You’ll already feel the urgency and know that it’s incumbent upon you to help your clients above and beyond the call of duty right now as these are trying times for almost everyone in business at the moment. People will remember how you treat them now.

A retention strategy (rather than a recruitment strategy) needs to be the foremost of your thinking now as your clients will be stressed/worried and need to be reassured that you’re there for them so maintaining regular communications is key to this process. They need to know you’ve got them covered and that you’re not going to be another disruption to their services …. i.e. do everything you can to show that you’re still there and helping people ‘keep their lights’ on. Now is not the time to go quiet!

For the short term, you’ll need to help facilitate people working from home as much as possible. This will doubtless bring challenges but will also be a welcome source of short-term income. Clearly, you can’t work for free (at least not sustainably) but any hint of ‘profiteering’ and you can say goodbye to your relationship. Balance and communication and managing expectations … if you can remember back to the fuel crisis of 2000 when lorries blockaded various fuel depots and caused a national shortage of fuel … leading to some garages exploiting the situation and charging ridiculous amounts for petrol/diesel. Not good.

Free money? You could suggest people search their local area for grants. In some cases, there are grants available for people working remotely and/or maintaining their IT.

Obviously, the strategy here must be to manage the bottleneck of work and stagger everything so that clients are managed for the most urgent things in the short term (such as setting up secure remote working) which can then dovetail to leveraging the opportunities that will be presented in the medium to long term (such as helping people work with CRM).

As people adopt – and adapt – to remote working products and procedures, they will very likely be more sensitive to things that were less of an issue when they were working in an office environment. Lots of things will go wrong. They inevitably do when you’re working remotely! This is an opportunity to ‘innoculate’ your clients against disappointment by managing their expectations up-front and being there to suggest solutions/alternatives/workarounds  if/when certain products malfunction/freeze or simply shut them out etc. Bandwidth may be an issue … mobile phone signals seem to be more intermittent currently.

People having issues with remote working will be more likely to be Googling/searching for solutions and workarounds – meaning that if your relationship is not rock-solid with them, they may get itchy feet at some point when they see others offering what appear to be more seamless/trouble-free solutions. Conversely, it also means your competitors will be having similar issues so demonstrating that you’re actively helping people with remote working issues could well be a real opportunity for the short/medium term. Ironically, marketing in difficult times can often lead to the best results when managed properly but of course most people have ‘herd mentality’ and won’t see or take advantage of the opportunities here.

Longer term of course, some MSPs will struggle – which offers potential for those that best manage their clients and billing as they’ll be in a position to acquire MSPs that are in distress. Interesting times indeed. More thoughts to follow.