Customer Service: the Competitive Edge for Managed Service Providers
In the competitive world of Managed Service Providers, savvy MSPs increasingly rely on customer support as a revenue resource and source of customer loyalty. Clients who receive top level support are reluctant to trust their productivity to an untried MSP.
What are key questions MSPs must answer to deliver loyalty inducing support to clients?
- Is the focus of the MSP and MSP products and services a good business fit? I recently worked with an MSP who ‘fired’ 2 clients because client needs were not a good fit. The client needs were not the MSP’s core strength, and client expectations of support levels and support hours were outside the norm. The help desk was stressed and the clients were disatisfied. Releasing those clients to competitiors was the best solution for all.
- Are client expectations regarding support levels, SLA’s realistic and well understood by both the client and support personnel? Overly optimistic support levels may have been ‘sold’ to a client but are unrealistic. This disconnect places unrealistic pressure on support staff and invites client disatisfaction. If SLAs are not reasonable as well as supportive of client productivity, SLAs need to be renegotiated.
- Does the support desk understand the client’s business, priorities, and urgencies? One new MSP help desk manager told me his staff had no idea about the ‘client journey’, client priorities and urgencies, and the value of timely support on client businesses. During a workshop I told agents they were guardians of their clients’ productivity. They learned about client priorities and the impact of effective support on the clients’ business. They then empathized with client frustration and vowed to place a priority on keeping clients working.
- Are the right people in the right roles on your support desk? Hiring right, always a challenge in IT support, is especially vital in the competitive MSP market. Clients have choices. Trustworthy support creates client loyalty. Top level support comes from the right hire in the in the right role with the right training. Some agents are good on the phone, but uncomfortable in an on-site support role. Some agents are technically savvy, but need training to relate to clients. Some agents are best suited to handling chat and email responses. Hiring and providing training according to channel and role enables the service desk to better support clients and earn client loyalty.
Maintaining profitable and loyal clients achievable when these four factors guide business decisions.
©Donna Earl, Help Desk Coach, 2018
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