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Ask an MSP ExpertQ: My MSP business is growing, and we’ve been signing on more small business customers, which is great. My technicians are always busy managing customers’ day-to-day needs, and they don’t really have time to build relationships with the different customers. I know there’s more we can be doing to support our current customers, and I want to give them the attention they deserve. At a recent tradeshow, I learned about customer success organizations and how they’re dedicated to helping customers get more out of the engagement. As an MSP, how do I go about establishing a group like this for my business?

We’re always excited to hear from managed service providers that are growing their business. At Intronis, they see the value in dedicating time, people, and resources to help customers be successful. In fact, they just celebrated the two-year anniversary of their Partner Success organization. It’s even one of Intronis’ core values, “Be successful by making our partners successful.”

customer_success_imageHaving dedicated account managers will provide your customers with the attention and resources they need to solve problems, and developing closer relationships with each customer will also uncover opportunities to upsell them on more of the managed services you offer.

We talked with Abbey Greene, one of the partner success managers  at Intronis, to find out how some of the Intronis Partners structure their customer success teams and to learn what she thinks is necessary to create a successful team. Here’s Abbey’s advice for getting started.

Dedicate a resource

When I talk with Intronis Partners in our quarterly planning meetings, they ask me what I think they should be doing to grow their business. For most of the Partners I advise, their business consists of the business owner, a senior technician, two to three more technicians, and sometimes a sales person. Based on the structure of their business and the number of small business customers they’re supporting, I often suggest hiring a dedicated customer success manager. Essentially, this person would do what I do: Support customers in any and every way.

They would reach out to customers for check-in calls, have quarterly planning meetings with each customer, and be the point of contact when any issue arises. Having this person to communicate changes, resolve issues, and answer questions will also free up time for your technicians so that they won’t feel as overwhelmed.

When I make this suggestion to our Partners, they usually respond by saying they’re going to allocate the funds in their next budgeting process or introduce the idea to the business owner. I’ve heard great feedback from Intronis Partners that already have someone in this role about how it’s improved and even grown their business.

Plan safari trips

Once you have hired a dedicated customer success manager, they should reach out to each customer for an introductory call. I recommend having a technician familiar with the account on the call to get an initial understanding of their needs. Have the person ask about what they think is going well and what could be improved. Be sure they end the call by letting the customer know your business is there to support their needs in any way.

After your success manager has gotten familiar with each customer, choose a few to visit on-site at their place of business. Setting up these in-person meetings will give this person an even better understanding of their needs. If possible, have them bring a technician along to perform a risk assessment on their systems. When they’re visiting, be sure to have them ask questions to find out more about how their business runs. Doing this will reveal opportunities to upsell them on other services or find the right solutions to address their pain points. If there’s something specific they’re looking for, the customer success manager  can be an advocate for them once you return to your office.

Run campaigns

Running campaigns like this keeps the lines of communication open and will introduce opportunities to upsell the customer on other services. More importantly, these campaigns remind your customer that you are doing everything you can to better understand their business, service their needs, and help them to be successful.

When I’m talking to our MSP Partners, they often ask, “How can Intronis help me grow my business?” I’m always respond by sharing the Marketing Campaigns section of Intronis Essentials, which includes re-brandable sales presentations, email campaigns, and educational content for Partners to use in their sales and marketing efforts. If you’re not an Intronis Partner, I recommend creating campaigns, such as a monthly email newsletter for your customers that  provides the latest news in their industry, educational content like cybersecurity tips, and other related information.

Running campaigns like this keeps the lines of communication open and will introduce opportunities to upsell the customer on other services. More importantly, these campaigns remind your customer that you are doing everything you can to better understand their business, service their needs, and help them to be successful.

If you use Abbeys advice, you’ll be on your way to establishing a solid customer success organization. Remember to start small, introduce one dedicated resource, and from there, learn what works best for your customers.

If you find that you need additional help, you can grow your customer success organization to include more account managers. For your larger customers, you can assign more than one person as their representative to make sure there’s always someone available to help them. As you continue to grow your MSP business, plan ahead and budget accordingly so that your customer success organization can scale with your company.

However you chose to get started, remember that the purpose of a customer success organization is to work with your customers to help them be successful.

Ask an MSP Expert is a weekly advice column answering common questions from MSPs and IT service providers. It covers topics ranging from pricing and selling to marketing and communications—and everything in between.

Photo Credit: Dave Gray on Flickr. Used under CC 2.0 license. 

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Courtney Steinkrauss

Posted by Courtney Steinkrauss

Courtney is an Editorial Associate at Intronis. In her role, she assists in creating and publishing content that helps IT service providers grow their businesses.

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