How To Guarantee Your Managed Service Solution

Posted by Robin Robins On March 29th, 2009

Should You Put A Guarantee On Your Managed Services Solution?

By: Robin Robins, Managed Services Marketing Blueprint

I often get e-mails from managed service providers asking if they REALLY need to offer a guarantee on their services. So, here is my final position on the matter:

If you cannot unconditionally guarantee your managed IT services solution, you need to go to work on improving your delivery, or find something else to sell. A guarantee is not only important when marketing your services, but it also keeps you sharp in making sure the client stays happy.

I’ve had multiple managed services provider clients who put a guarantee in place and subsequently doubled – sometimes tripled – their close rate. So yes, you need a guarantee.

That being the case, why don’t more managed services companies have a guarantee? Two reasons, primarily; the first is that they think they’ll get swamped with people asking for their money back and the second is a lack confidence in their abilities to satisfy a client.

Here’s the truth…

If you are providing a good managed IT service that actually delivers the results you promise, then you should have no negative repercussions from offering a guarantee; as a matter of fact, it should make it infinitely easier to acquire new clients. However, the only way to know for sure whether or not a guarantee will help or hurt your managed services practice is to test it. Will you get the occasional unfair and unsubstantiated request from a customer who wants their money back? Of course, but it should not be the majority, and it should only be viewed as a cost of doing business, just like uncollected debts from the occasional deadbeat client.

However, if you discover that a large percentage of the people you sell to abuse your guarantee, you need to do a better job in screening them out early, do a better job at delivering your services, or you need to find a different crowd to sell to. And for the record, if you offer a guarantee, you better be prepared to fulfill on it.

So the question then becomes, what can you actually guarantee on a managed services agreement? Here are some ideas:

1. Response time to issues or phone calls
2. Reducing downtime to X minutes per month or less
3. The client’s satisfaction with the service based on THEIR perception
4. No viruses or spyware, or you’ll remove and clean the virus at no charge to them
5. No data loss or crashes or you’ll incur all the fees and costs of restoring the network
6. A money-back guarantee: Sign up for our managed IT services program for 3 months…if you aren’t thrilled, we’ll refund your 3 months fees, no questions asked

I also want to point out that you should NEVER guarantee something you cannot or will not deliver on, nor can you guarantee something you don’t have control over. Many of my managed services provider clients only put guarantees on their “all-you-can-eat” managed services. That enables them to do the necessary support and security to make sure that downtime, viruses and data loss virtually disappear.

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