Customers want solutions – a team of experts to simplify their business needs. Managed service providers (MSPs) equip companies with a protected IT infrastructure, as well as other services in the background.
The MSP market is booming and there is a lot of competition. Here are three ways to grow as an MSP to give yourself a competitive advantage.
1. Prioritize the customer experience
In the age of anything-as-a-service (XaaS), finding customers and retaining them is an expensive proposition. According to research by Brain and Company, a 10% boost in customer retention can expand the value of a business by more than 30%.
Position yourself as a trusted advisor to boost customer loyalty. Not only does this provide opportunities to upsell and reduce churn, but satisfied customers are more likely to give you positive reviews. Online feedback is important, with one survey reporting that more than 90% of 18-34 year-old consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
As an MSP, you should automate your onboarding process to be well-documented, efficient, repeatable, and scalable. Design your customer journey so that new customers experience value as soon as possible. You can capitalize on deep customer ties to identify challenges and proactively solve them.
2. Offer a variety of product combinations
Business customers, like regular consumers, are interested in subscription-based services, made popular by the likes of Netflix and Spotify. They also want to consume technology more easily with a one-stop shop – a single vendor for most, if not all, of their business needs because IT is not their area of expertise.
In this uncertain economy, business customers want to pay monthly, rather than make a large, one-time investment up front.
MSPs need to offer bundled services such as software-as-a-service (SaaS), cybersecurity as a service, data storage and mobile device support. These services can be billed on a subscription basis and provide a way to grow a recurring revenue stream.
MSPs can scale by partnering with a cloud platform provider that manages subscription and billing, vendor and product information, and partner acquisition across multiple channels. A platform also enables companies to create their own digital ecosystems that can simplify connections between partners through a centralized point.
3. Find your niche
Compliance regulations can be difficult to manage when migrating to the cloud and compliance-related issues can fall through the cracks, opening up potential security threats. Delivering compliance-as-a-service is one area that can make you stand out as an MSP.
As security and compliance needs grow, MSPs can fill a need by providing a comprehensive solution to maintain compliance and keep the cloud running efficiently. Healthcare, banking and legal services, to name a few, deal with increasingly more detailed data handling requirements.
Organizations are turning to MSPs, for example, to help them deal with compliance of existing rules such as HIPPA in the healthcare field. Then there’s Systems and Organization Controls 2 (SOC 2), which was created to provide auditors with guidance on how to evaluate the operating effectiveness of an organization’s security protocols. Since MSPs are supposed to be the pros when it comes to IT infrastructure, it is vital that you maintain compliance for your customers and your own operations.
Automation is the at the core of MSP success
A cloud platform provider with end-to-end automation can help you fill the gaps – with a unified view and data integration to improve visibility and workflows. With automated processes such as provisioning and billing, end customers can consume technology more easily and on a self-service basis.
Providing more services increases customer loyalty because you’re saving organizations from the hassle of seeking products and services elsewhere. Cloud-based solutions also expand their reach of potential customers.
MSPs can benefit from automation platforms with pre-programmed templates that enable procurement and fulfillment operations. This allows a “one-click” shopping experience with vendors and creates huge cross-selling and bundling opportunities. No matter how big you are as an MSP, doubling-down on automation can help you thrive in a digital-first world.