Automate Your Technology, Personalize Your Managed Services
There’s no question that automation drives profitability, consistency and scalability for today’s MSPs. Yet with so much automation available, it is easy for MSPs to lose sight of the personal aspects of business, which contribute greatly to customer retention and long-term success. Here are four ways to ensure a personal touch remains front and center in your MSP practice:
1. Don’t Operate on Auto Pilot
When it comes to courting prospects and nurturing the customer relationship, never underestimate the importance of face time. People will always choose to do business with those that they like, respect and can reach – by phone, email, text message or otherwise.
Establish essential principles for the customer experience that you want your business to deliver, and ensure all employees follow them to the letter. Be sure your team keeps in close and consistent contact with prospects and customers. A few tips:
- Use your RMM platform and service management tool to generate meaningful reports your customers will value and your team will learn from to better engage and service customers. Graphics are a great asset and can allow your team to tell a story visually.
- Set quarterly vCIO (virtual) business reviews with clients to assess progress, address challenges and celebrate successes. Be ready to review their business goals and make yourself a part of the planning. If you have to do it over the phone, try for a live Web Ex, Skype, Link or even Face Time.
- Send an occasional snail mail, whether it’s at the holidays or any other time of the year. Taking the time to deliver hand-written correspondence to your clients and prospects can go a long way toward building the relationship and gaining trust.
2. Define Roles & Responsibilities
Automating your business is not just about tools and technologies. It is also about defining roles and responsibilities within the company to create repeatable processes. As an IT service provider, you might be accustomed to wearing many hats. That’s one of the benefits of bootstrap business models. Yet as the company grows and moves beyond emerging to established, or from VAR to MSP, the number of hats any single team member wears – especially the owner – should be reduced and clearly defined.
By detailing the roles and responsibilities of every team member, you create organization, hierarchy and establish valuable business processes. This in turn fosters an environment of reliability, accountability and confidence, which ultimately leads your associates to work happier and smarter, and deliver a better customer experience.
3. Be Easy to Do Business With
With so many great tools on the market, there’s no reason your service contracts and invoicing can’t be delivered and executed electronically. This simple approach to better service engagement can help you accelerate payments, expand your business with existing clients and perhaps even grow revenues. Ultimately, the goal is to be easy to do business with.
Digital contracts and e-signatures speed up the sales cycle and provide a documented process your legal advisors will love. Offering electronic invoicing with ACH and, or credit card payment options built in also streamlines service engagement, keeping the business moving forward and saving both sides money and resources.
4. Use the Technology You Sell
As an MSP, customers expect you to be at the forefront of technology innovation and service excellence. And that means not only knowing how to sell it, but also knowing how to deploy it and use it within your own organization. If you’re not using the cloud to automate your own business, for example, what kind of example are you setting for customers and prospects? And what messages are you unintentionally sending?
Be your own best success story and show your clients that you can balance automation with a personal touch to run your business successfully.