The journey MSPs take to grow their business can be challenging, but with the right perspective and tools these businesses can thrive as they transition from a small company to a larger MSP.
Alt-Tech Inc., an MSP based out of Sherwood Park, Alberta, has been consistently growing for more than a decade; showing how an MSP can scale up to provide better service to more clients.
For Carrie Green, vice president of strategy, and Kendra Schaber, clients services manager at Alt-Tech, being able to build and maintain relationships with their clients is the central goal behind their drive to provide the best customer service.
Alt-Tech began operations in 2006, but in 2014 they began a pattern of sustained continuous growth year after year. In 2020, Schaber joined the team as a dispatcher, but quickly became the Client Services Manager, leading the outreach and relationship management with clients. For Schaber, ScalePad Lifecycle Manager has become an important part of her communications with their clients.
Lifecycle Manager allows Alt-Tech to support client relationships through the asset lifecycle reports and is a valuable tool to keep hardware warranties up to date. Green explained that bringing Lifecycle Manager into their organization helped them solve “hidden” problems that slowed down their workflow and improved communication clarity.
“Everything was done manually, you are saving as much as you can but nothing was being done as well as it could be. We were getting by with no issues, but tracking warranties was not really happening. You had to look up a serial number if there was an issue,” Green said. “We tried to be proactive but there really wasn’t the level of proactiveness that there was once Lifecycle Manager came into play, it saved us time, it saved us money, and it helped us be proactive.”
Keeping consistent and clear communication with their clients is a focus for the team and Lifecycle Manager’s asset lifecycle reports have become an important part of their meetings. As Client Services Manager, Schaber meets with more than 30 clients a month to discuss new updates, existing projects and goals, or just checks in to make sure everything is going smoothly.
Schaber uses the asset lifecycle reports to show clients the exact status of their tech environment, including what hardware or software is considered secure and healthy versus others that may be out of warranty or too old to receive new updates. Lifecycle Manager’s asset monitoring allows MSPs to generate reports quickly and easily, otherwise collecting all that data manually could be a full time job on its own, Green said.
“They are easy to look at, it’s easy to tell where things are,” Green said. “[It tells us] if there is an immediate need or future need and allows the clients to ask [about specific hardware]. It brings awareness to things they might not have known.”
Alt-Tech also takes advantage of Lifecycle Manager’s warranty services as their clients balance replacing old hardware or renewing warranties to get the most out of their current assets. Schaber said they have been selling warranties for clients who don’t know if they want to move to cloud-based services like Azure or stay on physical hardware. Extending and renewing warranties through Lifecycle Manager has been a good way for clients to take the time to make a decision.
“It buys them that time to make that informed decision,” Green said. “It allows them to just really understand what their options are.”
When it comes to meeting with clients, Schaber and the Alt-Tech team usually meet on a monthly schedule rather than a quarterly meeting. While many MSPs stick to a quarterly meeting cadence, Alt-Tech has found value in more frequent check-ins.
“I think the biggest thing we touched on is that it keeps you in the know with what’s going on with your clients,” Schaber said. “I know if our clients have a security audit, I know if their cyber security insurance is being renewed. It is very important for us to have candid feedback.”
She has found that with quarterly meetings the older topics tend to get glossed over in favor of the most recent issues. What happened 60 days ago isn’t necessarily coming up in those conversations, she said. Some clients work better with a quarterly schedule, but most stay in touch on a monthly basis. The Lifecycle Manager asset lifecycle report is a regular part of the check-ins as a recap of the last 30 days.
This focus on keeping up with clients is a part of Alt-Tech’s core value of “family,” Green said. She wants it to be more than a vendor/client relationship. It needs to be a real strategic partnership. Schaber uses Lifecycle Manager reports as one of the biggest pieces of the presentation she sends to clients before meetings. Because the Lifecycle Manager report is so easy to understand, both Alt-Tech and their clients can jump right into discussing their tech strategy.
This approach to client management has allowed Alt-Tech to find success without the pressure to make sales on each call with a client. By building these relationships and working with clients on their day-to-day and long-term goals, the new projects, hardware replacements, and warranties are a natural part of the process.
“Without that relationship you really don’t have much. You are just a name and a number. That’s not how we view ourselves or how we want to be viewed,” Green said. “You have to have that relationship. It’s so important. You can fall back on [a strong relationship] in good times and bad times.”
Green, Schaber, and the Alt-Tech team continue to push forward delivering the best service for their clients and building relationships. Lifecycle Manager continues to be an important tool in their toolbelt to build trust and understanding with clients.