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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.

Perseverance Pays Off

Continually providing the best service possible can help convert customers to a managed or co-managed services contract.

That is indeed what happened with one of AvTek Solutions’ banking customers when the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic hit, Hunter said.

“When COVID happened, one of our IT managers from one of the banks where we’d been [working] project to project, all the virtualization for them and all that, calls us and says, ‘Hey, we know you know how to do this. We know you have the tools. Can you help me move 140 people remote in the next two days?’” he said. “We did it, using our tool sets, what we had, to put them out there. And now they’re adding on just because we helped them out of that crucial situation. Now they’re finding other things for us to do. And they were never a potential for us as an MRR [monthly recurring revenue] contract, ever. I knew they would be. And because of that, now they are.”

When asked by an MSP in the audience about customers who are afraid co-managed services will take away their IT jobs, Hunter said that is one of the best concerns a customer can bring up.

“[I tell them], ‘I’m not here to take your job. I don’t want your job. I want to help you be successful in your job,’” he said. “And you’ve got to sell them, obviously in a different view, not down in the weeds, but at that business level.”

When another MSP asked what to do in the case it is frozen out of a potential co-managed services account, Hunter said patience works.

“You know that bank I was just talking about?” he said. “They told me that many times, and that was OK. I said, ‘No problem.’ I was providing other solutions, taking care of their networks, selling them technology. ... They’ve been a client for over 10 years. And then, with the pandemic, who was the first guy to call me to do managed services for them? So situations can change, or the person might. We all know that.”

 
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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