Richard talks to Craig Fulton, Chief Product Officer at ConnectWise, about their integrated suite of products and getting your customer services right.
An Interview with Craig Fulton
Craig started out as a technician in 1995 and spent many years working in the field. He then moved into product development and believes his previous experience helps him to identify what MSPs (managed service providers) need to run a more efficient business. Craig is now the Chief Product Officer for software company ConnectWise, with a focus on the company roadmap, product marketing and identifying new partnership opportunities and software development possibilities.
What are the New ConnectWise Products?
Following several company acquisitions and mergers, ConnectWise has now developed a suite of integrated applications to create a range of tools to help MSPs run their businesses smoothly and seamlessly and focus on growth.
The tools are designed so that the user can manage everything from one dashboard. There is also a remote control button so it’s possible to access everything quickly and easily.
‘Sell’ is an automated procurement tool to bring electronic orders and tracking together. ‘Manage’ allows greater control over ticket creation, copying and merging, ‘Automate’ includes patch management and ‘Control’ brings everything together. There is also Campaign Director, to manage marketing and social media.
What are User-Centric Services?
User-centric services are focused on providing support to the user rather than the device. As customers have more devices, MSPs struggle with supporting and billing for each of these, so moving to have the user as the priority makes things easier.
For example, Craig says he spoke to MSP business owners who found that sending invoices with each device listed meant that the customer would quibble with the bill. By listing each user and their workstation within the company, the client can see who and what they’re getting support for.
Over 65% of the ConnectWise community is doing some kind of hybrid of billing by the user and by the device, which is why they developed a tool to help users find their customers on the system and bill them appropriately.
How the Cloud Helps MSPs Manage Contracts
ConnectWise realised that cloud computing was becoming more popular around a decade ago, and it quickly became obvious that the software and app companies would start to move their tools into the cloud too. This can cause problems for an MSP because it creates a two-tier model where they have to bill their client for a tool such as Microsoft Office 365, and their support services on top.
This led to the development of Cloud Console, to manage and monitor all of a customer’s software in one place. It tracks usage and issues to create tickets to help the MSP resolve problems quickly, and it uses an automated system to manage users, who can join and leave a company quickly, and manage licence changes, so the MSP can bill accordingly.
Why Single Billing is Important for MSPs
It’s important for MSPs to consider their customer’s journey, and to ensure that they know what they’re getting from their IT service provider. If you’ve sent a quote when you first start working with a client, the invoice needs to match. In everyday life, we’re used to getting multiple services from one provider, so it makes sense to do the same for your MSP.
If you bill separately for different products, the customer feels like they have two different suppliers and are more likely to be tempted away by a cheaper competitor. It’s a better experience for the customer if they get one bill, and it makes it harder for them to question things when they’re all lined up. And the whole process should be automated wherever possible.
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