As a modern-day journalist navigating through the digital space, I have written extensively on subjects such as content marketing and SEO. In these circles, “Content is King” is one of the sayings you tend to hear over and over. Content is powerful indeed, but if you have a product or service you’re trying to get off to someone else, “the customer rules all” or something similar is the mantra you need to adopt. A seasoned MSP understands that the more happy customers they can create, the more sweet coin they can make —- or at least they should.
A generous discount or cleverly crafted call to action may reel a new client in, but how do you keep them around? There are several strategies being executed, and believe it or not, training your clients is at the top of the list when it comes to effectiveness.
Mold Customer Expectations
As their managed service provider, your customers automatically expect you to do a list of things. When they call your support line with a problem, they expect you to swiftly come up with a solution. When they drop a question on your Twitter page, they expect a rapid response. Then there’s all those specific managed services you have to stand by. Your clients expect a lot out of you, but the comforting part in all this is the fact that you can actually mold those expectations by:
- Identifying priorities. The goal is to cater to the client with superior all around service, but there is only so much you can get done when you’re responding to phone calls and emails all day. Structure your customer relations architecture in a manner that lets you devote time to clients as well as vendors and other strategic objectives.
- Setting the rules. As MSP, you have the power to establish the rules of engagement, so milk this luxury for every drop of goodness. Whether it’s calling the technical support line before 5 pm EST or only using Microsoft Certified development tools with your API, these rules will prevent a lot of confusion and butting of heads by letting your customers know what to expect upfront.
- Communicating expectations. So you and the IT team are taking off to kick the Labor Day shenanigans into gear a few days early. That’s awesome, but do your clients know? A big part of molding expectations is keeping the customer informed, so make sure they are updated on all the essentials during interactions with the company website, email communications, and everything in between.
Empower Customers with Knowledge
Customers have more control than ever, and it’s partly because companies are putting it directly in their hands. In the game of managed services, knowledge is arguably the most powerful weapon you can empower your clients with. For example, if help desk services make up one of your core offerings, a support center equipped with articles, manuals, guides and other content that helps the customer find their way could prove highly valuable. This type of system pays off in a number of key ways, but some of the more delectable perks include the ability it offers to save money on support resources, improve operating efficiency, and increase customer value and satisfaction.
Like any business, a managed service provider owes their success to the customers the company exists to accommodate. Want their continued support? Go out of your way to show your appreciation. Make sure thanking the customer for everything from phone calls to purchases is a part of the corporate culture honored by all employees. There is a variety of things you can do in the way of loyalty programs to reward clients for their support, but don’t underestimate the impact a simple, timely, and genuine “thank you” can have.
I ran across this interesting Forbes article about Lady Gaga and customer retention. Strange combination I know, but it highlighted a study by Tarp Worldwide, which revealed that it’s up to five times cheaper to retain new clients than acquire new ones. I definitely endorse the “cheaper to keep her” theory and as an MSP, adopting this sort of mentality could make for a much smoother relationship with your customers.
Are you a VAR looking to become an MSP? Here are a few tips to point you in the right direction.