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The majority of IT solution provider and managed service provider (MSP) business are focused on providing excellent technical support and services to their clients, but when all IT companies start to promote their excellent technical support, your business needs a clear differentiator.
One proven way to add value to your relationships with your clients is to become a “trusted business advisor”.
When a client views their IT provider as a trusted business advisor they see someone who they can approach not just to fix the computers, but as someone who they can actively turn to when planning their business growth. Your clients see you as someone who can help them make better-informed business decisions.
Making the transition from the “IT guys” to a “trusted business advisor” isn’t an overnight change - but you can take steps to start changing your clients’ perceptions of you straight away.
Begin by offering your clients education on the things that are important to them. This isn’t necessarily technical guidance or support, but informed advice on what will make a difference to their business where it matters - saving money or making money.
You can do this by offering them metrics from within their business based on the work you’ve already done supporting them - helping your client recover from downtime and lost productivity is one thing, helping them understand the impact it has on their bottom line is something equally as valuable.
You might, for instance, draw your clients attention to the latest trends in electronic document management - not to extol the virtues of the latest technical advancements, but to highlight how other businesses are becoming more efficient and profitable thanks to the way their handle their paperwork.
You can offer this education in two ways. Firstly, through established formal channels - an e-mail newsletter, social media and offering seminars.
But you can also tailor the advice and education to your clients through informal methods. Understand what is important to your client and then keep your antennae up for content that will support their education. Keep an eye out for media pieces, blog articles and news pieces both on-line and off-line - clip this information and forward to your client by post or e-mail with a short note. “I saw this and thought of you” is often all you need to say.
Becoming a “trusted business advisor” helps cement your relationship with your clients and take you beyond being seen as the “IT guy”.
Once you take steps to start offering support, guidance and education to your clients beyond just the technical, you become an indispensable part of their business support network.
The former owner of on award winning IT MAnaged Service Provider, Richard Tubb now provides expert advice to help IT companies who want to grow.
Follow Richard Tubb on Google+ and for more news and advice for MSPs sign-up to Tubblog.
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