CX is King
Crafting Top-Notch Customer Experience as an MSP
Customer experience matters. In fact, it matters a lot. In fact, it might be the single most important aspect of your managed IT services.
We’re big fans of what the renowned business leader Kate Zabriskie said about the importance of customer experience:
“The customer’s perception is your reality.”
Think about that. In most situations, perception and reality are contrasted. Reality is truth, perception opinion. Reality is real, perception is not. But this gets turned on its head in the context of business – especially business founded on service.
Your MSP provides a service, and the core of service is making clients feel a certain way – namely: valued, taken care of, and yes, even loved. Maya Angelou’s timeless wisdom is relevant here:
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
None of this is to say that you shouldn’t strive to provide objectively good service and support – the sort of service and support that accords with best practices and meets, if not exceeds, industry standards. Just keep in mind, none of that matters if your clients hate you; if they believe you’re not doing a good job or perceive your work to be subpar, they will, eventually, leave you for another IT provider.
So let’s talk about Customer Experience (CX), because it doesn’t matter if the “customer is always right” (they’re not) when it’s the customer who decides your fate as an MSP.
Preaching to the MSP Choir
We’re not going to spill a lot of ink trying to convince your MSP that CX is vitally important for success in the managed services space. If you don’t believe this already, there’s not much we can do for you. Fortunately, if you’re an MSP executive or key decision-maker, there’s a good chance you do believe this:
Kaseya’s latest comprehensive study of MSP trends – Global State of the MSP Report: Trends and Forecasts for 2024 – surveyed MSPs in North America and found that 44% identify “improving customer experience” as the top strategic priority, sharing the top spot with “growing revenue” as the highest priorities recognized by MSPs.
This is hardly surprising, as MSP respondents identified, for the third consecutive year, heightened competition as their biggest challenge. When competition is stiff, the need to stand out becomes imperative, and how does a company in any industry distinguish itself? Well, a lot of ways, but providing a top-tier customer experience is undeniably one of the most – if not the most – effective ways to stand out from the crowd.
So instead of preaching to the choir and lecturing you on the crucial role that CX will play in your future success, we’re going to zoom in on what CX mastery involves – the nuts and bolts of keeping your clients not only safe, secure, and technologically thriving, but happy.
Without further ado, here are some key CX strategies your MSP can leverage to reach new heights.
Make it About Them
There’s an old marketing proverb – “People don’t buy drills; they buy holes.” In slightly less ‘proverby’ terms, people don’t care about products, services, and features; they care about what those products, services, and features can do for them. In short, they care about benefits.
Along similar lines, clients don’t want to hear you go on and on about how great you are – especially if that means hearing you expound on all the technical details of your services and offerings. So what do they want to hear about?
How great you can help them be! This one is obvious, but often forgotten in the course of sales, onboarding, and so forth. So, make a commitment to keeping the focus on your clients from the get-go.
And don’t make the all-too-common mistake of talking more than listening. To be blunt, learn to shut up so your clients can tell you what they want and need, what their biggest pain points are, etc. As important as solutions are, you can’t develop satisfying solutions without first giving clients the time and space to let you know what it is that needs solving.
Optimize Your Onboarding Process
First impressions are just as important in business as they are in life. Start out your relationship with a new client on the wrong foot and prepare for an uphill battle to get back on the right track.
For this reason, it’s crucial that your MSP become master onboarders. Great MSPs are obsessed with perfecting their onboarding process. That doesn’t mean creating an unadaptable process and expecting that ‘one size’ to fit all your clients and their unique needs. Prioritize personalization to show that you care, and for the sake of all that is good, do not forget to check in after onboarding is officially complete. This brings us to our next key strategy…
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
It’s so important we had to say it three times. Communication is the name of the game in the managed services realm. If you’re not a great communicator, work on your skills – or hire people who excel in this area. When hiring a pet sitter, you don’t just want someone to take good care of your fur babies; you want someone who will let you know how your animals are doing. For the most part, your clients share this wish. That said, no two clients are the exact same, so strive to tailor your communication to their preferences. Some clients want you to fill them in on every detail, while others prefer a more hands-off approach. That’s why the next strategy is so fundamental to CX…
Get to Know Your Clients – And Not Just as Businesses!
A lot of MSPs agree that it’s good to get to know your clients on a human level, but when it comes to putting this idea into practice, very few MSPs truly nail it. That means if your MSP can forge that strong personal connection, you will be a breath of fresh air in the IT provider landscape.
So how do you get to know your clients? By talking to them, yes, but more importantly, by listening to them. This harks back to the first strategy we shared, and indeed, the ability to listen is a thread that runs through all of these CX-enhancing strategies, as listening skills are fundamental to successful social interactions, and in turn, the cornerstone of a healthy client-MSP relationship.
Think Outside the Corporate Box
Some MSPs tick all the boxes traditionally associated with white-glove service but fall short in going the extra mile with personal gestures that truly convey genuine care. While communicating with clients through official business channels, such as automated email sequences during escalations, is undoubtedly beneficial, what elevates your service from good to great is the personal touch. Consider going above and beyond by surprising clients with thoughtful gestures, like a handwritten note. These small, unexpected touches leave a lasting impression and demonstrate a level of commitment that goes beyond the standard corporate approach.
If you have any doubts about the power of a handwritten note, read up on the greatest car salesman of all time, Joe Girard.
Don’t Forget About Metrics
CX is subjective – it’s about feelings – and thus, it cannot be measured in any kind of objective way…right?
Wrong! While it’s important to listen to your clients and gather their feedback informally (i.e., by simply conversing with them), it’s essential to complement this with measurable metrics. Objective data, such as response times, CSAT scores, and issue resolution rates, provides a quantitative foundation for evaluating and enhancing the customer experience. Striking a balance between the emotional and the measurable is key to delivering a comprehensive CX strategy.
The 20 Helps MSPs Become CX Pros
The 20 helps MSPs become CX pros, as well as marketing pros, sales pros, scalability & standardization pros, vendor management pros, cybersecurity pros – the list goes on! We offer a comprehensive success platform with everything you need to thrive as an MSP, all in one place. There’s a reason we have 170+ MSP members across the nation – our system works!
Now get out there and make your clients happy campers!