Ask Intronis: How do I respond to an SMB that wants to break up with me

Posted by Courtney Steinkrauss on Feb 9, 2015 1:52:00 PM

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Q: Help! I think one of my SMBs wants to leave me for another service provider. What do I do? Is there anything I can say to convince them to stay? I hate confrontation, but I don’t want to get dumped!

Look at it this way. You’re not the only one feeling this kind of heartbreak. It’s not uncommon for MSPs to get an ultimatum from a customer: change your ways or I’ll leave you. It’s harsh. It hurts. But don’t worry. We’re here to walk you through the impending awkward conversation and help you win back your one-true-small business customer love!

First, you need to learn why the customer wants to leave. What is the other service provider offering that you’re not? Or rather, what is the other provider claiming to offer that’s winning over your customer? Expensive dinners and romantic couples retreats? Fancy roses, bargain basement pricing, and faster restores?  

2383229392_9b87081d3b_zOnce you pinpoint why the customer is eyeing another provider, then you can devise a counterargument to convince the customer that your services are better suited to their needs. And if you can’t offer a solution for every pain point, at least you’ll know why they decided to leave, and hopefully you can avoid another breakup in the future. After all, you can only handle so much heartache!

After talking it over with our partner support team, I compiled five questions MSPs should discuss with a customer who’s flirting going to another service provider.

1. What services are included in the pricing model?

If your customer is leaving because they’re being offered a lower price from one of your competitors—seemingly lower, anyway—ask what support services are included in their pricing model. Often, consumer-grade providers will actually charge additional fees to perform a restore. If your customer doesn’t know whether or not restores are included in the price they’ll be paying, ask them to find out. When we talk to an Intronis partner dealing with this, we also suggest letting the customer know there’s no additional charge for operating a restore because it’s part of our fixed-priced solution.

2. What level of support is included?

There’s a high likelihood that the other provider doesn't offer support services or that it’s an additional charge, so make sure to play up what you have to offer in this area. If you’re reselling the Intronis solution, you can assure them that a technical support team is on-call to walk you through a full restore or answer any questions that may arise, all included in the fixed, monthly price. And if you’re an Intronis Certified Partner Technician, be sure to show them your certification.  

3. Is the solution customizable?

In the heat of the moment, don’t forget to mention that the solution you offer is customizable. When we talk to Intronis partners, we like to explain that you can set retention settings, regulations, and standards to suit a customer’s needs, providing them with their required level of service. Be sure to allude to the fact that many consumer-grade solutions offer little to no customization. 

4. Is encryption offered as a part of the solution?

Make sure you talk about the level of encryption you bring to the table. This is an extremely important factor in a service provider/customer relationship. Can the “other guy” offer military-grade security, as secure as the encryption used by the U.S. Department of Defense? I didn’t think so. 

5. Who is the other service provider? 

It can be awkward, but you have to ask. Once you know who the competition is, respond with the ultimate comeback: a white-labeled competitive matrix that details exactly how your services stack up and why they’re the better option. We point Intronis partners to our version in the Partner Toolkit

Hopefully, we’ve given you enough to help convince your SMB to stay. And if you do need additional support, listen to our recent webinar: How to Sell Your Data Backup Services for more tips and tricks.

Ask Intronis is a weekly advice column answering common questions from MSPs and IT service providers. It covers topics ranging from pricing and selling to marketing and communications—and everything in between. Submit your questions by emailing AskIntronis@intronis.com.

Photo Credit: mararie on Flikr. Used under CC 2.0 license. 

 

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