Smaller MSPs often find themselves facing the same growth problems bigger MSPs do: too many time consuming tasks and not enough staff to accomplish it all. As a small MSP with five employees, David Mercer Consulting (DMC) found the automated features of Lifecycle Manager has helped them grow and take on new customers while providing the best service possible.
David Mercer, Founder and President of DMC, said that the Napa Valley-based MSP focuses on serving local businesses with IT needs that may be too small for larger MSPs but too big for a single IT person.
Lifecycle Manager has allowed DMC to provide high quality care, despite being a small business themselves, by automating processes like asset management, reporting, and warranties. With improved internal processes, Mercer said the MSP is able to maintain a high quality of service while bringing in more clients with the same amount of staff.
Mercer said the smaller businesses can often fall into a gap in coverage. Full service MSPs are too expensive and a single IT person is just not enough.
“If you’re a one-man company, you’re probably just getting your friend’s son to help you with stuff. If you are a larger company, you probably have in-house IT support or you are going with a large national provider,” he said. “But then there is a middle ground where you needed more than the Geek Squad, Staples, or your friend’s son, but you couldn’t afford an IT person on staff. That’s where we really slotted in. I think that’s where the real need was and is.”
In Mercer’s experience, businesses in this middle ground often had tech-savvy employees, but the effort required for them to manage their systems took too much time away from their primary job. That’s where DMC’s expertise in managing tech for small businesses has helped their clients.
While Mercer was aware that automation platforms existed, Lifecycle Manager showed him that they weren’t just for large MSPs. At the time, DMC only had two employees, but Lifecycle Manager was able to help them make big changes to the way they operated.
When clients would request information about all of the hardware, warranty status, and age of their assets, Mercer had to manually go through all of that information and create a report, taking up hours of his time that could have been used to address more meaningful tasks. That all changed with Lifecycle Manager.
Communicating warranty and hardware details can be tricky for MSPs, but Lifecycle Manager’s automated monitoring and reporting functionality helps. Lifecycle Manager generates the report from RMMs, PSAs, and documentation tools and allows MSPs to schedule emails to clients from within the dashboard.
“Instead of taking me hours of hassle, [Lifecycle Manager] has a pretty report on-demand in 10 seconds and I can make it and send it to them regularly too. That’s even better,” Mercer said.
The warranty services offered by Lifecycle Manager have also been a big help to DMC, especially for servers that clients aren’t ready to get rid of, Mercer said.
“Offering the extended warranty was also a benefit for us, mostly for servers when people weren’t quite ready to get rid of them,” he said. “Offering that at a better price point or when we’ve missed the window to extend the warranty with the original manufacturer was a big plus for us.”
When a client asked about why their workstations were failing after a couple years, Mercer was able to walk them through the asset and warranty report to show them why their home-grade machines were not the best choice for their business.
“Using those reports, we were able to take that information and say ‘Here’s a predictable replacement schedule, here’s when we think you should do that, and here’s what you can expect to spend,’” Mercer said. “But also we had a couple machines that were only a year old, but were out of warranty… I was able to say ‘Let’s bring all these up to a five year warranty and this is what it’s going to cost.’ They loved that.”
Lifecycle Manager’s asset reports have been so successful with clients due to their simple and visual design that makes it easy for anyone to read without getting lost in confusing spreadsheets. The accessibility of the report made it easy for Mercer’s client to understand the current status of their tech environment and make a more informed decision about their business.
“Every time they get these reports now everything looks good and things are under coverage and they can see the next machine that needs to be replaced,” he said. “So that was a real benefit for us and for the client in a very concrete way beyond just a pretty report.”
With efficiency improvements to DMC’s support services, Mercer said they have been able to expand their client base without hiring more staff. A more efficient process allowed them to improve their client bandwidth to capture more revenue without compromising on quality of support.
DMC was established in 1995 as Mercer’s computer building business and evolved drastically over time from networking to home customer service and then to business support. Mercer said the company has been a full MSP for about seven years, and plans to continue the growth in 2022 by hiring new team members.
Part of his success was the high-touch nature of the company. Mercer is proud that his customers know who all of his team members are, and they know their customers well. Being a small MSP working with other small businesses allows DMC to build more personal relationships and trust with clients, something that bigger organizations just can’t do.
“One of my favorite phrases when we’re meeting with a potential customer is “You know who all of us are, you’ll have a person on the team, we want to know all of your people,’” he said. “We don’t want to be an 800 number calling and asking generic questions. I want you to be able to say ‘Hey Duncan, Hey Sam, Hey David, Hey Saphia. How’s it going?’”
Building trust with clients has helped DMC create a collaborative environment in meetings where the MSP and client can work together to plan out future replacements or renewals.
“I think that’s really what our value is, to be trusted,” Mercer said.
With big plans for 2022, Mercer and his team are continuing their success by providing a high quality service to their local community with Lifecycle Manager.