Your success depends on the success of your customers. If they are growing, and you are doing a good job of supporting them, you should be growing too.
As an MSP, nothing is more important than creating and maintaining a culture of customer focus. If you overemphasize technology, you’re missing the point. Of course you need the right tools, but from the customer’s perspective, reliable technology is a given. Customers expect the tools you use to work, and as long as they do, customers won’t feel their IT investments have let them down.
Assuming you have the technology part figured out, one of the most effective ways to differentiate yourself from competitors is an unwavering focus on customer needs. This requires a granular understanding of each customer’s business operations and aspirations so you can support them.
The keyword is “support.” When product sales were king, a solution provider could get away with pushing technology because it was shiny and new. That’s no longer enough. The wow factor today is in successfully aligning service offerings to customer needs. That means customizing and tweaking as needed for a perfect fit.
To successfully serve a customer, you must understand the customer’s market. What is it? Is it down, up or stagnant? Is the competition fierce? Is it an evolving or sunset market? (Hint: If it’s the latter, start identifying new opportunities.)
You also need to know each individual customer, understand the business challenges and IT pain points, and talk to clients about their strategic goals. One of the biggest mistakes MSPs make is telling customers what they need without really listening to what customers tell them. A recent study of 1,300 IT departments and 700 service providers often frustrate customers by trying to push more services on them before they are ready.
Pushing services indiscriminately, regardless of customer needs, is a complete misinterpretation of what it means to deliver managed services. If you don’t understand the customer’s requirements, your chances of meeting business’ needs are greatly diminished. And you definitely shouldn’t be pushing additional offerings before proving you can address the client’s most pressing needs.
A mutually beneficial customer engagement starts with an assessment of the business to determine if its IT assets are supporting it adequately. Only then can you start devising a proper plan suitable to the customer’s immediate and long-term requirements.
Customers look to you for expertise. From day one, you should be making every effort to assure them you have it and will use it to their benefit.
To achieve this, you need the right infrastructure – the tools that enable you to deliver reliable services and a well-trained, knowledgeable staff that knows how to use the tools and interact with customers in a professional, gratifying way. Only then can you truly claim you have a culture of customer focus.
To learn more about improving customer focus and best practices in managed services, download our free guide, MSP Matters: A Roadmap to Enduring Business Success.
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