As most MSPs can attest to, building and maintaining a successful business means establishing your expertise and authority as a business partner. Doing that involves constantly showing the customer the value of the services you provide, communicating with them on a regular basis about the health of their IT assets, and not being afraid to have difficult conversations when they are warranted.
An important tool you can leverage as an MSP to achieve all of the aforementioned objectives is the data you collect regarding the performance and health of your SMB customers’ IT infrastructure. This includes statistics on backup and business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) systems, such as total backups and restores, quantity of data saved, and number of items restored during a specific tracking period whether that be monthly, quarterly, or annually.
You can also leverage data to help improve and sustain customer satisfaction. Here are some of the most common ways our MSP partners are currently using this type of data:
- To update customers and drive conversation. Like an insurance policy for example, disaster recovery is something that often sits in the background — out of sight and out of mind for most SMBs until it is needed. Demonstrating the value of this service through monthly or quarterly reporting keeps you top of mind and potentially opens up conversations about other IT needs such as security, which in turn can lead to more business opportunities for the MSP. Regular reporting can also help to instill confidence in your ability to serve the customer as a valued business partner. Include these reports with invoices, or if the customer is paying by automatic bank draft, this can present a great opportunity to proactively reach out and show the customer that you value their business and are keeping track to ensure that everything is running as it should.
- To demonstrate context for problems and offer resolutions. It’s not always smooth sailing for every single customer, and often the data you collect as an MSP will uncover problems like failed backups or other challenges. Sometimes, these problems will be a mere blip in an otherwise clean bill of health for the customer, but on occasion they can be indicative of a more serious problem. Use the data you are collecting to communicate challenges, and take it one step further by offering tips on how you can help the customer solve the problems that the data has uncovered. This will strengthen your reputation as an expert and your authority in managing the customer’s IT infrastructure.
- To show value at contract renewal time. Another great time to remind your SMB customers of the value you are adding as an MSP is when a customer’s contract comes up for renewal. The data you share at this time can serve as a more measured review of the customer’s IT operations, but at the same time it also offers assurance that all of their important applications and data are being properly protected.
As an MSP, regardless of how and when you choose to share data with your customers, know that it is a vital aspect of fostering successful and sustainable business relationships. Don’t forget to also rely on your vendor partners when it comes to collecting data on the services you are providing. Many vendors offer customizable reports and templates you can use to provide an even more comprehensive view of the health and performance of a customer’s IT infrastructure.
Chris Crellin is Senior Director of Product Management for Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda, a provider of security and data protection solutions for managed services providers, where he is responsible for leading product strategy and management.