Rain Makers, The Forecast

Having Great Clients Today Does Not Guarantee You Will Have Them Tomorrow!

Remember that your competition wants your clients, and wants them bad. You should also assume that they can do it cheaper. They are inundating the airwaves, print, and online media with marketing hype in order to take your clients away from you. “They” could be another MSP, or a big-name vendor, or even an ISP or broadband carrier. Or all of them. At once.

Your customers continually evaluate the benefits they get from you, relative to what they feel they may get from your competition.  They may or may not decide to stay with you if you leave the decision up to them. 

You can, however, give them reasons to feel loyal and stay with your services, assuming that you’ve got the basics covered (like meeting SLAs reliably, etc.)  Here are just a few: 

1) Don’t be a vendor.

Vendors have customers. Trusted Advisors have clients. You should have clients, not customers. Vendors get shopped, often monthly. Trusted Advisors will rarely to never get shopped on price because the value that they provide can’t easily be replicated anywhere else.

2) Never let them ask “What have you done for me lately?”

Say please and thank you, a lot. In lots of different ways. If you stop appreciating and fighting for your clients’ loyalty, you will lose it. Remember to appreciate them, regularly and actively.

For example, ATT just recently upgraded my service plan without increasing my monthly rates, as a thank you for being a loyal client for way the heck too many years. It’s an example of something I never would have thought to ask for, but that when it was given to me, it felt something like a gift. And it made me feel more satisfied with and loyal as a direct result. 

3) Stay visible.

Allow a customer to forget about all the hard work and value you provide to them for your monthly fees, and they will stop paying you and find another provider. This axiom has held true since the before the days of the Managed Services business model.

When you are doing your proactive, preventive services and support effectively, the client won’t need to call you with problems very often. It can become easy over time for “out of sight, out of mind” to take over, and if it does, well, you’re opening the door for a competitor to come in and take over.

Don’t forget about those Quarterly Business Reviews.  Stay in touch with client decision makers. And about the service delivery process – make sure the client can see enough of the background maintenance that you do to understand what they’re paying for. 

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