Top 4 Tips for MSPs Looking to Retain Their Clients
Would you agree that running a managed service provider (MSP) business can be a hectic and taxing endeavor?
For many MSPs like yours, most resources are dedicated to the service side of the business, maintaining and securing client’s infrastructure. This level of service leaves you with limited time for sales and marketing.
MSPs are service organizations first, with sales often taking a backseat. Many don’t even have a sales team other than their owners. In other words, it isn’t always easy to find new clients.
In a service-focused industry like IT, the last thing you should be worrying about is your MSP losing your hard-earned clients.
At Print Partner, we’ve collaborated with hundreds of MSPs nationwide, working side-by-side with them to service their clients’ print-related needs.
Print Partner Founder, Mitch Kranitz, has built and sold two MSPs over twenty years.
We understand what MSPs go through, and we’re here to help.
In this article, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best ways to retain your MSP clients. By following our suggestions, your business can refine its processes and keep the clients around that you work hard every day to service.
1. Deliver on Your MSP’s Promises
Let’s face it. Talk is cheap.
It’s easy to list the plethora of services and value that your MSP provides to your clients. But when the metaphorical rubber hits the road, you must be ready to deliver on your promises.
In multi-faceted companies like MSPs, it’s easy for things to fall through the cracks. Pay close attention to your client's needs, regularly checking to ensure all systems work as intended.
Is the Antivirus solution you promised deployed 100% and up to date?
Have you deployed MFA throughout all the users you promised you would protect?
Have you fully configured Auvik or any other monitoring tool to clearly alert you to the critical infrastructure needs? If so, are you able to concisely document and present these to your customer during a QBR?
Backup and disaster recovery (BDR), in particular, can be an easy service to push to the wayside. It’s an emergency protection measure your clients will hopefully never need to use.
However, you'll have a problem if a data breach occurs and the BDR is not maintained correctly (validating regular completion, checking bootability, quarterly recovery test scenarios with the customer that you bill for etc).
Poorly-maintained BDR would create vast amounts of time and revenue loss for your clients, along with broken trust and a broken relationship.
The same goes for things like firewall packages. Your customers won’t know how well or poorly you configured security on these devices. If you’re months or years out from the latest security updates, you are putting them at risk.
And if disaster strikes, you and your client will be in for a rude awakening.
The bottom line: Deliver on your commitment, show your value during QBR and be proactive.
2. Transparency in Your Service
“Have you tried unplugging it and plugging it back in?”
How many times a month do you have to repeat that tired line over and over again?
This shouldn't come as a surprise, but we’ll say it anyway: Most of your customers don’t understand technology like your MSP staff.
Even if your business services companies with in-house IT, the company’s decision-makers often do not have a full scope of your MSP’s labor. Instead, they vaguely understand that you manage servers, fix computers, and reset passwords.
You should assume that each customer is clueless about what MSPs do, which is why education should be a cornerstone of every MSP’s service.
Schedule meetings with your client's management teams to explain the function of every service you provide. Explain why they need BDR, why they need firewall security, MFA, the particular flavor of M365 license, etc.
If your customers do not understand what you do and why you do it, they cannot appreciate your integral role in their organization.
And remember: these conversations, which you can have annually or quarterly, often lead to new project work.
Answer the burning question in every client’s head: “Why should I care?”
3. Timely and Surprise-Free Billing
If not done correctly, billing can cause more tension between you and your client than anything else.
According to an article from MyCustomer, “as many as 77% of customers have experienced some form of a billing issue, with two-thirds stating they would consider, or definitely switch providers, when one arises.”
Billing is an issue that plagues businesses across industries, and MSPs are no exception.
Much like how you should explain your service, transparency in billing is a must. Clearly outline every service or package you are billing your customers for.
Breaking down pricing is not always simple for MSPs, which often have a long list of services to bill. To simplify pricing, start by explaining separate line items per seat and any other a-la-carte options they are buying from/through you.
And when new projects arise, clearly outline to your clients how it will affect their billing. The worst thing you can do is surprise your clients with an unexpected expense.
“New offerings need to align with customer expectations and their fixed budgets,” says Good Sign, a billing company that works with MSPs. “In short, clients want no surprises in their MSP’s monthly invoice.”
If your organization cannot handle billing independently, consult with a professional billing company.
Be honest, proactive, and transparent, so your clients will always understand what they owe and why they owe it.
4. Connect With the Whole Company
Working with a client involves building relationships with the entire company, not just one point of contact.
Evaluate how you typically reach out to your business partners. How many of your clients have only one point of contact?
Facilitating connections with multiple members of an organization will deepen your relationship. Talking to employees throughout a company will give you a pulse on the company, ensuring that the work you are doing is in alignment with the entire organization, not just your point of contact.
A company’s executives won’t always have the same opinion, knowledge, or experience as those closely working with the systems you manage.
For example, you may be working primarily with a company’s sales team for one project, while another project may be closely associated with the marketing director.
You’ll need to communicate directly with the heads of both departments. After you make the initial connections, things will run smoother on future appointments. This is why we recommend taking a “deep and wide” approach when dealing with your customers.
Also, by connecting with other members of the company and getting their buy-in, you are effectively building continuity in the event your primary contact leaves the company.
We implement this strategy during our print assessments when we complete a walkthrough for a prospective client. This is when we visit a prospect's physical location and meet and greet with several key contacts.
To learn about our full assessment procedure, read: What is a Print Assessment?
Overall, connecting with personnel throughout your client businesses will deepen the trust built between them and your MSP.
Staff throughout the company will know your MSP. Assuming you’ve done your job well, having allies spread out in a company will make executives think twice about switching providers.
Ready to Partner with Print Partner?
We’ve reviewed some of the easiest and most effective ways for retaining your MSP’s clients.
Strengthening your relationship is the primary way to retain clients. Luckily, Print Partner has your back.
You want your customers to see your MSP as their trusted technology advisor - a one-stop shop for all their computer-related needs.
Print Partner is committed to creating and maintaining relationships between our parent company, Green Office Partner, and MSPs.
Referring us will make you look good by connecting your clients to a reliable print provider.
You won’t need to provide any additional services or sell our products. Just make the introduction, and we’ll handle the rest.