One of the major issues that we have found IT MSP’s have encountered during their transition to larger clients is how to keep those clients that were with them from their beginning. Those clients that started out as break and fix with 5 computers or less and no servers that got the owner or lead tech at their beck and call for any of their tech needs. This would be unsustainable for the IT MSP to continue to provide that level of service as they onboard larger clients and work out their structures to provide support for those new clients.
There are different approaches to this but I will outline a few that I have found to work the best. I do not believe from my experiences that the IT MSP should raise the price whether that is billed hourly or service based monthly price simply to create a higher price point where those smaller clients will have to look for alternatives. Referrals and word of mouth are very important to any IT MSP especially those that are localized to a specific county or town.
How can we keep them?
I have found that a simple sit-down with the owners of these smaller clients and defining expectations without any price changes have worked for many IT MSP’s. Most small business owners like to be kept in the loop by being informed of new developments face to face. Sitting down with the business owner and defining expectations of response time for user issues will be the best approach. Explaining to them that emergencies will still be treated with importance but the user or Technical Support Services issues will be dealt with based on a defined response time.
Offer them a realistic onsite response time with an option to improve that response time if they agree to be billed 2-3 hours of onsite time reoccurring month, for instance, depending on their size to be used for emergencies. LeftI believes that these conversations can create an opportunity rather than a hurdle in the IT MSP’s growth. It allows you to have those pricing discussions that you are now able to have with smaller clients now that you are growing and your revenue stream has improved. Most of these clients would have probably been with the IT MSP for a significant number of years and developed a relationship that is also somewhat personal and would not want to find another IT Company someone else. They are also your client because of the initial cost of the service you were providing to them. It is better to think that they will appreciate the years of service and low price they were receiving than to think they will just find another IT Provider.
CONSIDER THE NICHE:
Many instances you will find that a particular type of client will generally only have an IT infrastructure of a certain size. If you find that you can bundle in a few extra onsite hours a month and some additional monitoring features to their monthly cost and this will reduce the noise of their IT infrastructure issues significantly thus allowing you to not hear from them as much as you normally would with tech tickets monthly then it is certainly worth pitching them that option. Include any little projects you believe will help create a stable as possible environment on their end and this should further reduce noise. MyIslandWorker has found that IT MSP’s that keep these niches such as Home offices Accountants and Family run Dental Offices happy and part of the client pool generally leads to increasing in referrals and pays back dividend in the long run.
IF THEIR NO OTHER OPTION:
If you find that there is nothing that can be worked out then try your best to transition them to another IT Service provider that is growing also. This can be used to build relationships between your IT MSP and another startup out there and can lead to collaborations. Find an IT Provider that caters to these smaller clients and ensure they are genuine and technical savvy before passing on any of your small clients to them.