It’s not all bad being an MSP right now. With many employees migrating to remote work, IT services are in high demand. For many MSPs, this meant a glut of work during the March and April months. But now, many of their clients are struggling.
And if an MSP’s clients fail to survive, they cease to be clients. Luckily offering exceptional customer service, MSPs can hope to stand out in an industry with typically tight margins.
So, what can MSPs do to help their clients navigate our current economic straits?
What follows are a few pieces of advice, but’s important to remember that there’s no stock solution for bouncing back as a business. Every client is unique and so are the pressures applied by the coronavirus and subsequent economic slowdown. But here are some generic tips for being your client's go-to adviser for weathering the storm.
- Set-up a virtual meeting to discuss with them what their situation really is. This should be a (perhaps painfully) honest conversation about the state of the business and what obstacles stand on the way of then getting back to “business as usual.”
- Devise an agenda based on the services you provide today and the associated costs. Based on the client's challenges (or strengths) what is affordable what can maybe be minimized? Has the business direction changed at all? Many SMBs may be looking to pivot considering COVID-19.
- Aim to be flexible (while remaining profitable) and willing to accommodate the period between their business restarting and establishing a new normal. Ask yourself if taking a slight hit in monthly income or margins is an acceptable sacrifice to make in order to help keep a potentially long-term client afloat.
- Next, work with a client to draw up a joint "Recovery Plan" with a timeline for scaling back up work and how you can specifically assist with recovery. This may involve stressing the costliness of a data breach, downtime, and other ways your services help the clients bottom line.
- Finally, schedule regular client account reviews (hopefully, you already have some version of these in place) to monitor technology-related pain points and assist with addressing them as reasonably as possible.
Economic recovery for small businesses will undoubtedly entail some tough decisions. But doing everything you can as an MSP to assist with that recovery by establishing a plan will lead to a stronger business in the long run. Not to mention establishing you as a trusted, reasonable business advisor for the life of the relationship. So, take advantage of the opportunity.