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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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Your 2018 Business-Wide Success Guide | Part 3: Driving Client Satisfaction

Posted December 13, 2017by Nicole Hunter Hart

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For any service provider business, client satisfaction is the key currency. Not only is it essential to your business’ success, it impacts your top and bottom line as well as your ability to onboard new clients. Keeping a pulse on client sentiment offers insight into your operational efficiency and overall business experience. So, how can you ensure that your clients are content with your IT services? 

This series is designed to help you plan for and achieve success in 2018. Each post digs into a specific department of your business, helping establish a success plan with useful and tangible strategies. In the previous post, we discussed how you can generate more sales opportunities to fuel business growth. Today, we’ll learn how to successfully retain existing clients, attract new ones and make client satisfaction a driver for your MSP business.

Why Client Satisfaction Should Be a Focus in 2018

Depending on which study you read, acquiring a new client is typically six to seven times more expensive than retaining an existing one. Even at the lower end of the spectrum, it requires significantly more time and effort to obtain a new client, especially when you consider all the money spent on sales and marketing activities.

We all know how high the cost of churn is, but if you’re bringing on new clients just to replace those that have been lost, your businesses will flat-line. Instead, you can minimize churn and keep existing clients happy by making client satisfaction a focus for your 2018 business strategy.

Client satisfaction is all about your clients’ perceived contentment with your company’s services and overall experience. When it comes to IT services, the importance of client satisfaction cannot be overestimated. Get it right, and you will build a long-lasting and profitable relationship. Get it wrong, and your client’s perception of you will be tainted. 

Are you currently aware of your clients’ level of satisfaction with your IT services? What are their major concerns or IT pain points? How do your services help alleviate those pains? These are all critical questions you should be asking yourself in order to put client satisfaction into perspective and start making it a driver for your business going forward.

3 Strategies for Increasing Client Satisfaction

1. Become Relationship-Driven

The first strategy for increasing client satisfaction is to put the client at the center of everything you do. Most MSPs have a technology-focused mindset, thinking that product features are at the top of their clients’ wish list. In reality, clients are doing business with you to simplify and improve their IT strategy. This requires you to shift to a more client-focused mentality, concentrating on their overall business goals and needs.

To do this successfully, you need to focus on fostering your relationship during the client onboarding process. From the get-go, you should be communicating regularly and meaningfully. Your clients should know exactly what to expect from you, and you need to deliver on that in order to set up a prosperous relationship.

Even after onboarding, you need to continue to “manage” the account and keep lines of communication open. Many MSPs fall short here; cutting off all ties until it’s time for contract renewal. Instead, take the time to interact and understand your client’s business. One of the best ways to do this is by offering monthly or quarterly business reviews. By sitting down with your clients, discussing what’s going well and addressing any road-blockers, you’re showing them that you’re invested in their progress—which can bolster your business relationship and pay off in strides.

2. Leverage Data

While many MSPs consider client satisfaction as a primary success metric, most do not actively or accurately track it, and even fewer feel confident in the results. When it comes to measuring client satisfaction, here are a couple key metrics you should be tracking:

Measuring and analyzing these critical metrics gives your MSP business insight into the value you’re providing clients and if you’re actually solving the problems you said you’d solve. These numbers can also be used during business reviews, as well as metrics for the sales team in new acquisitions.

You can also leverage this data during contract renewal time. Your goal here is to remind your clients of the value you are adding as their MSP, and what better way to illustrate that than with key metrics. Sharing these numbers instils confidence in your ability to serve your client as a valued business partner, and may also open the conversation to cross-sell and upsell opportunities.

3. Open the Feedback Loop

Almost every MSP wants to believe that their clients are happy with their services, but that belief is typically based on a few anecdotal comments. To objectively gauge your clients’ satisfaction level, you need to open yourself up to feedback.

Consider incorporating surveys into your strategy. Send an email survey every quarter or so, asking for your clients’ honest feedback. Better yet, you can make these anonymous to help uncover problems that you might not have touched upon in your in-person business reviews. Any type of feedback or suggestion will only help you better service your clients for years to come. 

By keeping these tips and strategies in mind, you’ll be well on your way to making client satisfaction a business-driver and finding that clients will be even more delighted to work with you. Click here to read part four of this series, where we dive into how you should be measuring the financial health of your MSP business.

 

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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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