Stay In Front of Your Customers

If you take managed services to the extreme, you can wind up locked away in your data center -- remotely managing and monitoring customer networks without ever seeing the light of day. Fact is, customers still want to see you from time to time. And without quality face time, you risk losing your business relationships. That's why some VARs are now building face-to-face meetings into their monthly managed service fees.

One prime example: Ed McHugh, president and CEO of MIS Alliance in Newton, Ma., includes one customer visit per month in his service contracts. Smart move. This approach forces McHugh into a rhythm. Customers feel like they're gaining regular strategic guidance from McHugh, and he can use the meetings to uncover up-sell opportunities or trends across his customer base.

We've all got packed calendars these days. But if you include one customer meeting per month as part of your service level agreement, it will force you to stay in front of your customer -- and potentially keep the competition out of your accounts.

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