What blend are you (MSP)

In the professional services arena, there is typically three types of service industries: innovation, experience and processes. There are some industries, such as your oral hygienist, which you’re primarily looking for someone who knows the process well and can repeat it forwards and backwards. Yet you want them up to date on all the latest trends and skill sets, but you’re not really looking for anything special in this individual that you aren’t already expecting from the next professional.

The other group, experience, is called by some the gray haired group – these are people who have a lot of experience under their belts. It is why we are often drawn to older people for our accounting, taxes and medical needs. We want them to be highly educated and smart, and have some form of a routine and process – but most importantly we want them to have seen our situation or condition before, and have the experience to deal with it. Anyone who has tried to fix a leak under their sink has learned that there is a bit more to plumbing than knowing what to do from an intellectual standpoint, but rather there is some experience involved. Especially when you discover that your sink, isn’t quite like the one they showed you in the store. You’ve had to take 3 or 4 trips back to the hardware store to get the right parts, while the plumber has everything in his truck and has seen it before. Same goes even more so for your tax accountant, who has seen your special circumstance before, and not only knows the law about it, but how the IRS actually treats it in the real world.

Finally, the third group are those who are on-top of innovation, that you’re going to for something new and innovative. These would be your problem solvers with a new way to resolve it. We all often think we’re the innovators, and probably love that element – however in a great deal of cases, we spend the majority of our time, and make the greatest revenue from the other two areas.

The balance to most successful managed service companies is discovering your exact blend that makes you successful to the clients you serve. Realize this blend and make sure that your staff reflects this blend. There should be a match between the two. If you have a bunch of clients looking for experience, and you have a bunch of young, hip innovators – your clients or staff need to change. You’re working less than optimal and efficient if you’re not.

Essential Services

Our power went out the other day, and as a result our phone system went down as well. It is amazing how the lack of phones will bring producitivity to a halt! Futhermore, we started receiving e-mails (on our blackberries) regarding our customers not being able to reach us.

Now, fortunately, we’ve already planned for a disaster senario similar to this, and we enlisted our phone provider which offered disaster recovery services. In this event, they were able to forward all of our inbound calls to their office where they setup a similar phone system to at least take our calls and drop them to voicemail, which we could then check with our cell phones periodically. That changeover took about 30 minutes to complete – and our power was out for 12 hours! What would that have been like had our phones been down that long.

When was the last time you looked at your customer inbound communication as an essential service, and what plans do you have for recovery should something similar happen to you?

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