It has been a challenging time for IT Solution Providers and Managed Service Providers (MSPs).
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck us in March 2020, MSPs were right there on the front-line. MSP Service Desks found themselves inundated with requests from clients to work from home.
Businesses pulled together. Vendors have helped their MSP partners to meet demand. For instance — kudos to Atera for quickly pivoting to offer MSPs Customer Remote Access and for resources such as the Useful Guide to Working Remotely.
Despite the unprecedented demand and the difficult circumstances, MSPs met the challenge and helped keep their clients’ businesses working.
If we fast-forward to the present day, though, what does the landscape look like now for MSPs?
The Great Working from Home Rush
If we rewind to March 2020, and the “Great Working from Home” rush that every MSP had to deal with, then you will hear some incredible stories.
As MSPs, we’ve all had clients who moved their entire workforce to work from home.
But I’ve spoken to many MSPs who tell me that they’ve received requests to set up antiquated Home PC’s to act as make-shift remote workstations.
For instance, one MSP told me they’d received three different tickets, across three different clients, for Windows 98 PCs to be made ready for remote work!
Thanks to an (unrelated to COVID-19) worldwide laptop shortage, MSPs were struggling to provide their clients with new hardware for clients’ new home workstations.
Every MSP I’ve spoken to did work diligently to help their clients work from home with whatever hardware was available.
It was good enough, and the clients appreciated that.
But that was then, and what was good enough then is not good enough now.
The Challenge: Good Enough is no longer Good Enough.
Those clients whom you helped work from home were happy.
They appreciated that you did the best you could for them, under challenging circumstances, with the resources you had available.
Your clients put up with less than ideal working conditions because they thought the situation was temporary.
But today, what was good enough in an emergency, is starting to provide some real irritations as the new normal.
The technology failings that many people overlooked at the start of this journey are now becoming productivity killers.
As the world realizes that working from home is no longer an exception, but may become the norm, expectations are changing.
Even those clients who still expect the world to snap back to the way it was pre-COVID are starting to open their eyes.
For example, now that employers understand employees can do their work from home, they are starting to ask the question “Do we need our expensive office space?”
This realization means clients are looking to their MSPs for guidance on upgrading home offices.
Clients want help turning the make-shift into workstations staff are prepared to spend all day sitting and working at, into productive, healthy, and comfortable spaces.
The Opportunity: – Give Your Clients Working from Home Options
Are you proactively giving your clients options to upgrade their working from home (WFH) experience?
Or are you only reacting to those clients who ask you for your help?
If so, you may not only be missing out on a great opportunity but giving your competitors a chance to swoop.
For instance, I am already seeing MSPs who are offering clients “Homeworker-in-a-box” software.
Could you create a business-grade “homeworker in a box” package?
This package could contain:
- a business-grade laptop
- a new business-grade router
- a High-Definition (HD) webcam
This option would enable your clients to work as effectively from home as they used to do in the office.
Some clients are ready, now, and will bite your hand off at the option to make their working days more comfortable and more productive.
You should also be aware that some clients will need your help with the office productivity solutions that typically fall outside the technical sphere.
Could you, for instance, give clients advice on the right standing/sitting desks to use in their new home office.
What about an email with guidance on the office chairs that they could consider buying for their home?
I’m a big fan of MSPs that build strategic alliances with like-minded companies. Could this be the right time for you to start working with an office supply company to offer your clients options for desks, chairs, and workstations?
Give your client’s options.
It will help cement your relationship with your client and prevent competitors from swooping in to steal the relationship.
After an initial rush to work from home, clients are now realizing their home offices aren’t comfortable enough to use longer-term.
Your clients want options to upgrade their home-office environment.
You already proved your value when you helped your client begin to work from home in difficult circumstances during the first days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Can you now help them to the next stage of their journey by offering them upgraded home office options?
You really should. Because if you don’t, your competitors will — and don’t be surprised if your clients forget the excellent work you did for them as they start feeling the pain of working from home full-time.
What working from home challenges are your client’s experiencing right now?
Which WFH options is your MSP business already offering your client’s?
Please do get in touch and let me know what you’re doing.