If you’ve ever gotten married or been in a serious relationship, you know it can be tough sometimes. It’s not always going to be sunshine and roses and you had some idea of that when you decided to go ahead and tie the knot. For us, relationships with our clients are a little like marriage. While they may not involve roses and romantic dinners, we treat all our clients like we’re in a long term committed relationship. Here are three ways that IT Managed Services Provider relationships are like marriage and why that’s a good thing.
You’re a little skeptical in the beginning.
You don’t just launch into a serious relationship with someone you just met, you have to vet them out, check out their reputation and get to know them first. We never expect any of our clients to just jump in a relationship with us without knowing a little bit about our history, how we operate, getting insight from our current clients and doing their diligence. Take some time to explore your prospective Managed Services Provider. Understand the vision they were formed under, their core values, their leadership philosophy and how they do business. Get references from current clients and take some time to explore how they’ve resolved issues with other clients in the past.
You make a commitment for the long term once you know its right.
Perfect matches are hard to come by. When you find an IT partner that really gets your business, has experience in your industry and is a leader in education and support, you have to latch onto them. Signing an annual Managed Services agreement with your MSP is about as serious as it gets in our industry. It means that for better or worse, they’ll be the ones taking care of your network, protecting your data, backing things up and supporting your users in addition to managing projects. This is important because making that commitment shows your IT provider that they can invest time in you. When MSPs go to onboard clients, there’s a lot of work that goes into that intial assessment and onboarding period. Knowing that you’re just as committed as they are is a good thing for both of you. The more you get on board with knowing they’re going to be your resource for better or worse, the more quickly you’ll be able to resolve problems…which brings me to our next point:
You give them the benefit of the doubt if things get challenging.
Things aren’t always going to be perfect. While the right IT partner will strive to make sure that you have 99% uptime and that your backups are performing perfectly, they can’t guarantee that nothing will ever happen. When and if something does happen, make sure that you’ve kept the lines of communication open throughout the relationship and don’t just threaten to bail the first time something goes wrong. While recurring issues in any relationship are red flags, don’t just start jumping ship the moment a project gets delayed or things get a little rocky from a resolution perspective. You deserve great support, but you’re also in a long term relationship and you have to trust that your MSP has your best interests in mind, no matter what happens. If you’re unhappy with any aspect of your technology, communicate just like you would in a relationship and work with your provider to get past the issue. Approaching problems in a constructive way helps them to resolved faster and avoids negative feelings lingering in the long term.
We’re not saying you have to marry your Managed Services Provider. But we will say that the majority of our clients that have been with us the longest are the happiest. Make a commitment to your IT provider that extends past projects and onboarding and the future of your technology will always be at the forefront. Assess pricing and technology concerns together in a way that is constructive for both parties so that everyone is happy in the long term.