Being proactive is one of the service pillars at the heart of the modern MSP business model.
But, similar to other vital concepts like responsiveness, flexibility, and business enablement, proactivity can mean something different to every MSP. In our view, it means knowing about problems before your clients do—and it’s an attitude that can help you align every aspect of your offering.
In a break-fix business model, revenue is based on solving problems clients bring to your attention. Since the bottom line is reliant on issues cropping up, being proactive isn’t a major concern.
But under the managed services model, if you’re not providing proactive customer service, you’re at risk of losing clients.
So how do you become a more proactive MSP? The secret lies in automation.
Tune Alerts to Boost Responsiveness
It’s 2018, so of course using software to automate and simplify daily tasks is a no-brainer, right? Whether it’s your PSA, traditional RMM, network documentation, anti-virus, network management, or security software, there’s a plethora of opportunity to streamline your processes and mitigate the need to hire additional expertise.
However, many helpful monitoring tools (like traditional RMM or network management software) tend to create a significant amount of noise. To keep your team efficient and productive—and to make the most of your software licenses—ensure you’re tuning the alert mechanisms to fit the activity on your client’s IT environment.
To do so, first analyze the baseline levels of the site over a week or month-long period. You’ll get a feel for the usage peaks and valleys. Then, you can modify the thresholds so your team isn’t receiving alerts for every minor change—only those that could indicate a larger issue.
This way, you’ll ensure your team doesn’t become desensitized. Instead, you’ll gain actionable insight into the health of the IT environment, and create the chance for your team to proactively prevent larger issues before they cause clients downtime.
Differentiate with Network Automation
Traditional RMM tools that automate endpoint monitoring and management are wildly popular. But just as important as the health of user devices is the health of the network infrastructure—think switches, routers, and firewalls.
The network is your client’s all-important gateway to the cloud, and if that infrastructure fails, your client can’t connect—meaning they can’t work. That’s a recipe for an angry phone call and a less-than-positive quarterly business review (QBR).
By automating time-intensive manual network tasks like wire tracing, topology mapping, and configuration backups and restorations, you can manage your client networks more efficiently. Your team can then solve network issues before they affect clients’ productivity, thanks to greater visibility into and control over the site.
Proactive network management is also a way to differentiate your service offering. If you can walk into a client’s or prospect’s office and show them an automated map of their network and point out where problems lie, they’ll trust your expertise.
Offer Strategic Guidance So the Environment Is Fit for Purpose
By managing the total client site efficiently through automation, you’ll also be able to offer strategic guidance so the IT environment supports the client’s long-term business goals. Since you’re spotting issues before they happen, you’ll see trends and opportunities for improvement that could boost both your and your clients’ profitability and productivity.
For example, by receiving tuned alerts from both your RMM and network management software, you’ll have greater visibility into device issues, so you can replace old or failing equipment before it crashes.
Beyond the immediate efficiency, productivity, and profitability benefits, if you’re providing more proactive service, you’ll enhance your client’s trust—not to mention their happiness. And in a crowded MSP market, that means you’ve secured a client for life.
Auvik is a Silver sponsor of Navigate 2018, taking place in Boston on September 24–27, 2018! Come stop by our booth to say hi and learn more about how automation can make you more proactive.
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By Gretchen Hoffman