Managed Service Providers (MSPs) face a unique set of challenges when it comes to running a successful business. Not only are they tasked with keeping up-to-date on the latest technology and making sure that their clients most valuable assets are protected, but they also have to market themselves as a business.
It can be difficult to stand out from competitors in a field where everyone offers similar services and results. Being able to thrive in a crowded field of managed service providers comes down to effectively making the case that not all managed service providers are created equal. With that in mind, here are six tips that can be used to help MSPs stand out from the competition:
Offer personalized services that cater to each particular client
Providing excellent customer service and personalized experiences are one clear way to win over new clients and create loyal customers. It is up to managed service providers to demonstrate that they understand the unique challenges of each client and offer truly individualized solutions and services. The more a company is willing to make sure that any and all needs are immediately addressed, the more likely a client is to feel valued. One way to ensure that projects get off to a strong start and establish clear lines of communication is to provide a project requirements worksheet. This simple tool takes just a few moments to fill out, but it sends a signal to clients that the MSP has an organized approach to assessing problems and developing custom solutions. It also demonstrates that the company is committed to providing results-driven services that go beyond one-size-fits-all.
Include comprehensive services
Instead of providing one component of a complex system, companies should expand their services to include all the elements so that clients can rely on one company for all their needs.
For example, if a company specializes in digital signage solutions, it makes sense to go beyond just providing the hardware and also offer the necessary digital signage software platform, installation, and content creation services.
This approach can also help improve accessibility by providing a proprietary system that has components that are designed to work together. There won’t be the same potential gaps that can arise from piecing together a system from different companies that may have different standards and software protocols.
Provide professionally managed services
One of the best ways to compete with other managed service providers and stand out is to provide truly personalized account management services. This includes tiered levels of support that allow customers to choose whether they want a hands-off approach or a more fully realized partnership with the MSP.
Clients who already have an extensive staff and IT department won’t have the same support needs and will be able to handle a lot of issues in-house. However, startups and small businesses will have the opportunity to use the MSP as an extension of their business, and can essentially outsource an entire department. Ultimately, offering different levels of support and pricing packages also creates an additional revenue stream and helps to attract clients who want reassurance that the business relationship will continue beyond the initial purchase. It is another way to offer a level of personalized service that will help to cultivate loyal customers.
Stay educated and up-to-date on the industry
This particular tip has two main components: First, managed service providers must continue to invest in professional development and make sure that products and services continue to meet changing needs and address emerging challenges. Second, MSPs must ensure that every employee, from sales and support to research and development, fully understand the functions and benefits of their services to better communicate their value with potential and existing clients. Digital signage technology, for example, continues to evolve and expand year after year. An industry that began with simple media players powering menu boards has grown to include stadium-sized displays and cloud-based digital signage software solutions. Managed service providers are tasked with trying to stay ahead of technology trends and immediately provide solutions when a new innovation is introduced.
This requires constant research and engagement with the desired industry. From subscribing to relevant newsletters and regularly attending industry conferences to networking and collaborating with external partners, MSPs must be proactive about staying educated so that they can offer clients that best possible services. As services expand, MSPs also have to make sure that every member of their team is up-to-date on the latest happenings. If the sales team is uninformed, then they won’t be able to describe and sell available services and convert sales efficiently. A highly educated and prepared team can be the key to success.
Be open to feedback and refining services
Collecting data on the client experience can be an invaluable tool that will help shape and refine services. Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes managed service providers can make is to become too insular and lose out on the opportunity to learn from customer feedback. While a team of technology professionals may be well versed in the latest developments, if they aren’t able to translate those skills to customer-focused services, then they won’t have a successful business model. One option for collecting feedback is to offer a free trial run. Clients will be more willing to offer valuable feedback in return for free services, and they will see first hand that the MSP is dedicated to improving existing services and creating unique solutions to address specific needs. Even the simple gesture of offering a free trial and showing a genuine interest in the quality of the customer experience can send a clear signal about the priorities of managed service providers that will resonate with potential clients.
Offer 24/7 support
It simply can’t be said enough: there is no substitute for exceptional customer service. In a highly competitive field where managed service providers offer similar services and around the same price point, quality customer service can be the distinguishing factor that determines success.
As any business professional knows, problems don’t always arise during regular business hours. Offering continuous support at any time of the day or night can be a major selling point. Clients want to know that help will be available when they need it.
Don’t Get Lost in the Crowd
As technology eliminates traditional borders and creates a more global business world, competition increases. Clients who used to work with local companies now have more options when it comes to shopping around and finding the best-managed service providers.
This new landscape means that MSPs must develop business strategies that include cutting-edge technology, but also go beyond them. Ultimately, managed service providers must be creative when it comes to offering personalized services and support while also focusing on the customer experience and ensuring total satisfaction.
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