IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Trouble converting those last break-fix customers?

A while back, a partner requested that we add a feature that would automatically send an email alert to a client who surpassed 90 percent of their allotted storage. Interestingly enough, we used to have this feature several years ago.

If you are like many MSPs, you probably have a few break-fix customers reluctant to switch to a managed model because they see it as too costly. In many cases, those customers likely are ignoring the hidden costs of not moving to a managed model, costs such as employees sitting around idle when a server goes down, time wasted tracking down lost data, and declining business perceptions when their customers hear, “I’m sorry, but our email isn’t working again.”

Those hidden costs are difficult to quantify, and in many cases, even more difficult to talk about because they often involve tapping into more serious underlying business issues.

I recently worked at a newspaper company where calling tech support was like dialing 911. Problems were dealt with only when they became too gargantuan to ignore, such as production-day server outages that kept us from getting the newspaper out to the printer on time. Unless something was officially “broken,” we didn’t fix it.

Consequently, we employees lived day to day, never knowing what software was going to crash, if the network was going to work or not work, or when data was going to disappear into thin air. After one disastrous event where we lost a lot of our archives because our backup servers also failed, many of us got in the habit of backing up critical data on our own desktops.

Beneath this layer of seeming insanity was a bigger problem: the company was treading water. Most newspapers were losing money, and because the future of the industry as a whole was so uncertain, we dealt with everything on an as-need basis.

For us, opting into a managed service contract meant thinking long-term and facing up to too many internal problems, including the fact that all of our computer equipment was woefully outdated because we had no upgrade plan in place.

That said, our company would have greatly benefited from many MSP services, beginning with a reliable cloud backup and recovery solution to protect the only thing that we could not replace — our data.

Amy Castor is a writer based in Cambridge, MA. She has been reporting on the technology industry for more than 15 years.


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