A couple months ago we had someone call us and cancel their service with us. This isn’t anything unusual as I am sure any businesses owner will understand, and we processed their request. There was nothing special about this occurrence, and we continued as usual. A few weeks later we got an email from them saying something had broken and they couldn’t access their files. I offered remote service which they declined, instead preferring us to come onsite to fix the issue. The problem was solved (it was simple) and we sent them an invoice for the work. There is nothing special about this occurrence, but it made me think, and I wanted to share a few thoughts with everyone.
As a managed service provider, we offer our customers a flat monthly fee to keep everything they have in working order, and discount rates for projects. It’s the same sales pitch we have used, not too different to the pitches used in various other businesses, and I always thought of it as a pitch. After this occurrence though, my thoughts have changed. This isn’t a sales pitch. This is only a definition of our service and what we offer. And what we do offer is worth more than what we charge.
This business lost access to their files for 3 days. I don’t know exactly what they do from day to day, but I assume the employees were, for lack of a better word, bored for those 3 days. And these aren’t $15/hr employees. Let’s assume their salary is $60,000 a year. That’s $250 per day. Times 3 employees, times 3 days, that amounts to $2,250. I’m sure they weren’t doing nothing, so let’s say having no access to their files meant they were 50% productive. That is still a loss of $1,125. A loss of $1000 to save $100 a month.
Now, managed services are not perfect. Even with management, problems arise, and time can get lost. But most problems we deal with are preventable and quickly fixable. The problem this business had was 100% preventable and we would have caught it long before it caused any problems. Not only that, but since we would have noticed it, we would have fixed it remotely, made a note, and moved on. The business would never have known we did anything unless they looked at their account and saw the note, and they would never have lost over $1000.
But this is only one example. We have had customers come to us, after canceling months ago, and ask us for the backups because someone deleted something. Unfortunately, when someone cancels, their backups get canceled too. We do our very best to let them know and even facilitate moving the backups to another provider or service if they don’t want to stay with us, and we keep their old backups for a while just to be safe. So, we had to let them know that we didn’t have any recent backups from them and referred them to the many emails we sent them months back. Of course, they were not happy, and we gave them what we had (which was missing a bunch since nothing had been backed in months) and helped in any way we could to get their stuff back. After doing data recovery, we were able to bring back the things they had deleted, and we set them up with a backup service of their choice. Data recovery cost them $3500, but we were able to get it all. But not all stories end like this. Sometimes data is not recoverable. Sometimes data is there, but corrupt. Sometimes the backups are there, but they are corrupt. Sometimes a virus encrypts everything, including backups. And sometimes theft, fire, or other disasters wipe out everything they have.
On a better note, another business recently had an issue with a specific and very old billing software. A data error meant they couldn’t send out ANY bills. We spent approximately 10 hours working to solve the issue with the assistance of the software company, and ultimately were able to fix everything up. This business is covered under management, so their labor fee from us was $0. The software company did charge them for the couple hours we needed their help, but all together what would have been a repair well over $1000 only cost them a couple hundred bucks, for a monthly fee of around $300. Throughout that month they had other small issues that were taken care of under management, and everything for them kept going smoothly.
I’m speaking about every service-based business when I say, we are out to help you guys. We are all in business to make money, but most of us (including us) truly want to help our customers in any way we can. Managed IT Providers can offer an enormous value to you and your business. Managed IT Providers truly are superheroes, and often their work goes unnoticed, unappreciated, and undervalued. If you have a service provider, send them an email thanking them. If you don’t have one, get one. Do your due diligence and find one you click with (of course we would love it if it were us!) and thank them for the work they do. And please, before you do anything else, make sure you have backups.