Delivering managed services is all about being proactive about monitoring the IT environments of a variety of customers. If you’re a VAR, once you’ve installed technology, you are on to the next sale and implementation. “The VAR business model is all about selling,” said John Marshall of Quest-Logix, a Houston-based MSP and Datto partner. “MSPs have to be about customer service. If you want to be successful as an MSP, shower your customers with service.”
“We like to help people. It’s not just about making money.” Murphy said. “So, helping customers became the focus of our business.” That mindset is essential to make it in the MSP game. Successful MSPs know that it’s not just about technology, you need to build trust with your customers. Offering customers impartial advice about technology is a great way to do so. Obviously, you need to generate revenue and make profits, but it’s more important to recommend technology that helps them succeed. “With managed services, you can build long lasting business relationships,” said Marshall.
For many VARs, this customer-service focus is a challenge that requires considerable employee training. It may even require hiring new service-minded employees. Delivering ongoing, consistent customer service may not come naturally to the typical engineers that work in the VAR world. Many fall into the trap of providing excellent service to new customers, while neglecting older ones.
To overcome these issues, many VARs make a slow, gradual transition into the managed service space. According to Murphy, Results Technology’s transition to an MSP shop didn’t happen overnight. “It definitely took a while,” said Murphy. This “easy does it” approach allows your staff to adjust to the realities of delivering managed services. It allows VARs to start acquiring new managed services customers while continuing their legacy business as well. Or, they might convert some existing break-fix type customers to managed services while keeping some VAR customers.