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MSPs Must Elevate Customer Conversations In An As-A-Service World

“If you’re able to educate your clients on things in their industry, you’re in,” said ConnectWise Product Marketing Director Brian Troy. “They’re going to look at you as a real partner.”

Managed service providers must be able to recognize business differentiators from “table stakes,” and customer experience from customer support, to stake out success in an as-a-service world, according to Brian Troy, product marketing director at ConnectWise.

Troy said he keeps hearing the same thing when talking with partners of Tampa, Fla.-based ConnectWise.

“There’s a problem in our industry with customers understanding the value that they’re receiving with your services,” he told MSPs at The Channel Company’s XChange 2019 conference in Las Vegas Monday.

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And in today’s world, it’s the customer—who can more easily and inexpensively change providers due to shortening contract terms—who calls the shots, Troy noted, so MSPs must turn away from the technology and train their focus on them.

“When I say as-a-service, it’s really customer experience,” Troy said. “It’s nothing to do with technology.”

Unlimited remote support, proactive monitoring, quarterly business reviews and endpoint security are table stakes, and while still very important, they’re minimum expectations that customers have for MSPs, according to Troy. He challenged XChange attendees to think about how much time they spend on them versus differentiators, because highly valued service offerings demand a new relationship standard.

“For you to be able to charge what you want to charge per user, you have to create that new relationship standard,” Troy said. “You cannot continue to operate that same way by being reactive. You have to be proactive … making sure you are creating that fantastic customer experience.”

Today’s business differentiators include an outcome-oriented approach, next-level proactiveness, an alignment of MSP strategic priorities with customer expectations, and security risk management, according to Troy.

“You have to really focus on client outcomes and what they’re trying to achieve,” he said.

Customer support is a low-value activity to clients. To create next-level customer experiences, MSPs must make it easier for their clients to adopt their technology and services, Troy said.

“The first six to nine months after that on-boarding are super important, and if it’s not easy, they’re not going to do it,” he said.

MSPs should also utilize the “symbols of quality” concept.

“This is the [hotel] bed sheet being pulled really tight so whenever you walk into the room, it looks nice and clean,” Troy said. “This is the little note left by management saying, ‘Hey, I hope you have a nice stay.’ These are important things that you can do, too. You have to make sure that you’re setting the expectation of quality with your client.”

Providing insight to clients also is instrumental for MSPs, according to Troy. MSPs must have a thorough understanding of their customers’ business model and goals.

“Bring value to them by educating them on things that they may not have known and then show them how—through your technology and through your services— you can be a strategic partner and guide them in the right direction,” Troy said. “If you’re able to educate your clients on things in their industry, you’re in. They’re going to look at you as a real partner. They’re not going to look at you as the IT company down the street.”

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