You Never Know What Your Clients Want Unless Your Ask Them
Just over 7 years ago, SYNAQ began as a managed Linux services company, remotely managing and supporting companies’ Linux-based servers on their behalf. We became pretty good at it and were fortunate to attract some of the country’s best Linux talent. Our clients trusted us to know what we were doing (technically) and to be there for them when they needed us.
(Today, we’re focussing a lot more on our Linux-based cloud infrastructure although managed services still forms a significant part of our business.)
In order to keep innovating on our managed services, we kept adding more and more service features. Starting with a basic services help desk, we introduced a variety of service add-ons like real-time monitoring, configuration backups, preventative maintenance (periodically logging onto servers to perform routine manual checks), detailed monthly reports on support and monitoring activities, and most recently, a remote vulnerability (security) scanning service.
All because we thought our clients were constantly expecting more.
Recently we decided to ask our clients what matters most to them, by asking them to allocate a certain percentage of a fictitious monthly spend to the different components that make up our managed services. They could choose to allocate the spend to a single component, more than one, or all of them, in proportion to where they saw the most value.
The responses were overwhelmingly similar in certain respects.
- Primarily, our managed services clients are looking for peace-of-mind.
- They want to know that we’re doing what we need to do to keep their servers healthy and running.
- How we do that exactly (whether we use automated monitoring systems, administrators manually logging into servers or whether we’ve created the most technologically advanced remote server management system) is a lot less important.
- Our clients are looking for great support and want to know that when they contact us for support, we’re quick, efficient, and solve the problem correctly.
- They’re not particularly impressed by our monthly service reports or the security reports (I guess they figure we should be fixing whatever’s wrong anyway).
So where to from here?
Taking our client’s feedback into consideration, we’re doing the following:
- Taking a good look at what managed services components help us deliver healthy servers with minimum downtime and pruning the components that don’t, so that the time our system administrators spend contributes directly towards what our clients want most: peace-of-mind.
- Continuously improving the speed and quality of our technical support to make sure we can respond quickly and resolve problems correctly.
- Learning to engage with our clients first and implementing later, instead of making assumptions about what they value most, implementing first and asking them about it later.
We’re taking the stance that in our managed services world, less is truly more, and doing less will allow us to do more of what really matters to our clients.