When running an MSP, the business must offer more than just managed services expertise. It must also deliver exceptional customer service, which is a nuanced aspect of company that requires more than technical knowledge to handle.
Beyond technical support and administration, the following are crucial for mastering customer service and giving tremendous value to consumers.
Understand the Customer Journey
Understanding where the customer is on what’s known as “the customer journey” is the first point of mastery for customer service. This is a sales funnel phrase. The position of the customer in the funnel indicates how they interact with an MSP.
Understanding where the customer is in the journey assists all MSPs with the following:
- Recognizing and responding to consumer requirements, expectations, and pain points
- Improving an MSP marketing approach in order to satisfy demand
- Identifying areas for improvement that can effectively meet expectations
A client journey map should be available to the MSP. While many business owners believe they know where their clients are based on intuition, doing so might lead to huge mistakes and customer loss in the long run.
MSPs can use a map to stand back and assess how customers engage with their business. This gives more information, allowing MSPs to provide better services to their clients and respond to customer demands more quickly.
To design a successful map, four fundamental questions must be answered.
These are the questions:
- Who is your intended audience?
- Who takes part in the customer journey?
- Where do your customers come into contact with you?
- How long has the account been active?
The goal of this map is to have a more in-depth insight of the clients who visit an MSP. The more an MSP knows about their consumers, the better service they can provide.
Understand the Customer Experience
Another cornerstone of an MSP is the customer experience. This means setting accurate expectations through clear communication and being realistic with customers. To do this, a communication plan must be in place.
To make this the most effective and to tailor communications based on the different steps of the customer journey, an MSP can break the communication process into three main stages:
- First is pre-onboarding communication. This stage is about being solutions-oriented and an MSP must be prepared to answer hundreds of different questions on services and products. In this stage, an MSP must be accurate, and promote offerings that best suit the customer’s needs.
- The second stage is Onboarding communication. In this stage, the goal is to make customers feel welcomed and for them to familiarize themselves with the new account and business processes. In this stage, customers should readily know how to use services, how to get support, and how to navigate the dashboard effortlessly.
- The third and final stage is post-onboarding communication. Many MSPs skip over this part thinking that customers are okay once they have an account and are using the services and products. The reality is customers can still have questions or they could run into bugs or other problems. The idea with this step is for MSPs to contact their customers periodically to ask if they are happy and satisfied with the product or if changes are necessary. This can also lead to opportunities to upsell existing clients who may have purchased one service and realized that other services can enhance the experience.
Beyond meeting the criteria of those stages, some other methods of communication include:
- Providing multiple means of communication. Some customers prefer communicating via email rather than calling, video meetings, or in-person meetings. The more ways a customer can contact a company, the better.
- Specify service expectations in the SLA. This is a good best practice to follow, and it sets the expectation for what services the customer is getting.
- Provide access to documents and educational resources. Allowing customers the opportunity to self-resolve problems helps. Making information readily available ensures a smoother experience.
- Personal customer communication. To some degree, have each communication tailored to a customer’s specific needs. While this is easy to do for smaller MSPs, this can be challenging when handling multiple large accounts. Some ideas of personalization in those instances can be having sales staff or account managers send personalized check-in emails or phone calls on a quarterly or semi-annual basis.
Understand the Customer Complaints
While no one likes a complainer, there will occasionally be some issues to address. The types of complaints can range from expectations not being met or a certain business process requires some fine tuning. Regardless, part of the customer service experience is to handle these complaints in a timely and professional manner.
Best practices to handle complaints should include:
- Investigating the problem. Determine exactly what went wrong. Do note that customer complaints don’t always get to the root cause. For example, if a customer complains about the server being too slow, the issue isn’t the server but rather the network.
- Assess how the problem was handled by the team. Figure out what the team has done thus far – if anything – to address the issue. It also helps to know why the steps taken haven’t resolved the situation if actions have been taken already.
- Keep the customer in the know. Customers deserve to know their issues are being resolved if it will take a long time for the issue to be resolved. Getting an email or a phone call with an update can ensure customers know work is being done, even if the solution isn’t fully provided yet.
- Review the processes. Once the problem is resolved, evaluate whether the specific business process should be changed or if there are tools that can be used to prevent this issue from occurring again.
In addition to the best practices, some other considerations are:
- Do not take complaints personally. Complaints typically stem from a need not being met. As a result, complaints and criticism can often be harsh and hurtful, but it all comes back to a specific need not being met.
- Maintain open communication channels for complaints. The easier it is to contact a company the better it will be to have a complaint resolved in a timely manner.
- Let customers know about the outcome of their complaint. A complaint from a customer could reveal a problem in one of the MSP processes. Through resolution, the MSP has become more efficient in that area. Letting customers know the outcome from resolving their specific issue can result in positive change for them and the business.
- Collect metrics on all complaints. Keeping track of how often a customer files a complaint or the type and nature of the complaint can help in identifying trends. Making changes based on that can minimize complaints as well.
About MSP Corp
MSP Corp understands you’ve worked hard to build your business and you want to protect it. With a mission to be a world-class business partner for MSP owners across Canada, we actively seek to acquire and partner with owners looking to secure the value of the business they have built and provide a seamless exit process that ensures business continuity and employee and client stability.
Contact us today to learn more about selling your business and maximizing its value.