dentist_goodie_bagI sometimes wonder whether IT service providers feel like dentists.

Think about it. We all know it’s the right thing to do, but none of us really looks forward to going to the dentist. In the same vein, I can imagine the anxiety a small business owner might feel seeing his or her MSP’s number on caller ID. Yet given your commitment to protecting your clients’ IT applications and digital assets, this is totally unfair to you and to them. Like the dentist, you are providing an essential benefit, making sure your clients enjoy a clean bill of health.

Still, those old associations never go away, do they? That’s why you can always count on getting that little goodie bag — you know, the one with the floss, trial-sized toothpaste, mouthwash, and toothbrush engraved with your dentist’s name — at the end of each visit. What if you had a similar goodie-bag offering you could use to sweeten your client conversations?

As it happens, this was a key design goal behind Intronis’ automated Executive Summary reporting capability, released to all of our partners in August. Through our close collaboration with our partners, it became clear to us that few small business managers think about their MSPs…that is, until problems arise. By launching the ability to create an eye-catching status report for each of your Intronis backup and recovery customers on a regular basis, we hope to give you the equivalent of your dentist’s goodie bag.

But the value of our Executive Summary report only begins there. Here are three ways to tap into this data to keep the value of your services at the top of your customers’ minds.

1. Monthly BCDR status report

The most obvious way to leverage the Executive Summary reporting capability is to include it with each monthly invoice. For clients who pay by automatic bank drafts, you can email the Executive Summary report as part of a monthly newsletter.

One benefit of doing this is that it helps you remove any association your clients might have between hearing from you and IT problem scenarios. Each contact you make using this good news vehicle serves as a declaration that your customer’s operations are in good working order and as a reminder of the value of the services you’re providing.

Of course, this approach only works for your customers whose statistics actually demonstrate high success rates. But for these customers, don’t pass up the opportunity to share a broader set of related statistics, such as the total backups and restores, quantity of data saved, and number of items restored during the reporting period. These details will go a long way to instill confidence.

ptnrquote_execsum2-12. Problem resolution aid

Obviously, this good news approach won’t work for customers with troublesome backup stats. Fortunately, there are ways to leverage the Executive Summary report to keep customers in this camp happy, too. For example, the report provides informative and objective context for your trouble calls. For some service providers, this could mean sending customers the report by email in advance of getting them on the telephone. Others might prefer to use the Executive Summary report as a follow-up after an initial notification call.

However you choose to send them, the Executive Summary report effectively becomes a “conversation piece” that you and your customers can both focus on while discussing the problems at hand. For many problems – a failed backup, say – the report will convey the problem as a mere blot on an otherwise pristine bill of health. But even where problems are more pervasive, the Executive Summary report can help ease anxieties by quantifying the issues and providing an operational bird’s eye view. You and your customer can reference this report while mapping out a course of action.

Whatever the situation, working with the Executive Summary report offers a vast improvement over attempts to explain BCDR problems and their likely causes verbally, whether in face-to-face conversations or over the phone.

3. Renewal time account review

A third use for the Executive Summary report is to present it to customers at contract renewal time. Granted, most BCDR subscriptions are written to renew automatically, but that’s the point. As with the monthly status reports, these annual recaps remind your customers of the value of your services. But the end of the subscription period is a great time to do a more deliberate review of BCDR operations and to make sure all of your customer’s vital applications and data are receiving the protection they need.

The new Executive Summary report gives you an invaluable tool for reminding your customers how valuable your services are, facilitating difficult conversations, and establishing your expertise and authority as a business partner. It was designed to enable you and your technicians to create and customize reports with point-and-click simplicity, to imprint these assets with your branding elements, and to send them automatically by email.

Best of all, you can easily customize the time frame for each Executive Summary report, tailoring them on the fly for daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and ad hoc use. And why not? There’s no bad time to offer your Intronis clients a goodie bag.

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Photo Credit: Corey Taratuta on Flickr. Used under CC by 2.0 license. 

Achmad Chadran

Posted by Achmad Chadran

Achmad Chadran is senior product marketing manager at Intronis, a Boston-based provider of world-class backup and data protection solutions for the IT channel. His experience includes product management, solutions marketing and analyst roles at a variety of high-tech companies and industry analyst firms.

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