MSPs: Good Reporting Triggers Even Better Customer Retention


IT automation is the engine that drives today’s MSPs to retain profitable clients, deliver outstanding levels of service and maximize their internal efficiency. It’s also what allows service providers to standardize their offerings, respond faster to client demands and scale their businesses. The flip side is that with so much automation, the value the MSP delivers can be missed.

That’s why professional, accurate reporting is needed to give clients clear insight into the ongoing work that is being performed, and the value that you deliver around the clock. From preventive maintenance to remediation, letting your customers know what you do for them – quarterly, monthly or even weekly – is essential to the MSP business model. Why? Reporting gives clients validation for their investment in you, and that’s the simple reason why it shouldn’t be considered a task that you attend to when you have the time.

Don’t Be an Invisible MSP

The reality is that your clients may be misinformed about the volume of work you do for them, and if they don’t see that work detailed out for them in writing on a regular basis, your relationship with them might suffer. Remember that most managed services activities are performed behind the scenes. You might be freeing up your client to focus less on IT tasks, but at the same time that means you might become a victim of the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. Your clients might come to the mistaken conclusion that their systems and operations are running so smoothly that they don’t need you anymore.

When your work is essentially “invisible,” it’s not uncommon for clients to underestimate the value you are delivering -- unless you tell them. And if you don’t tell them, they won’t necessarily connect the dots between your proactive maintenance routines and the network’s performance, or the speed in which your remote support team takes action, and the increases in productivity they’ve achieved.

The Automation Imperative

While reporting is essential, preparing reports manually often takes too much time and undermines account profitability. For many MSPs, it’s an inefficient task that involves compiling information from different consoles and organizing it into a digestible format for the client. That may be why it’s been said that as many as 80 percent of IT service providers either skip the reporting process altogether or deliver the bare minimum.

Fortunately, manual MSP reporting is becoming a thing of the past. Many of today’s advanced RMM platforms provide integrated, feature-rich reporting capabilities that can be automated and customized to meet each client’s unique needs. The result is significant savings in IT staff time and budget, and an efficient way to give clients a deep dive into the full scope of your services and accomplishments.

An RMM-based automated report should offer you a variety of formats to suit your varying clients. You should be able to choose from technical and executive summaries, security alerts, hardware inventory reports, data protection reports and more. Charts and graphics that concisely illustrate progress and key metrics are also essential. But don’t let all of these RMM reporting options scare you. With automation, you’ll be able to set it and forget it -- and simplify and accelerate the process -- creating professional reports with a few simple clicks.

Own the Data

Good reporting allows you to give clients the assurance that you are helping them move forward in their businesses, and it offers you a way to demonstrate that SLAs are being met. In fact, regular reporting should be built into your SLAs as a way of letting clients know that accountability is core to your business.

Looking at the big picture, reporting is all about owning and making use of the data intelligence that you already have. Beyond just showing what you’ve accomplished, you can use that data intelligence to get to know your customers even better, uncover new opportunities, and find more ways to build and optimize their business. Simply put, when you own the data, you are also in position to exceed expectations – and own the customer. Isn’t that your ultimate goal as an MSP?

Frank Colletti is VP of sales for SolarWinds N-able (a part of SolarWinds MSP). Read more SolarWinds N-able blogs here.