As some of you may know, to fight the isolation and uncertainty brought on by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, we've initiated something we're referring to as "Office Hours" on the Webroot Community. It's meant to be a thread where people can come together and pose their COVID/cybersecurity-related questions to some of our experts, and we try to help however we can.
The response has been nothing short of amazing. The thoughtfulness and engagement of our users is a great reminder of why we began this Community in the first place. In fact, some of the questions we've received are so excellent, I thought they bear repeating and their answers a little further development.
I'll begin with this one:
How can MSPs help their clients bounce back from these challenging times? - David H.
It's a great question for at least a couple reasons. To start, exceptional customer service is a great way for MSPs to stand out in an industry with typically tight margins. The second reason is even more practical. If an MSP's clients tank, they will longer be around to need the MSPs services. Put another way, an MSP client's success is an MSPs success.
It’s important to remember that there’s no stock solution for bouncing back as a business. Every client is unique and are the pressures applied by the coronavirus. But here are some generic tips for being your client's go-to adviser for coming back from COVID stronger.
- Set-up a virtual meeting to discuss with them what their situation really is. This should be a (perhaps painfully) honest conversation about the state of the business and what obstacles stand on the way of then getting back to “business as usual.”
- Devise an agenda based on the services you provide today and the associated costs. Based on the client's challenges (or lack thereof) what is affordable what can maybe be minimized? Has the business direction changed at all? Many SMBs may be looking to pivot considering COVID-19.
- Aim to be flexible (while remaining profitable) and willing to accommodate the period between their business restarting and establishing a new normal. Ask yourself if taking a slight hit in monthly income or margins is an acceptable sacrifice to make in order to help keep a potentially long-term client afloat.
- Next, work with a client to draw up a joint "Recovery Plan" with a timeline for scaling back up work and how you can specifically assist with recovery. This may involve stressing the costliness of a data breach, downtime, and other ways your services help the clients bottom line.
- Finally, schedule regular client account reviews (hopefully, you already have some version of these in place) to monitor technology-related pain points and assist with addressing them as reasonably as possible.
Economic recovery for small businesses will undoubtedly entail some tough decisions. But doing everything you can as an SMB to assist with that recovery by establishing a plan will lead to a stronger business in the long run. Not to mention establishing you as a trusted, reasonable business advisor for the life of the relationship. So take advantage of the opportunity.