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7 Ways To Build A ‘Sticky’ Managed Services Practice

Joseph F. Kovar

‘Sooner or later, [a customer is] going to replace a switch. They’re going to upgrade a firewall. They’re going to have 30 users go home and have to work from home for the next six months, a year, a year and a half. Then they’re going to need help setting that up. So you can jump in there and be their savior,’ says David Cox, director of operations at G6 Communications.

Engage In Co-Managed Services

Co-managed services is a big way for MSPs to grow their business, Cox said.

“Back when managed services really became big in the channel, ultimately we took what enterprises had in place and we provided it to SMBs,” he said. “And so what we’re ultimately doing with co-managed services is we’re taking what managed services is doing and extending it to clients to give them the best of both worlds.”

The right tools are the key to stickiness in co-managed services, Hunter said.

“When [customers] have a problem, they’re overloaded and throw the problem over the wall to us, we just jump right in a solve it, and say, ‘Here’s the documentation of what we did. So the next time you can fix it yourself,’” he said.

In this situation, customers know the MSP ready to support them, Hunter said.

“They know we’re that blanket over them, that security blanket,” he said. “And that we’re not trying to take their job.”

The co-managed services relationship between the MSP and the customer depends on boundaries, Cox said.

“You know what your responsibilities are,” he said. “What are you selling? Are you selling services, or are you selling tools? If you’re selling tools, your liability is pretty small. They’re responsible for catching [problems]. They’re responsible for the testing. They’re responsible for remediating it. If they want to hire our help, that’s a different contract altogether. And at that point we are dealing with them as an MSP, and not just reselling licenses or providing the tools.”

 
Joseph F. Kovar

Joseph F. Kovar is a senior editor and reporter for the storage and the non-tech-focused channel beats for CRN. He keeps readers abreast of the latest issues related to such areas as data life-cycle, business continuity and disaster recovery, and data centers, along with related services and software, while highlighting some of the key trends that impact the IT channel overall. He can be reached at jkovar@thechannelcompany.com.

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