By Captain's Chair
The value of a good MSP (Managed Service Provider) lies not only in the services and resources that are easily seen — a fast internet connection, quick responses when problems occur, etc. — but in all the proactive work done behind the scenes. The service ticket is the key to telling the MSP value story to the client. By sharing data about service tickets and other value-added services regularly — not just at quarterly meetings with a client executive — there’s an opportunity to change the typical dynamic between the MSP and the client.
Service tickets aren’t always readily appreciated by MSPs — much less their clients — due to the common perception that a ticket indicates a problem. And it’s true: service tickets are often logged when an MSP’s client discovers a problem and needs a solution.
However, service tickets can indicate not only reactionary solutions to problems as they occur, such as fixing a server that’s down or installing a new router when one malfunctions, but can show proactive value performed by the MSP that often goes unrecognized. In fact, leveraging service tickets for proactive items can help save a floundering client relationship — and help win new business as well.
The extra value many MSPs provide their clients — by proactively addressing problems in a way that helps avert future ones — must be conveyed to the client, not hidden.
Reframing The Value
These days, many MSPs may be seen as commodities at worst, or break/fix mechanics at best. Diligent logging of service tickets helps shift the conversation with clients to more strategic and holistic topics. Tickets created for proactive solutions — installing patches to keep hardware at current revision levels, creating a cloud backup solution, etc. — can be especially valuable.
That’s why creating a ticket for everything the MSP does for the client is so important. But just creating and servicing the ticket isn’t enough. It’s also important to share that information with the client in a way they can understand and access when ready. The Captain’s Chair dashboard allows MSPs to easily package all of that in an intuitive, nontechnical interface that’s available around the clock.
There’s also a numbers game to be played. For example, when an MSP is hired, there may be a surge of IT tickets as many problems are addressed. Over time, if the MSP is skillful and diligent, the number of break/fix service tickets may decrease. That’s a good thing!
But the client may not see it that way. Clients may see a decrease in service tickets as a sign of the MSP resting on its laurels — especially if the relationship has never moved beyond a commodity relationship that was secured by having the lowest price.
Creating a different narrative through the ticketing process can help clients move beyond that. A decrease in break/fix service tickets may well be the result of the MSP’s proactive work, and that’s a story that needs to be told. The payoff is in a stronger relationship with the client.
Interestingly, the paradigm shift an MSP may seek to initiate with clients — from commodity to strategic partner — likely requires a shift in thinking by the MSP first.
Some MSPs may believe that less contact with their clients and minimal exchange of information are best, feeling that a successful IT program speaks for itself. That’s been the model of many firms, especially MSPs who themselves are more focused on break/fix solutions than strategic thinking and market growth.
But waiting for the client to reach out to the MSP — which often means there’s a complaint — doesn’t engender success. Instead, it allows the client to create their own narrative of the relationship, which may not be accurate. More transparency, data, and communication by the MSP can bridge that gap.