Managed Service Providers (MSPs) manage their client’s IT infrastructure, including hardware, software, and networks. In addition to providing technical support, MSPs must also manage client expectations to ensure they deliver the services and support their clients expect. In this article, we will share and discuss some strategies for effectively managing client expectations as an MSP.
Understanding Client Expectations
Before discussing strategies for managing client expectations, it’s essential to understand what clients expect from their MSPs. Clients typically expect their MSPs to provide reliable and responsive technical support, proactively monitor and maintain their IT infrastructure, and deliver value for their investment. They may also expect their MSPs to inform them about new technologies and industry trends that could impact their business.
While some expectations may be explicitly stated in the service level agreement (SLA), others may be implicit or based on assumptions. MSPs must proactively manage these expectations to ensure they deliver the services and support their clients expect.
Strategies for Managing Client Expectations
- Establish Clear Communication Channels
Effective communication is critical to managing client expectations. MSPs should establish clear communication channels, including email, phone, and a client portal. They should also establish expectations for response times and escalation procedures. Regular communication, such as weekly or monthly status updates, can help MSPs keep their clients informed about the status of their IT infrastructure and any issues that arise.
- Set Realistic Expectations
MSPs must set realistic client expectations based on their service offerings and capabilities. They should communicate the scope of their services and any limitations or exclusions. MSPs should also set realistic timelines for completing projects or resolving issues based on their workload and availability. By setting realistic expectations, MSPs can avoid disappointing their clients and ensure they deliver the services and support their clients expect.
- Proactively Manage Client Expectations
MSPs should proactively manage their client’s expectations by providing regular updates and addressing issues before they become significant problems. This includes monitoring clients’ IT infrastructure for potential issues and resolving them before they impact their business. MSPs should also inform their clients about new technologies or industry trends that could impact their business and provide recommendations for staying ahead of the curve.
- Be Transparent
Transparency is essential to managing client expectations. MSPs should be transparent about their pricing, services, and capabilities. They should also be transparent about any issues or challenges, including how they plan to resolve them. By transparency, MSPs can build trust with their clients and ensure they deliver the services and support they expect.
- Establish Clear SLAs
Service level agreements (SLAs) are contracts between MSPs and their clients that outline the services to be provided, the expected response times, and other terms and conditions. Clear SLAs can help MSPs manage client expectations by clearly communicating the scope of their services and any limitations or exclusions. MSPs should work with their clients to establish SLAs that meet their needs and are realistic based on the MSP’s service offerings and capabilities.
- Provide Value-Added Services
MSPs can manage client expectations by providing value-added services beyond essential technical support. This may include regular security audits, proactive maintenance, and recommendations for new technologies or industry trends that could benefit their business. MSPs can demonstrate their expertise and value to clients by providing value-added services and building stronger relationships.
- Continuously Improve Service Offerings
Finally, MSPs should continuously improve their services to meet the changing needs of their clients. This includes investing in new technologies and training their staff to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices.