If you are one of those clever MSPs, you are always looking to keep your customers happy in the long run and increase your per-customer ROI. Depending on which expert you consult, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.
Because revenue is recognized over the lifetime of the customer, the need to maintain a healthy relationship with customers is easy to see. By offering a healthy and extensive mix of MSP support services you can ensure customer satisfaction and achieve retention rates worth boasting about.
“If you’re not convinced that retaining customers is so valuable, consider research done by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company (the inventor of the net promoter score) that shows increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%,” writes Amy Gallo for Harvard Business Review.
1. Quick response times will more than pay for themselves
This one almost goes without saying. Almost. The primary reason that customers leave an MSP is because they feel the service is too slow. Even if you have to sacrifice quality (a little bit), quicker service is typically preferable.
2. Excel at user adoption of new technology
User adoption plays a big role in how technical changes are received and perceived, and can this make a real difference in client retention. For cloud computing, training equals adoption. Who is responsible for introducing training to stimulate and increase user adoption? The MSP or the client organization? This is an easy opportunity for you to add value to your relationship.
3. Sell additional services to deepen the commitment
What I find interesting is that as a client spends more money with you, they are making your MSP support services more valuable to themselves. They become further invested and their perceived value increases. As long as you can avoid any major missteps, your contacts will likely stick with you after investing so much if only to avoid the very real danger of looking like they have committed a professional blunder.
4. Make fans outside of IT
A great way to improve your stickiness is to have advocates and fans across the client organization. End-user services such as help desk support and software training provide great opportunities to interact with other departments, helping them solve their technical problems. You can make friends and influence people from sales and operations to HR and customer service, even the C suite. Try getting rid of a vendor who has friendly connections in all of those important places!
5. Deliver on the vCIO promise to become a valued business partner, not just a commodity
Beyond just basic IT management, be sure to provide the higher-level technology strategy that your clients are hungry for. This requires aligning IT strategy with your customers’ business goals. You might consider taking a look at Reframe Your Clients, which provides a framework and tools to help you deliver the vCIO goods.
6. Embrace self-service
End users are becoming less patient and more savvy every day. Look for things that can help your clients feel empowered to solve their own issues, and educate them on solving problems without involving MSP support. Reliance on your self-serve systems will factor into their stay-or-go decision. For more on this topic, check out our related post on how to implement self-serve systems.