Ben Savage, Sales and Marketing Director, Timico
2019 is a challenging year for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Success will come down to brands knowing exactly who their customers really are, and meeting their ever-increasing customer experience expectations. In the hospitality and leisure sector, the travel market will be shaken up by customers looking for ‘transformational’ experiences, turning the industry from mass-market package holidays to specialist getaways and breaks. The key to surviving – and thriving – here will be customisation, as individuals look for services tailored towards their particular interests.
All of this comes down to making customers happier, and driving loyalty by improving, and tailoring, the customer experience. This is placing huge pressures on business to interact with customers better, and find employees that can make a positive impact on their services. Many companies are now placing more focus than ever before on human capital, and creating a positive employee experience (EX) to encourage talent hiring and retention. Research conducted last year showed companies that invested heavily in employees earned more than four times the average profit, and two times the average revenue compared to those that didn’t.
Focusing on customers, and the staff that play a part in serving them, will help organisations exceed their potential and, ultimately, grow – but managed service providers (MSPs) also have a crucial role to play in these businesses’ evolution.
Supporting growth and creating growth
While companies focus on freeing up their staff for more creative and profit-generating tasks, demand for MSP’s services will continue to grow. Companies will need IT support to carry out essential operational tasks and IT infrastructure work, which will help support and maintain business objectives and initiatives.
One such example is a project that Flagship Housing needed the right IT support to execute. Flagship owns, repairs and maintains 28,500 properties across East Anglia, providing social housing for people in need. The firm set out to provide an omni-channel tenant contact centre, which involved MSP support to provide a private wide area network and leased line services, as well as communication migration. This resulted in Flagship having a best-in-class solution supporting two contact centres, in turn supporting the thousands of tenants that they house.
Managed service providers should continue to focus on innovative solutions that can unlock future business growth – but they should also ensure that they continually innovate their service offering, and look at what they could do differently to grow their business – as well as their clients’.
The new, the innovative, and the niche
Identifying and targeting specific business verticals could be a differentiator for MSP businesses that currently don’t tailor their business efforts at specific markets. Standardised technology offerings allow MSPs to develop expertise on the services they use – reducing the time and effort necessary to deploy and manage them – but tailoring service offerings to certain sectors (including retail and hospitality) could help generate new business opportunities.
One way of helping guarantee success here is possessing a thorough and clear understanding of the vertical markets that these businesses operate within. MSPs will also need a strong understanding of the services their potential clients will want to provide in the future, so that they can provide specific recommendations and offerings that will help firms meet these business objectives. MSPs can also offer these wider, to companies with similar ambitions and growth plans – and thus grow their own bottom lines.
Ongoing education and certification is also crucial for MSPs to stay ahead of the curve and maintain a competitive edge. Managed service providers must stay up to date about the workings of the industry, as well as how their clients are looking to grow. Meeting up with peer groups to share knowledge and seeking certification on specific technologies used to deliver services are a few methods. Essentially, staying informed will help MSPs ensure that they always have a one-up on their rivals.
The adoption to public cloud also brings a great opportunity for MSPs. This adoption is happening at an increasing rate, but there are many applications that businesses can’t migrate to the cloud. It is here that MSPs, looking to add value to their clients, could focus their efforts to boost business growth. These applications are often customised to certain businesses, and are designed to carry out a specific task, so it is vital that MSPs have advanced knowledge of what each application is, and why it is important to that customer. This knowledge will help MSPs manage the application more effectively, as well as unlock new growth potential in the future.