisions to modernize their tech. From here, explain how to shed the red by replacing, renewing, or retiring the problem asset. Once you have this nailed down, having clients make decisions, budget for upcoming IT spending, and improve their experience will be on autopilot. 

Nail these three best practices and you’ll be steering the most risk-ridden clients back into the green, and have them saying “yes!” to better tech.

We send red reports because they help create a sense of urgency in a visual way when needed. It's well known that humans respond to colors and red is universally seen as being a bad color. Since nobody likes a bad color on their report card, many of our clients want the reports so they can take action.

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