By: Kathy Vogler, Communications Manager, Expedient Technology Solutions
Whether you are starting a Managed IT Services company from scratch or transitioning from another type of IT or business service provider, you may spend a lot of time working on your technology stack or your service level agreement terms or your pricing structure. While all of these things are, of course, important, you will not succeed as an MSP without a culture of service. I like the concept of a servant’s heart that is built on servant leadership. The definition of a servant’s heart is to put other’s needs ahead of your own and to serve with the right motivation. Interesting concept for business.
Developing and documenting your culture, mission statement and values have to be at the forefront and are extremely critical. Many successful MSP’s have said that the first 50 people hired set the tone for their culture. And, that culture is hard to change after that. Think about that for a moment. If you have a large-scale service business now that is focused on revenue and profit margins, what will you do when you enter this completely different arena. In your model, are your top account managers servants? How about your level 2 or 3 engineers, or your executive team or your administrative staff … are they naturally servants?
Being a servant is something you can teach if a person is willing to learn, but it requires the characteristics of listening, empathy, awareness, persuasion and commitment and it is certainly nothing to fake. It is a mindset. Many people in the MSP world are acknowledging this need and discussing the value of great customer service. We realize it is important and we are, at least, talking about it. Again, it is a mindset and is not a trackable metric but instead one of those “feely” things most businesses try to avoid.
Successful MSP’s provide a human relationship. Marcus Thompson, CEO of Expedient Technology Solutions, started his MSP in 2004 after years of IT consulting. He saw a need for a proactive approach to managing IT infrastructures and critical client applications. He created a distinctive company culture with a focus on service. He built personal relationships. Per Marcus “When you walk into our facility, you’ll notice our Core Values on every wall. How our staff “Delivers Wow” and “Reshapes the Experience” are openly discussed in our daily huddles. Examples of delivering those values are shared and rewarded. Our team members speak to everyone politely and respectfully, regardless of their position. We feel strongly about standing in our client’s shoes. We absolutely need to understand their business without expecting them to know technology. We are a strategic partner. We believe that hiring is key. We discuss our values and the importance of service with every potential hire. Regardless of the position, after clearing employment standards and technical skill requirements with HR, they will interview with the Executive Team before my wife and I meet with them as well. Our staff is our culture and we value a person’s culture fit above all else. Our company and our culture are here for the long haul, we become our client’s IT experience and it must be Stress Free. They depend on us to provide IT and other business application expertise on their behalf and we take this role very seriously. When you read our ticket survey responses, you’ll realize these are people helping people and often the staff is acknowledged by first name.”
Why businesses choose one MSP over another depends on many factors; IT knowledge and expertise, price and cost savings, availability, efficiencies, SLA models, or technological experience. You will need to provide a powerful service level agreement and to make good on everything you say you will do. But, businesses will only stay with an MSP that becomes an intrinsic partner. You can do that by providing a service first culture and a willingness to take ownership and responsibility for all things including IT. It is a long-term commitment from your entire team. You will need to hire wisely, invest in your team and provide the tools that help them make the right decisions for your clients. Your employees, their commitment to your core values and the collective servant’s heart, really are your best asset.
To learn more about Expedient Technology Solutions, visit www.stressfreeit.com
Kathy Vogler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-535-4300.