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Throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic, IT solution providers and managed service providers (MSPs) became essential workers in keeping the small businesses of the world running.

In March 2020, service desks found themselves inundated with clients wanting to work from home. Working tirelessly, MSPs helped their clients work remotely, and keep their businesses going.

Fast-forward to today, and MSPs are facing a new set of challenges – and opportunities – in the modern world of working from home. So, how can MSPs adapt to this “new normal”?

The great working from home rush

Back in March, clients were extremely grateful to MSPs for helping them work from home. Many MSPs achieved this feat despite being faced with outdated home PCs, a global laptop shortage, and some very challenging security scenarios. One MSP told me that they’d had some clients asking them to connect a Windows 98 PC, for instance (they talked the client out of it!).

Despite all this, clients were thankful. MSPs helped them to achieve a “good enough” set up for work from home. However, what was “good enough” in March is increasingly causing frustration and irritation now.

Many clients don’t have a home office setup that is conducive to daily productivity. I’m hearing from friends and family members who are working from home (WFH) that they are:

    • Tired of slow and unreliable broadband speeds;
    • Have slow and outdated laptops and PCs; and
    • Have uncomfortable desks and chairs!

Make no mistake that this is an opportunity for MSPs!

Offering home working options

Could your MSP business offer your clients options for improving their work-from-home setup?

As one of my favourite bloggers, Nicholas Bate, recently wrote in his article Basics 7: The New Permanent Home Office, “At first it seemed temporary and fun. Now it’s clear it’s serious and long-term.”

I’ve already heard from some MSPs who are offering their clients “Homeworker in a Box” solutions that include:

    • A business-grade laptop
    • A high-definition webcam
    • The option of business-grade broadband and an upgraded router

I also see some MSPs building strategic partnerships (I’ve previously written about why your MSP should build strategic alliances) with office furniture companies. These companies can provide the MSP’s clients with options for new home office desks and ergonomic chairs.

Increase revenue and reduce support costs

Client’s aren’t the only people who are becoming frustrated with substandard working from home environments.

If your service desk staff are becoming irritated with trying to get outdated, consumer-grade technology to work in a business environment, then I can tell you that you’re not alone. For the sake of your engineers’ sanity, you need to be offering clients some better options for supporting their work-from-home environments.

The interesting thing about offering your clients these options is that they will not only increase your revenue, but they will reduce your cost of support! If your clients are using business grade hardware and broadband, then you’ll receive fewer service desk calls. Better equipment = Happier clients = Reduced service desk calls.

The new normal for business

While some MSPs may be asked for these options by their clients, others will be blissfully unaware that their clients are frustrated with their work-from-home setup. Some business owners and employees will cling to the belief that the COVID-19 pandemic will soon blow over and they’ll return to the office as before. And that’s fine, but the onus is on the MSP to give their clients options.

Offering your clients a choice to improve their work-from-home environment means enabling those clients who are frustrated with their current situation to upgrade. It’s also important to be aware that if you don’t offer these options, then your competitors will. Clients can and will move providers, global pandemic or not!

WFH advice for MSPs

During the great “Working From Home” rush of March 2020, MSPs worked admirably to keep their client’s businesses running. Clients were grateful for and accepted compromises because they needed to get their businesses up and running from home quickly. But today, those compromises are causing irritation and frustration.

Make sure that your MSP offers clients options to improve their work-from-home setup, because while not every client is ready to accept the “new normal” of remote work, many want to improve their home office setup.

Photo: Odua Images / Shutterstock

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Richard Tubb

Posted by Richard Tubb

Richard Tubb is a blogger, speaker, and author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the Northeast of England. He provides expert advice to help MSPs grow their IT business, and he has helped the owners of hundreds of MSPs to free up their time, concentrate on doing what is important, and make more money.

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