Why clients fire MSPs

| By:
Brad Schow

At the beginning of any relationship, you never anticipate that it will eventually end. You hope it will prosper. You’ll build each other up and plan to grow together. Established managed service providers (MSPs) have experienced these types of relationships. But they’ve also likely answered that fateful call from a client who wants to end the partnership. 

In any business, clients come and go, and while there are reasons that are out of your control, there are a few ways you can avoid the missteps that lead to a breakup. Read on to learn the main reasons MSPs get fired and how you can deliver what your clients want for a happy, lasting future with you.  

Mismanaged expectations 

A lot of times, customers become dissatisfied with their MSP because the reality of the partnership didn’t meet the expectations they’ve built during the sales process. When you’re pitching to a prospect, you’re essentially telling them what it’s like to partner with your MSP. You’re setting the standard for what they should expect. Because of this, everything said to close that sale must be genuine—this isn’t the time to exaggerate your expertise, capabilities, or service delivery.  

Breached SLAs 

Your service-level agreements (SLAs) are written promises to your customers, but they can also be challenging to track and keep up with across your entire customer base. Because of this, breached SLAs—or broken promises—can push your MSP onto the chopping block. Maintaining well-documented terms that identify expectations, clarify responsibilities, and facilitate communication regarding covered devices, service hours, response times, and more will keep everyone involved accountable.  

Poor customer service  

Your customers count on you; it’s as simple as that. They’ve put their trust in you to protect their business and make it more efficient. When they need you, they expect you to answer the call. And if you don’t, they’ll likely look for someone else who will. Your exceptional customer service begins and ends with your help desk. Your customers expect fast response and a quicker resolution to their issue. You need complete support clarity to keep your techs engaged, dispatch the right people to the right projects, and ensure no ticket goes unnoticed. 

Too many tools to maintain and track  

As an MSP, your customers often view you as their do-it-all resource for their technology needsYet many times, they have the wrong expectations about their cybersecurity coverage and what’s actually protected.  

Yet many times, they have the wrong expectations, especially around cybersecurity coverage and what's actually protected. Many clients assume cybersecurity coverage is baked into their contract. Without having the right conversations, it's hard to manage these expectations. MSPs need to practice transparency and also keep their tech stack up to date, which helps to keep tabs on everything and prove your value to your customers.  

When there are too many tools to track and maintain, there’s less time to really dive into the metrics to provide transparent reporting to your customers and ensure you’re meeting all of their needs.  

Not all customers are profitable 

Here’s something to consider: is losing customer that bad? The reality is, not all customers are profitable, and some level of churn is healthy and expected in any business. As a managed service provider, it’s important to recognize which customers are profitable and how customers with more problems and no margin benefits impact your service.  

Think about it this way, what does losing one bad customer do to your ability to bring on better ones, or how will it impact how you can support existing customers. You might be able to spend more time providing better customer service, or you can bring in more revenue by filling that space with a new opportunity. Your best customers are the ones who make it easy to anticipate what they need, have a good effective rate, pay on time, and don’t hurt your team’s morale. You want more of these types of customers, and to get there, sometimes you have to be okay with letting go of those relationships that didn’t quite fit.  

Maintaining MSP client retention  

There are many reasons customers can become dissatisfied, but there are fewer reasons that customers are pleased, let alone are raving fans. Maintaining MSP client retention is easier said than done, but there are a few steps you can take to make sure you’re on the right track.  

Communicate often 

For starters, communication is crucial in any relationship, and it definitely applies here. Set those expectations from day one and include how you plan to continue to connect in the future. This goes beyond the back-and-forth of resolving an IT issue and opens the lines of communication on both ends to discuss challenges, opportunities, and wins.  

Standardize processes 

While no two customers are exactly the same, you can still standardize processes to make the customer journey a smooth ride. Take the time to look at your service delivery, figure out what’s working, what you can automate, and how you can align your business management tasks to better control operations. 

Get the right tech stack  

From getting your operations in order with a PSA tool, to keeping up with customer demands, and delivering unmatched service delivery, your technology stack is what keeps you and your customers running like a well-oiled machine.  

Align expectations with reality 

Remind your customers what they’ve signed up for to help them properly managed their expectations. It’s a good idea to periodically remind your customers what’s covered in their plan and what’s not. The best thing you can do is have those conversations and clear up and misconceptions before they become deal-breakers.  

Be consistent 

Finally, stick to being consistent. Your customers don’t want to second guess how their relationship with you will be from one day to the next. Stay consistent as much as possible, including on how you deliver reports, answer tickets, communicate updates, and more.  

The ConnectWise Fusion platform was designed to help technology professionals address every client's needs in an integrated, efficient way that really highlights the value you provide. Plus, when you’re able to eliminate disjointed components that drive inefficiency, you have more time to continue to build on your relationship with your customers. Those customers who value what you do are your A+ customers and will be around for the long-haul.