Published: April 20th, 2015

One of the things I love about being back in Canada after my annual retreat from winter in South Carolina is getting to see the awesome TV created here at home.  Canadian television offers viewers a wide variety of options; from the birthplace of Kevin O’Leary’s television career on Dragon’s Den before being whisked away to Shark Tank, to the free-natured spirits of the boys from Sunnyvale Trailer Park, Canadian TV is simply great.

A commercial from Intact Insurance caught my eye the other day and got me thinking about how managed service providers can stand out from their peers. And don’t kid yourself – standing out from the crowd is the essential trial MSPs face. Selling IT services is tough enough on its own, but throw in the stiff competition fighting for the attention of a very small prospect pool and it’s easy to see why marketing in the MSP space is such a challenge.

It was while watching the Intact commercial when it struck me that, in many ways, the insurance industry is very similar to the IT services industry. There is an insurance agency on every corner pimping an endless list of services and programs. These agencies are doing their best to convince you that you need to have most of this list to ensure you are protected from whatever could possibly come your way.  Sure sounds like IT services, doesn’t it? So what is Intact Insurance doing to stand apart from its competitors?

Intact’s latest round of television ads all hammer home a single point; in these commercials Intact makes the very bold statement that they will start your claim within 30 minutes.

With that declaration, Intact is tackling head-on one of the major frustrations many consumers have with insurance brokers – the feeling that when you do need to make a claim, insurance companies do their best to avoid you.

Not with Intact. They promise to start your claim within thirty minutes “guaranteed, even on a weekend”.

What can the average MSP learn from this?  Clients have frustrations similar to those dealing with insurance agencies.  They want to know that their calls for help will be promptly answered and that the IT company will quickly respond to resolve issues.

When I speak with the clients of the MSPs we work with, the number one reason they made a change to a new service provider was, responsiveness.  The number one reason they continue to work with our clients is the same answer, responsiveness.

If responsiveness is the main reason why companies switch MSPs, why doesn’t the MSP promote this more?  The likely answer? They don’t want to stick their neck out.

That thinking confuses me. If a business is telling you they want responsiveness from their IT service provider, wouldn’t it make sense to deliver on that?

Chris Michalec is the president of Winston-Salem IT services company Parkway Tech.  Chris highlights a very prominent statement on this website: “If we fail to answer your support call within five minutes and start working on your issue, your next month is free.”  This commitment to service is on every piece of marketing Chris does and his business continues to grow every month.

The formula seems to make sense to me but why do so many MSPs resist?  For those who are wiling to offer something different from the competition, they will continue to win new business opportunities. Much of this new business will come at the expense of those not prepared to meet the challenge.

Only one in 100 IT firms think marketing first, but 100 out of 100 want more leads. Ulistic is here to help managed services providers think strategically about their marketing to get more leads while still focusing on running their business. Our team engages with your team every day, providing expert marketing materials and advice to create a foundation for stratospheric success. Learn more at Ulistic.com.