Being a Managed Service Provider can be tough, and there’s a lot that can go right or wrong. You can do everything right for your customer from the moment they come on board, but a single bad experience can ruin the whole relationship.

Avoiding those mistakes goes a long way to building a lasting (and profitable) customer relationship. Here are the six most common mistakes that MSPs make, and how you can avoid these pitfalls for yourself.

Not discussing expectations or outcomes

You should never assume your clients “just know” what the outcome of a service or particular action might be. They might get their hopes up expecting an instant fix, and be sorely disappointed. Worse, they might not understand the risks involved.

Make sure you tell them the pros, cons, associated costs and risk factors well in advance. That way, if something goes wrong, they won’t be upset because it feels like it’s been sprung on them.

Selling and not delivering

This is another failure of expectation management. You want to undersell and over-deliver, not the other way around. It can be tempting to put your best foot forward to clients, especially when you’re on-boarding them, but it backfires fairly quickly.

In the best case scenario, it sours your relationship with the client. In the worst case scenario, they dump an expensive lawsuit on you. Either way is not good. Don’t feel pressured to say you do what your competitors do if you know you don’t, or say you know how to do what you can’t just to seal a deal. Be honest – it’ll save both of you from pain in the long run.

Not letting go of bad clients

Clients are a mixed bunch. And even if you think you’ve got a good relationship with one, it can change at a moment’s notice. What’s worse is that what might fit one client perfectly – like a monthly flat fee for all IT needs being taken care of – can completely rub another client the wrong way.

So what do you do? Firstly, you need to decide if that client really sees value in the service and support you offer. How much time are you wasting on them? Sometimes, it’s best to just cut them loose and take the small hit. You want to add value to the clients that really appreciate your services, not burn lots of time catering to a chronically unhappy client. Ditch them and find a new client who sucks up less time and energy.

Not Being Flexible Enough

Remember how we said clients are a mixed bunch? No two clients are alike, so that means a solution that works for one won’t necessarily work for another.

The recipe for success is not handing out a one-size-fits-all solution (spoiler: it won’t), but providing your clients with flexible plans and services to fill gaps in their in-house team.

Not having the right people involved

Often, making sure the right people are providing a solution is more important than the solution itself. Make sure your clients have all the right people they can contact to fit the solution they’re looking for: accounts, customer support, the sales person and the decision maker.┬áDon’t make them go through one gatekeeper to reach the people they need.

Ignoring the Service Aspect

You’re offering a service, not just a product. You can’t just hope that the product and technology is going to be efficient enough to carry your customer relationship on its own. You are also selling the expertise, knowledge, and reliability of your staff – it’s a package deal.

Make sure your clients are recognizing this by having an open and consistent channel of communication with them. Ask for feedback and implement any changes they need.

Another thing you should do is not overload them with technical jargon. Just because you understand it does not mean that they do, or even if they do, it doesn’t mean they want to hear it.

Posted by Adam Ipsen

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