Clients come in many shapes, sizes, and attitudes. Handling impatient clients is just one of the many struggles managed services providers (MSPs) have to deal with every day. It’s hardly surprising, given that everyone’s work product depends so much on their technology working properly. So what can you do to help mitigate the anxiety and frustration behind an impatient customer?
The first thing MSPs should do is set expectations. Every client on recurring services should have a written agreement that spells out service delivery expectations, from response times and SLA to weekend/holiday policies and after-hours work. This can solve some of the frustration up front, and can even be used to upsell a managed services agreement with better response and SLA times.
The second thing is to communicate well by responding quickly to an incident. I am not saying you have to fix it—just respond to it. Most PSA/ticketing systems will do this automatically when a ticket is generated. This provides confirmation to the client that their problem has been recognized. As soon as the ticket is picked up by a technician, they should respond with approximately how long it will take to triage the issue and when the client should expect the next communication. From here, every time the ticket is significantly updated the client should receive notification that their issue is still being worked on. If there is not a significant update but the time until the next expected communication has expired, you should send an update anyway.
Optimize your service
The third thing MSPs can do is make sure their service delivery is optimized. This can be broken down into four parts:
- People—Have the right people in place with the right training.
- Systems—Have a PSA system that is properly configured and populated. Your PSA automates much of your process and is a repository for most of the client and asset information needed by your technicians.
- Tools—Have the right tools for the job. Having the right tools, both hardware and software, can make the difference between minutes and hours when resolving an incident.
- Process—Last and perhaps only second to people is process. If you do not have well-defined processes in place your techs will not work efficiently. Your tools and your PSA help but they themselves do not define your processes.
One last note: I would also consider making sure you carry your most-used inventory items on hand. This will also speed up your time to resolution. I also know many of you maintain one or more “loaner” devices, which can help your most time-poor customers get back to work as quickly as possible using primarily cloud based tools.
- Are You Managing Your Customers’ Expectations on Response Times
- The Smart MSP’s Guide to Service Level Agreements
- Promises, Promises, Promises
- 10 Things to Consider When Writing MSP Contracts
Eric Anthony is principal of customer experience at SolarWinds MSP. Before joining SolarWinds, Eric ran his own managed services provider business for over six years.
You can follow Eric on Twitter@EricAnthonyMSP