The break-fix cycle in IT is harmful to your MSP business, your clients, and the industry as a whole. It is a bad habit that is hard to give up. For clients that are used to seeing invoices for fixing, receiving preventative service invoices is a challenging pill to swallow. After all, many of these business decision makers are used to living in an “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” world. You can make this transition easier with a few tips.
Educate Your Clients
It is important that your customers realize what you do. The wizardry of IT is typically unknown by the majority of your clients— this lack of understanding leads to fear and aversion to many IT service packages. You need to show them the value that proactive services give to their businesses.
On the other hand, the cost of the break-fix method needs to be clearly explained as well. There are more impacts to the bottom line than just a single invoice. Downtime, loss of efficiency, and other factors all impact a company when they are using a break-fix method to their IT infrastructure. Many people are ignorant to the big picture of IT services, and a little information goes a long way to convincing clients to avoid the break-fix mentality.
Avoid Long-Term Contracts
Long-term contracts are difficult for your customers to swallow at the best of times. When transitioning from a break-fix mentality, more hurdles must be overcome. Your clients need to see the value of your monthly services before signing up for a long-term contract. Month-to-month agreements are easier for them to understand, and it avoids the commitment fear that multi-year contracts can impose. Over time, as the value of your services become more obvious, your clients may be more willing to look at longer contract lengths than they are currently. In the meantime, you are slowly working to break one more customer from the break-fix theory that causes so much harm.
The sticker shock of your full proactive service package can be off putting for many of your prospective clients. To help move to more proactive services, start your clients off on small packages or individual services. The lower bill is easier to sell to decision makers, and lets you show the importance of preventative services within the IT realm. It is also easier to educate your clients on specific services, rather than your entire business model. Be sure to build on these small services by highlighting the money saved as when your services are used. As the transition away from break-fix occurs, clients are more likely to seek out further service offerings that your company provides.
Providing your clients with tiers of service helps move those companies to more preventative platforms. It allows customers to choose what level of proactive services suits their needs and balances it out with the right level of emergency repair services. These tiers also help shift some of the risks to your clients, if they are unwilling to partake in preventative measures.
For example, Gold Tier clients have the most preventative services. This level costs a great deal on a monthly invoice. However, your MSP business takes on more risks for downtime. In a contract, it would be represented by 24/7 support and greater uptime guarantees. Lower tiers are available at a lower cost, but the level of support for fixing issues would be held to a lower standard and potentially, at a greater hourly rate. With the lower tiers, the risk of an outage is shifted from you, the MSP, to the client.
Your MSP business is trying to make good decisions for you and your customers. A break-fix mentality doesn’t help anyone, but it is a challenging habit to break. By taking small steps and being transparent, you can help your customers get used to a preventative world.