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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Providing Support Services For The SMB

It’s undeniable that every business needs the support of an IT service no matter how big or small their company is. It is the size of their business as well as the industry that they are in that determines the level of IT support they not only need, but also can afford. As a Managed Service Provider (MSP), by providing affordable coverage and support for small and medium businesses (SMB’s), you can create a peace of mind for your clients. If you have any SMB’s for clients, be sure to provide a customized service plan that will provide them with responsive, proactive services and products that will keep their business running smoothly.

As a MSP, you have a lot to offer SMB’s. You are responsible for keeping their employees connected (both onsite and off), you can help them consolidate business when it comes to phone and data usage and costs, and offer protection against information theft, which is a major concern with businesses. MSP’s are essential to small-and-medium sized businesses because MSP’s are the ones who purchase and maintain equipment so that clients don’t have to worry about it. As a result, this helps businesses avoid any upfront costs in maintaining and buying equipment like servers, they don’t have an immediate need for their own full-time IT staff, technology risks are not as big of a concern, and they can expect a more reliable service at a more predictable cost, which means that their money can be funneled into business projects instead.

As a small-or medium-business, growth can be slow or it is a decision to remain small. A small business allows for internal employees (if businesses even have the staffing to do so) to do most of the work, but that isn’t always the most efficient or profitable for the company. Businesses want to be careful about overloading their internal IT staff and when businesses grow, a company’s IT needs sometimes exceeds what the business can handle.

When providing support for SMB’s, there are different things to take into consideration in order to determine what type of services to offer them. Determine the type of business your clients run, where they are located, and the number of employees they have. Once you have determined that, look at their technology. How many computers do they have and what programs are they running? Will they also need support for fax and copy machines?

Next, you need to gain an understanding for why those businesses have a need for a MSP and other ways that you can provide support for them that they might not realize. Some SMB’s already have a small IT department and need them to handle the more important business issues while having someone else free them from the lower task issues such as login help that a MSP can handle. Or maybe they have a need for a MSP because they don’t have any IT personnel at all.

From here, you can work with SMB’s to determine who their current providers are, the amount of onsite services they have versus remote services, determine the amount of satisfaction they currently experience with their technology environment, etc. SMB’s might need help with deploying servers or troubleshoot server problems and other technology and programs. It’s important for SMB’s to remain productive and not lose time and employees to have to recover these issues.

Depending on who your clients are, consider offering services such as unlimited phone and online chat support. You never want your clients to feel like they can’t get help when they need it. Provide next business day repairs or replacements when necessary. Downtime can hurt your clients, and the longer they are without working technology, the more their business is hurting. Offer advanced configuration and deployment support when it comes to major projects. See what type of remote and onsite services they will need. 

Give clients regular assessments so that you both know where you need to make changes in order to keep providing for efficient running of programs and systems.  SMB’s can greatly benefit from the IT services that MSP’s can offer. It takes a lot of the worry out of their hands so they can focus more on business initiatives while still being able to get top-of-the-line support.
Josh Campbell wrote this article on behalf of GMS Live Expert.

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