While any successful business knows how to manage dissatisfied or adversarial clients, that doesn’t mean that dealing with these people is fun. When you transition from providing break-fix services to offering managed services (VAR to MSP), you may be surprised by how much better your relationship with clients becomes. Break-fix clients tend to be in the “unhappy” category. That’s more motivation to sign them up now!
MSP clients feel a lot more like partners or even friends. They are business partners and not an unpleasant necessity of doing business.
It makes sense when you think about it. A break-fix client only calls you when they’re in crisis mode. Things are going wrong and they’re not sure how to fix them. They need some solutions ASAP! Because they often have very little tech knowledge, they want to see someone in person, on-site, sorting it out. Your presence soothes them.
They usually have not have set aside extra cash in their budget for this emergency. Yet they will probably seem willing to pay whatever it takes to get back to business as usual when you first talk to them.
Later, when everything is up and running, they often dispute these charges. Once they’ve had time to cool down and the panic has passed, they suddenly think you are too expensive. Like a car mechanic, they might start to think of you as someone taking advantage of their misfortune and question whether your price was fair. And once the hurry to get the problem fixed goes away, it’s amazing how quickly the need to pay you also vanishes into thin air.
You’re probably all too familiar with this story. But the relationship with clients as an MSP owner is a whole different ballgame.
From VAR to MSP – Why the client relationship is so different for MSPs
MSP clients will also want everything fixed as soon as possible. After all, that’s why they’re paying you every month. That urgency feels a bit more justified on both ends when you have a contract. When something goes wrong, they view it as being out of their hands. That’s where things can be a lot more pleasant for you as their managed service provider.
They trust you and your suggestions. They already have a relationship with you and probably chose you after researching several providers. Plus, the very fact that they signed up for your services in the first place shows they are more willing to invest in their company than those who only open their pockets when there’s an emergency.
Your MSP clients won’t care where you perform your services, as long you get the job done. They’re typically more hands-off and would rather keep working on their business while leaving you to do your part.
If you’re in their office a lot, you’ll develop a good rapport, and they might talk to you like a friend. They generally don’t need as much explanation and hand-holding as break-fix clients. Many of your clients might start to see you as a member of their team and someone who is helping their business. This is what we all hope for.
Better client relationships create a better bottom line
Let’s talk about why transitioning from VAR to MSP is better for you. Of course, it’s better to have a cordial relationship with clients than it is to be viewed as an opportunist preying on their weaknesses. Even though you probably didn’t get into this business to make friends – you’re here to make money. And there are lots of ways that better client relationships can boost your bottom line.
On top of the predictability of having monthly recurring revenue from your managed services clients, you will enjoy better productivity when you have a good relationship with your clients. You’ll spend less time walking them through processes, defending your decisions and pricing, and chasing non-payers. This means you’ll spend more time tracking profitability and finding ways to maximize your monthly recurring revenue. And that’s a good thing!
Your team will be a lot happier, too. It’s hard to attract good talent in this industry, and your employees are the most valuable asset of your business. You’re going to have far less employee turnover when people genuinely enjoy working for you, and a positive relationship with clients is a big factor in job satisfaction.
There’s no question that there are lots of strategic and financial advantages to offering managed services, and the benefits of improved client relationships are felt in every aspect of your business.
By the way, if you are struggling to hold onto your best employees or you’re worried they see your company as a stepping stone rather than a career goal, you won’t want to miss our live Virtual Academy coming up. We will cover everything MSPs want to know about sales, marketing, human resources, finance, and operations. Reserve your spot today!