Satisfying the needs of line employees and managers doesn’t necessarily mean the decision-makers know you’re doing a good job.

Aldrin Brown, Editor-in-Chief

April 22, 2016

3 Min Read
Are Customers Happy With Your Service It Depends Who You Ask
Managed service providers must avoid a disparity between the views of line employees the decision makers who renew contracts.

Are your customers happy with your service? The answer might surprise you.

According to some MSPs, there is a disconnect between the level of satisfaction they provide to the business owners they sell to, and the rank and file employees who put your technology services to work.

This disparity may not be as apparent as it should be – until it’s time for your customer to renew its contract.

“I believe that customer loyalty really sits with the C-suite,” said Lyf Wildenberg, CEO and President of Mytech Partners, and MSP in Minneapolis, Minn. “They’re the ones who decide every year whether to renew our contract.”

Customers without in-house IT departments can mean there are multiple points of contact for the MSP and often multiple distinct relationships.

In some cases, an MSP can come up short in executing on every tactical aspect of its service delivery, but do an effective job of meeting the needs of the decision-makers.

That strong relationship – whether influenced by contract cost or by providing sound counsel – could be all an MSP needs to secure the next agreement.

But the converse case can be much more challenging to navigate.

“We have three or four points of connectivity with an organization,” Wildenberg explained. “We’re doing planning sessions, we may have our project team do an infrastructure upgrade, we have a help desk fielding calls every day.

“And the users could say, boy you guys are doing a great job, but that never bubbles up to the C-suite.”

Many times, the C-suite only hears when there’s a problem, and often, that message is delivered a line of business manager who dissatisfied with some aspect of an MSPs service delivery.

“It’s urgent to them but it’s not urgent to the business and that then frames the whole concept for the relationship,” Wildenberg said.

Gina Murphy, executive vice president at TriCore Solutions, suggests in a guest blog that the quarterly business review (QBR) is of critical importance to ensuring decision-makers understand your contribution.

“QBRs help showcase the value you bring to the customer and will also continue to solidify your role as a trusted advisor,” she wrote. “The more value you demonstrate, the more strategic you become to your client.”

Much of the QBRs is allotted to looking forward at the customer’s goals and how the MSP will help achieve them, but a significant part of the process should involve an examination of past performance.

“(It) typically includes information on what happened in the last quarter, where were the successes and issues, what were the remedies and how did your IT solutions perform,” Murphy wrote in her blog.

A white paper from N’able by SolarWinds suggests MSPs should produce professional, standardized reports with visual, dashboard-style graphics that help decision-makers to quickly view critical information about the relationship.

In a monthly or bi-monthly “health review,” MSPs can summarize key activities, insights and information like:

  • The following backups were completed…

  • Here are the patches we applied this month…

  • These tickets were closed…

  • Here is the status of your servers…

  • This breakdown of current disk usage reveals…

  • Our technicians completed the following tasks… 

N-able recommends using a standardized automated report solution to minimize the time and resources necessary to produce those reports.

“The net result to the customer is that they see exactly what IT services are being provided on an ongoing, month-to-month basis,” the white paper said.

At Mytech Partners, Wildenberg employs a customer service measurement system that queries employees with a single, quick satisfaction question at the conclusion of each work order.

With satisfaction running at upwards of 96 percent, Wildenberg generates a report with all of the responses and presents it to decision-makers as part of their quarterly business reviews.

“Most people in the C-suite, they’re not in the system like their users are,” Wildenberg said. “It’s really two totally different relationships with the client.”


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About the Author(s)

Aldrin Brown

Editor-in-Chief, Penton

Veteran journalist Aldrin Brown comes to Penton Technology from Empire Digital Strategies, a business-to-business consulting firm that he founded that provides e-commerce, content and social media solutions to businesses, nonprofits and other organizations seeking to create or grow their digital presence.

Previously, Brown served as the Desert Bureau Chief for City News Service in Southern California and Regional Editor for Patch, AOL's network of local news sites. At Patch, he managed a staff of journalists and more than 30 hyper-local and business news and information websites throughout California. In addition to his work in technology and business, Brown was the city editor for The Sun, a daily newspaper based in San Bernardino, CA; the college sports editor at The Tennessean, Nashville, TN; and an investigative reporter at the Orange County Register, Santa Ana, CA.


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