Nearly every Managed Service Provider or IT Solutions Provider has honed their technical capabilities to support specific markets. They have certain industries they focus on whether it be medical, non-profits, local government, manufacturing or the many other industries that exist. MSPs that focus on a specific vertical market or industry will find it easier to gain new customers since they understand how those businesses work.
More importantly, they understand the problems and pain points and already have the know-how to improve their customer’s operational efficiencies.
Trust but Verify
A large part of MSPs new customers come from referrals by existing customers; because of this, there is an inherent level of trust. This is a great foundation for a good customer relationship. We hope that the trust relationship improves over time so the customer can focus on their business and trust that we are taking care of their technology. They will understand that they are hiring experts in their field and will take their recommendations based on industry best-practices. The best customer is one that focuses on results and does enough evaluation to build trust with their IT provider and then leave it to them to manage their technology while the customer runs their business. Customers that don’t trust their MSP simply won’t get the true benefit of the MSPs experience and knowledge because the MSP will be less likely to make recommendations if they feel the customer isn’t going to accept them.
As an MSP, we are pro-active by nature and our goals are aligned with our customers goals which is to have their network and technology run smoothly. We do our best to achieve that goal because when the customer has a problem it costs us money in the form of labor. The more time we spend working on a customer’s network each month – the less profit we make. As a customer, it is important to be pro-active as well and take those quarterly meetings to discuss your technology and projects so that your company continues to run smoothly.
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Standardization = Great Support
MSPs can scale and provide great support because they standardize across their customer base. As a customer, you need to let them. Forcing an MSP to use your existing firewall, anti-virus software or backup and disaster recovery appliance to save a few dollars up front will most likely cost you much more in the end. If you have an issue, especially when it comes to recovering your critical business data, you want the MSPs staff to be fully trained and experienced on the products running your business. It is impractical for any MSP to train their staff on all vendors and you shouldn’t want them to either.
Be Willing to Let Go
Great customers wanting to outsource their IT management and support to an MSP, let go of that responsibility. Customers should not try to have an MSP support only a portion of their technology. Customers should really want ‘one throat to choke’ when something happens. If you have multiple vendors or possibly a niece or nephew that ‘knows computers’ and want to have them handle some of the easier technical work – don’t. You will generally end up paying more to have the MSP fix the problems created by them. That’s not to say we don’t want an interested customer, as we want them to have a willingness to attend quarterly business review meetings to discuss their business goals and technology-related issues.
The perfect customer perceives technology as a critical component to improving their business profitability and efficiency. They consider the financial investment as just that, an investment, rather than simply a cost. They are value-driven and not least-cost driven and will perform their due-diligence to find an IT provider that can best support them and understand there is an investment associated with that.