A solid relationship between a Managed Service Program (MSP) provider and the customer is the backbone of a successful MSP program. But, as a customer, do you fully understand what is expected from you?
We often talk about what you should expect from a Managed Service Provider (MSP). I recently held a quarterly business review with a long-standing MSP customer of Yoh's and was asked the question, “What makes a good customer”? I thought this was a great question because not all customers know how to be effective partners. Often, customers are coming in as a first generation program and don't know what to expect or what to do on their end to make sure that their MSP program is running as smoothly as it can.
Three Components of Being a Good Customer
With decades of experience in MSP programs, I've worked with many customers - from first to second generation, to big and small companies. Throughout all of my experiences, it usually boils down to a few key factors. When you are ready to take the next step and work with an MSP, here are the three main components of being a great customer partner.
It is essential that there be two-way communication between the client and MSP. The customer should be honest and share feedback (both positive and negative). This supports the natural life cycle of any MSP program which needs to include continuous improvements. Afer all, making these improvements is why you decided to outsource this to a provider in the first place. The provider's experiences with supplier management and operational effectiveness can save you time and money but will only be effective if you, as the customer, provide honest feedback and insights.
Additionally, a customer needs to be responsive and willing to discuss potential challenges and improvements. As mentioned, a good program is always evolving, so the support and attention to suggested changes will only assist the program in producing the results you need. This communication needs to be supported from the top down. A customer should be 100% committed to partnering with the provider on change management.
A true customer partner of an MSP will understand the value that a program can bring. MSPs provide savings, efficiencies, compliance, and visibility into spend when provided access to the organization. The customer needs to have an understanding of market rates and recognize fair and competitive pricing, along with terms and policies that are reasonable. Websites like the American Staffing Association and Staffing Industry Analysts provide insightful information on such topics. Value can be achieved when the client trusts, empowers, and supports the MSP to do their jobs.
The client needs to possess a willingness to listen and learn in this ongoing process of gaining knowledge. Sharing knowledge is a constant in any partnership. The MSP will be able to provide the customer with best practices learned from other customers, helping you leverage their past successes for your optimal future results. This is why it is important to select a MSP provider with plenty of relevant experience. That way you can be confident in learning best practices of other programs and trust that your provider will help provide insight and intel as to what the best of the best are doing differently. This type of information will aid in setting clear, realistic, and mutually agreed upon expectations and processes for an effective relationship focused on Total Talent Management.
So, as you take the big leap into partnering with an MSP, remember these 3 things. It will not only make the program run more effectively but it may also help make it easier on both you and your provider to maintain a smooth and successful partnership.
About the Author: This blog was written by Leslie Tell. Leslie is the Vice President, Enterprise Solutions for Yoh, A Day & Zimmermann Company. She provides strategic national workforce solutions for MSP, VMS, RPO and direct hires. Previously she was Yoh’s National Accounts Director. Leslie has been with Yoh for the past 6 years.