Ask an Expert: How MSPs Can Retain and Win Back Customers

At some point, every managed service provider (MSP) will lose a customer. Whether because of a poor experience or security incident, there will be times when customers leave your service for a different provider. With today’s businesses having more options when choosing an MSP than ever, winning back important accounts can be difficult, but if you have the right tools, you can turn a contract termination into a new business opportunity.

Top Reasons MSPs Lose Clients Today

There are typically three main reasons why MSPs fail to retain customers:

1. Customer Service

First, most MSPs will lose a customer if they can’t deliver on their technology needs or if their customer service level and response time don’t fit their clients’ needs. For instance, if the end customer puts in a ticket for support, how long does it take the MSP to respond? How long does it take to resolve the issue? If the MSP can't fix a problem in a timely manner, the experience for that end customer is poor, and enough of those poor experiences can cost you that account.

2. Service Offering

Some MSPs have end customers who outgrow what they can provide in support. That could be a combination of company size, office layout complexity, or cost of support in relation to the perceived value of service.

3. Outage or Security Incident

Outages and security events can be very costly for end customers, so any event that could have been prevented with proper management from your MSP could cause that customer to terminate service.

How MSPs can Prevent Customer Attrition and Win Back Lost Accounts

Automation tools for MSPs are designed to increase operational efficiency. For instance, if you have 5 engineers on your team and you’re managing 50 customers, the right automation solution can help those same 5 engineers manage 500 customers. This type of process efficiency is critical for managing accounts and resolving issues successfully.

On the customer service side, think about it this way: 95% of time spent on customer issues is research and the other 5% is actually fixing the problem—automation tools position the MSP to have the data they need at their fingertips, not just for one system, but for all systems for that customer. So instead of having to log in to ten different systems to check on your customer’s status, you can log in to one tool to get unified visibility that lets you know exactly what the problem is and execute on how to fix it. If an MSP is then able to go back to a customer and tell them that they’ve now got tools that reduce their time-to-resolution from, say two hours to thirty minutes, that’s powerful.

For MSPs who see their customers outgrowing their service offering, it’s time to evolve. Technology has evolved away from the workstation and into the cloud, and savvy businesses know the cost advantages of moving to the cloud. If an MSP is only servicing on-premise solutions, customers are going to go with a provider that can give them both and they want a provider who is willing to adapt to their needs. Customers are looking for an MSP that helps them transition to hybrid workplaces or cloud environments effectively and efficiently. Before making these changes, you’ll need to know what is in place and provide a complete audit trail of changes before, during and after a transition takes place—and this is another place where automation and data aggregation tools provide you that visibility and full audit trail with historical context.

Security incidents and outages are the most difficult to come back from. They can literally sink the business, the MSP or both. The important thing about security to keep in mind is that it’s mutual between the MSP, service providers and the end customer. Security doesn’t fall just on the back of the MSP and, if they are able to convey to the customer that they also have a responsibility to follow security best practices, then there’s a greater chance that they can build back that trust relationship.

They key thing is to be diligent in covering your bases. There’s not a single piece of technology or a customer environment that’s 100% secure. So MSPs and their customers have to work together to make sure they’re putting in the right systems and running the appropriate configurations to mitigate risk. In the event an incident does happen, you need to know what steps the bad actors took once they made entry; you need to be able to see the exact path they took, what changed and when so you can anticipate their next move or stop it from happening and then focus on remediation. Looking at your historical data provides full visibility and audit trail into what happened before, during and after an event so you can cover your bases and show the steps you took to keep your customers safe. You can also show steps you took to mitigate damage and resolve the issue so that your customer will know you’ve done everything you could.

An Ounce of Prevention

It’s much more effective to retain your customers than to have to win them back. And if you’re providing a high level of service and value to your customers, they’re not going to go anywhere. Most customers won’t leave you on price alone if they’re getting great service, and, MSPs who provide a superior level of service who can convey that they have the effective ways to reduce risk and exposure can charge a higher price and the customer isn’t going to care because you’re taking care of their business.

Liongard’s platform provides full visibility into all your customer systems across the tech stack so you can transform your MSP from resolution time to security and scaling your business. Schedule a platform walk-through today.

Guest blog courtesy of Liongard. Read more guest blogs from Liongard here.