When it comes to running an MSP business, it’s easy to think the key to success is all about technology. However, it’s just as much about communication.
Communication plays a key role in developing the client experience for an MSP. The importance of that is clear, as studies have shown that 86 percent of clients are willing to pay more for a service when they are getting a good customer experience and it’s weighted more heavily than product or price as a brand differentiator.
A large part of that communication comes from regular pop-ins from time to time to meet with decision-makers or a quick call to check-in. It may also come from the regular tactical service engagements or quick ticket fulfillment. These are all important touchpoints that help address tactical day-to-day issues, as well as build a trusting relationship between an MSP and its clients.
These touchpoints may happen from a number of areas across the MSP organization. For instance, technical support may help close a ticket or the CEO may call for a quick touch base with management. For this reason, it’s important to make sure that the value and importance of communication and how that should be implemented is enforced at all levels of the organization.
Getting Strategic for the Long Term
One way that an MSP can take its communication with clients to the next level is through a quarterly business review (QBR). As the name suggests, a QBR is a standing quarterly review to undergo a deep dive into the performance of services and strategies, as well as implement potential new areas of innovation. It will likely include all stakeholders inside of the organization involved with the relationship between the two organizations.
A QBR is a fairly common practice for businesses to evaluate their own internal processes, such as the performance of a sales organization or the product development team. However, for an MSP, a QBR can be an important way to engage with clients on a more strategic level every quarter above and beyond the regular ongoing tactical interactions to address current issues or perform a quick upgrade.
For a QBR to be effective, an MSP should make sure that all important stakeholders are included, both from their own business and at the client. This list may include technical account managers, executive or business sponsors, the CEO or owner, the head of finance or CFO, and other department heads with a stake in the success of the relationship.
From there, you can determine an agenda of topics. This will vary from client to client but may include progress on current strategic initiatives, any roadblocks or obstacles, and new potential projects. It may also include a review of SLAs over time, service ticket review, and a technical review of infrastructure, cybersecurity, and other areas. MSPs should try to avoid tactical topics, as these are best reserved for the regular day-to-day or week-to-week interactions, rather than the more strategic QBR discussion.
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Action, Not Just Words
With each of these communications avenues, it’s important to back words up with actions. That is how to develop a pattern as a trusted advisor to clients, prove value to quickly address problems, and create roadmaps for future success together.
As an example, in a QBR discussion, there may be many areas of improvement identified. It’s the MSP’s job to turn those words into actions. Otherwise, the QBR is just empty words and not the foundation of a stronger and more effective relationship between client and MSP.
QBRs and regular check-ins and touchpoints with clients are both equally important parts of a broader, holistic strategy for MSPs around fostering communications with clients. Both are critical pieces of the puzzle and neither should be ignored in a factor of the other.