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Empowering Your MSP Business to Grow and Prosper—One Post at a Time

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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Setting the Stage for Lasting Client Relationships

Posted January 10, 2018by Nicole Hunter Hart

Setting the Stage for Lasting Client Relationships

Clients are arguably the most important aspect of a managed IT services business. After all, they’re the ones who keep the lights on. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that client management and retention might be a major focus area for 2018. In my previous series, we learned how to properly onboard your new clients. Now, I’m authoring a new series that’s designed to help you not only manage new clients, but successfully delight and retain them.

Throughout this five-part series, I’ll cover the basics of client management and retention, the fundamentals of executive business reviews, how to uncover new revenue opportunities in your executive business reviews and how to manage client risk. Each post in this series will deliver rich information on how to achieve success with your clients, what benefits you will see along the way and tools and tips to help you in your journey of increasing your worth to clients.

It’s never too late to step up your game with client management. Taking what we’ve learned from my client onboarding series, we can build upon the client-centric principals and carry them throughout your clients’ lifecycle.

As always, we are focused on optimizing your client’s experience while simultaneously retaining and growing your business via new opportunities within your client base. Now that you have made changes to your onboarding process and incorporated the top five most important items for client experience, it’s time to focus your energy on your existing clients. By dedicating a bit more time and resources, clients will notice your efforts for improvement and engage with you accordingly. As an added bonus, following my suggestions will demonstrate your value and increase your worth to your clients!

The Basics of Client Management

Let’s set the stage by going over the basics of managing meaningful client relationships. Actively managing clients requires various forms of communication and action, all during a multitude of times throughout the client lifecycle. In essence, you must make your client feel important to your business, demonstrate you know and understand their business, show your dedication to helping them succeed at their goals and commit to a long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationship with them.

Building a client management process off of these four key principals is the means by which you achieve maximum retention and mutual growth from your client base. To get there successfully, let’s first start by asking yourself the following homework questions:

  • Why do clients choose to do business with you?
  • How are you differentiating your business to your clients?
  • Do you focus most of your energy and resources on gaining new clients or retaining existing clients?
  • Do you currently have a client management strategy? If so, what is it?
  • Post-onboarding, how often do you interact with your clients? What is the most common means by which you have these interactions?
  • Do you hold executive business reviews? If so, how frequently?
  • Do you have many clients asking to see the value of the services they pay for?
  • Are the majority of your clients short-term or long-term?
  • Do you know when a client is at risk of leaving your business? If so, how do you know and what are the signs?

Spend a bit of time thinking about these questions and your business practices with clients. Take a few minutes to discuss as a team and write the answers down.

Taking this action alone will spark thoughts, ideas and conversation, highlighting where you are excelling and where you may want to make some improvements. But, you’re not done yet! Save this information and your ideas, because as this series progresses, I will help you prioritize your areas of improvement along with providing you with proven engagement and client management activities to address client needs and revitalize your business.

Click here to read part two, where we go over some creative ways you can engage with your clients!

 

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Nicole is a passionate Customer Success leader specializing in cross-functional programs to drive an elevated customer experience and promote customer retention and revenue growth. In her role as Senior Manager, Partner Success Programs at Continuum, she leads strategic efforts across the organization centered around bringing our partners’ voice into every interaction for a customer centric approach. She does this via Voice of the Partner, Partner Survey programs, advisory councils, and customer lifecycle optimization initiatives. In her spare time, Nicole enjoys reading, interior decorating, catching the latest superhero movie, and traveling to new locations.

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