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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreement (SLA)

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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLAs are the foundation of your MSP business. They are essential to building strong client relationships and must be clear, reasonable and well-constructed.

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How to Build More Profitable Client Relationships

Posted August 8, 2017by Courtney Swift

How to Build More Profitable Client Relationships

Relationship building is a key component to any successful business, and this is especially true for managed services providers (MSPs). You’re in a services business, which means that your clients depend on you to maintain and take care of their IT infrastructures. Not only does this put a lot of pressure on you, but your clients need to feel that they can trust you—and properly cultivating client relationships is the only way you can achieve that.

From prospect, to onboarding, to customer, there are a few ways your MSP business can be effective when building profitable customer relationships. Let’s take a look at the top three:

1. Establish Multiple Channels of Open Communication

From the very beginning, even before your prospect signs the dotted line, you want to keep lines of communication open. It’s never too early to start a consistent cadence with potential clients, and this kind of open contact will help build a solid foundation for people who are interested in your services.

Communicating with your clients can be done in a few different ways, and starting this early can help set proper expectations. Whether it’s through social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter, on a company blog, or via email, consistency is key and will not only help you gain new clients but also retain those that are already loyal to your services.

Additionally, if you’re on a budget, these channels can be your business’ best friend—allowing for an inexpensive way to stay in touch with clients and prospects. Whenever possible, you’ll also want to add personal touches. This will show your company’s authenticity, and your clients will be able to see that they are considered as individuals rather than a small fish in a big pond.

To better your client communication and build profitability, you can include personal touches such as using a person’s name, rewarding customers who are loyal via discounts or features, and even sending emails from specific account managers vs. your general company email. Simple things like these can go a long way for gaining and retaining business.

2. Set Proper Expectations During the Client Onboarding Process

Once you’ve signed on new client, the next step in building profitable relationships is through proper communication and expectation setting throughout the onboarding process. You’re going to want to set expectations around communication cadence, how to get started with new products, which account managers to contact, and the best places to go for product and company information. Setting these expectations from the start will show your partners that you’re serious about their business and its value, translating into longer-term relationships.

This also means letting your clients know that sometimes mistakes can happen, but you will always do your best to resolve them. You can also take this opportunity to share the best means of communication during urgent matters, and how you as the MSP are always working to mitigate issues that may arise. The sooner you set these expectations set, the smoother the process will become, and your clients will surely appreciate the transparency.

3. Delivering Value and Client Satisfaction

Now that you’ve onboarded your clients and they’re using your services, you might be inclined to shift your focus towards new client acquisition. However, if you want to maintain a profitable business relationship with your current clients, it’s important to not overlook them and their ongoing experience.

After onboarding, it’s always a good idea to do a temperature check and see how your clients are feeling about your services. This is a great opportunity to create something like a client satisfaction survey to check in on your base throughout the year and ask questions about service and products—while allowing space for them to leave comments about where your business can continue to excel and improve. These kinds of check-ins can help you identify champions of your business and know who you can leverage to help showcase the value of your business to future and current clients that you may be trying to close or upsell on different products and services.

Depending on the size of your base, you can vary the cadence of these surveys—such as once a quarter, or once to twice a year. Tools such as SurveyMonkey can be incredibly useful, allowing you to customize surveys to get the answers you need. You could also split up your base into groups who get a satisfaction survey at different times. This will help ensure that you’re not hitting the same group each time, and that all of your customers are getting a chance to respond throughout the year. Once the survey is complete, it’s always helpful to have members of your team follow up via call or personal emails as well if your clients want to discuss more.

Following these three steps will put you well on your way to building and maintaining more profitable relationships with your clients. Are there any different strategies you use with your clients? Let us know what’s worked for your business in the comments below!

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Courtney is the Communications Manager at Continuum where she’s primarily responsible for email marketing and partner communications. Before joining Continuum, she worked in various marketing and events roles in Boston, and she graduated from Emerson College with a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism. Courtney loves cheering for her favorite Boston sports teams, and can often be found listening to the greatest musical to ever hit Broadway, Hamilton.

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