Looking back can teach us a lot about our future. Just like many other MSPs, we have been on the journey of shifting from a value-added reseller to offering managed services. While we may be utilising different technologies now, we still have the same goal in mind: serving loyal customers. Crucially, we’re still very much dependent on their trust in us. At PCI Nederland, we now serve over 6,000 customers in The Netherlands with IT, document management, and print solutions.

How did we get there? When you look at SMBs and enterprises, there’s an increasing need for partners who can offer a one-stop-shop. However, it’s not just about delivering managed services on a monthly basis. It’s about knowing their business needs inside out, training their users, helping them to protect their data and network, and being able to suggest new innovative solutions that might help solve their problems or tighten their processes.

As the demand grows, MSPs around the world are adapting to meet these needs. I believe that the MSP of the future is a total service provider — able to help their customers with any IT issue, which is why we’ve transformed to become a total service provider ourselves.

However, you can’t simply snap your fingers and transform. It’s a gradual process that takes time to build up an army of loyal customers.

A few tips from our journey

    1. Don’t be transactional

It can be easy to fall into the trap of not building a relationship with your customers or being seen primarily as a ‘supplier.’ However, the supplier relationship is not one that is going to grow your business.

You need to invest in getting to know your customer and becoming more of a respected partner. This not only helps you, but also helps them to secure their business processes. The rest will follow.

    1. Invest in security and compliance knowledge

With more than half of all businesses and charities missing basic technical cyber security skills in their business (jumping from 42 percent to 53 percent in only four short years), attackers are infiltrating the threat-scape and putting customers at an increasing risk, according to the NCSS.

As the cyber skills shortage grows, make sure you stand out from the crowd by addressing the main concerns of your customers. Whether this is data governance or managing multiple sites with good visibility over their systems, you need to be on top of recent threats in the landscape to offer guidance on how to mitigate new attacks to give your customer peace of mind.

    1. Drink your own champagne

Sometimes you have to start using new technology yourself to successfully sell it. Practice what you preach and be the ultimate guinea pig for the services you sell. People will respond to your experience and confidence, but only if you know what you are talking about.

    1. Don’t forget the aspect of guidance when it comes to adoption

Wherever there is change, there will be resistance in some form. Nowhere is this more true than in the world of IT.

Some customers will be ready to move to the latest, cutting-edge technology right off the bat. Others will need far more coaching and guiding on the journey. No two customers are the same, so it’s crucial that you alter your approach to fit in with each customer’s needs and concerns.

    1. Keep in close contact with your key vendors

Since people do business with other people, the personal aspect is even more important in the as-a-service world. If you have a solid, nurtured relationship with your vendors, then they’ll be more likely to help you help your customers.

By following the steps above, you will hopefully encourage a trusting and more partnership-oriented relationship with both current and new customers. In this era of skills shortages and an epidemic of cybercrime, organisations are increasingly looking to outsource their IT and cybersecurity services. In following the steps above, you can ensure you make the most of this huge opportunity.

Photo: WHYFRAME / Shutterstock

Daan Verheij

Posted by Daan Verheij

Daan Verheij is IT product manager at PCI Nederland. Based in the Netherlands, Daan has over 20 years’ experience in the IT industry, and has worked at MSPs since 2010.

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