We have all seen the “Gartner Hype Cycle” curve. It comes up in many discussions, most often about the adoption of new technologies. You can learn about the Gartner methodology here. But that curve shows up in many places, such as the “Competence Curve” for example and it also shows up in the MSP business.
Let’s have a look at how it appears in your relationship with your IT Services provider:
In our experience, when a client signs a contract with a new IT Services / MSP provider, they go through a series of stages of satisfaction.
Immediately after onboarding, the new provider will quickly address the “Obvious Pain Points” that the client brought up in the agreement negotiation stage. These are usually very specific and often discrete problems. Naturally, having those problems addressed brings a great deal of satisfaction.
Soon afterwards, as the new provider learns the customer and the environment, they will identify some obvious and “Easy Wins” that address performance or reliability. Once again, customer satisfaction increases, and everything seems to be going quite swimmingly.
However, soon the provider will start to implement best practices. First, will be procedures around support, change, provisioning and other aspects of the ITIL/ITSM methodology. Naturally, “New Processes” create friction as they are being implemented, and the dreaded “Why can’t we just do what we’ve been doing?” raises its head.
This is how we start the downward trend in satisfaction, it’s often accompanied by frustration with “Enhanced Security Measures” that come along with implementing best practices. As smooth and as easy as MFA (multi-factor authentication) can be made – it’s still more steps and thus more friction for the customer.
Finally, all these new technology and best practice processes require “Additional User Training”, yet another source of friction for the customer, regardless of how important and necessary it is. “I don’t have time for this! I have actual work to do!” is the refrain often heard.
But whereas the above challenges are understandable, the lowest point of customer satisfaction usually comes from the fact that nearly all customers will be facing some long-standing issue, that simply has no quick fix, and when that “Old Intractable” raises its head amid the above – the customer usually finds themselves questioning the relationship with their provider. Often, “Old Intractables” are issues related to custom software applications, or technology choices made in the past that are not able to be resolved by a single project, but instead require an ongoing effort and investment to transition.
This is the most crucial time for customers and providers. Lines of communication must be free and open to ensure that expectations are properly set and concerns communicated. It is crucial for the provider to show both the validity of the choices being made and the expected value these choices will deliver to the client. Ideally, metrics are being used, so the client has an objective understanding of the efforts being made.
If the above measures are in place, eventually there is movement on the “Old Intractables” perhaps through a “Hardware Refresh” or a technology migration and once again one should see an increase in customer satisfaction.
When at last, all of the efforts above begin to deliver and the client experiences “Successful Initiatives” that lead to growth of their business or an improvement to their operations – then we are well on the way to the plateau of “Comfortable Reliability” where both the client and the provider are finding the agreement to be mutually rewarding and hopefully cementing a long-standing relationship between the organizations. All relationships come with their ups and downs, and the relationship between clients and their MSPs is no different. If you understand the journey, keep the lines of communication open, and allow some patience into your client/provider relationship, you too can come out to the sunny “plateau of productivity”.
Incorporated in 2012, Genieall Corporation is a privately-owned Canadian IT Services and Consulting company. Being an ISO 27001 certified organization, Genieall provides managed and IT consulting services to companies in the Energy, Manufacturing, Construction, Health Care, and Finance verticals.
Genieall understands that IT infrastructure is fundamental to your business. For that reason, Genieall typically establishes trust with our clients by demonstrating our capabilities.
This is usually accomplished through a small engagement, urgent support requirement or consultation.
From there, our customers look to expand the support service to include both project and operational support using our Rightsourcing Model. (using the right balance of internal and external resources)
Throughout the process, Genieall’s culture of transparency, Customer-First approach along with our service model help us to establish and maintain trust.
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