In terms of client retention, your MSP company needs to have the best account managers. Following are several things you can use to help determine which account managers are best suited to the task:
• Knowledgeable qualities
• Relationship/Customer-centric focus
• Proper communication
• Results-oriented attitude
• Exercise of requisite business judgment
Your MSP company needs to have account managers who understand not just your aims as an MSP, but those of the clients whom you serve. Many MSPs make the mistake of having personnel in this arena who are definitely devoted to the company, but they can have that devotion at the expense of clients. A properly balanced account manager is going to understand the needs of your company and your clients.
The right account manager understands that customers are vital to operations. They will work with customers to find the right solution that is workable from their angle. That means the customer is happy, and the MSP for whom the account manager works is happy. If there are to be any concessions, it’s not untoward for an MSP to make them– though the right account manager also understands where to draw the line. After all, customers have a reputation for pushing as hard and as far as they can. The best way to keep them from overstepping their bounds is to set a limit beyond which no further negotiation can transgress and go into any negotiations with that limit in mind. Your account manager should understand such limits and be able to work within them.
Your account manager will have to communicate with a variety of individuals. They’ll have to communicate with clients, managers, tech professionals providing service and many others. You want good communicators in this position. It’s not one for the guy who knows computer systems backward but can’t hold a conversation to save his life. You need clear communicators for good account management.
It’s no good if your account manager can communicate with anybody and is wonderful at relating to the customer and understands the details of your business intimately but does not have an attitude aimed at getting results. Accounts should expand and be properly managed. If management difficulties internally are affecting the customer’s peace of mind, it’s the account manager’s job to get that fixed. On the other hand, if customers are costing more than they bring in, it may be within the account manager’s best interest to either work with sales to lose that account or work with sales to “upsell” that account. Different scenarios will be more or less appropriate, and the right account manager will have the mental acuity to parse between them. You might set up a hypothetical scenario during the interview process with an answer you’re working toward and see how prospective account managers do.
Exercise of Requisite Business Judgment
Sometimes, rudeness is the worst possible thing for an account manager to have. Sometimes, it’s not. Now, granted there will be an absolute minority of situations where being rude is an asset, but that’s where judgment comes in. Sometimes, a client is acting angry at something that they’ve got no cause to be angry about in order to broker some kind of deal or discount from the MSP in question. The right account manager will be wise enough to know when a client is blustering and when they’re serious. That’s just one scenario where judgment may be required. Additionally, equipment and service acquisition/deployment may be issues they have a say in, as well as other infrastructural matters that pertain to your company’s operation.
A Well-Oiled Business Machine
Your MSP company will go through varying periods of success. Initially, you, as a manager may have to double as an account manager, but as you grow, you’ll definitely be better suited hiring the right person. When you’ve got the right people in your company, it’s like having the right lubricant in your MSP machine, and everything proceeds forward more smoothly.