Monday, September 03, 2007

Response re: Goodbye

[ KP Note: The entire "Managed Services in a Month" series has been collected, collated, and indexed. Still free. You may access it now at http://www.greatlittlebook.com/Seminars/managed_service_in_a_month.htm. ]


Luis asked some great questions about communications during the transition process. In particular, how do you say goodbye.

First, the transition process.

We have a monthly newsletter for our clients. We put a brief note in there.

Immediately, we started requiring prepayment for hardware, software, etc. No one batted an eye at this. It is very reasonable and that's just the way it is with hardware and software.

The transition to prepayment of the service agreement was a little different. When we wrote the new service agreements, we simply put those terms in there. When we wrote our new Price List ((((( Stay Tuned: This is Tomorrow's Topic ))))), we simply put an asterisk at the bottom that says all flat-fee monthly services must be paid by credit card monthly, or prepaid by check for three months.

After we did the client sit-down ((((( future topic ))))), we mention quite casually that we're moving to a prepayment model. One client -- ONE -- had a question about this.

I know this sounds like a broken record, but I'm not kidding you: People who you thought were just cheapos that will never sign end up signing for Platinum and prepaying for three months. Because you asked them to. They know you, they love you, they want your services. You decided to start treating your business professinally: Great. They're happy for you.


Second, the goodbye process.

How do you say goodbye?

We'll come back to this (future topic).

But, basically, you set a time limit for signing the new deal. If they hint that they don't want to sign the new deal, just very casually say "That's not a problem. We know this isn't for everyone. We work with the local SBS group and we can help you find a qualified technician who provides the kind of break/fix support you want."

Once they know you're serious about leaving, they'll seriously consider whether they want you to go.

If you don't hear back, you send the following letter:

-----

Dear Mr. Schmoe,

As you know, we are reformulating our service to provide managed services to all of our clients.

We have enjoyed working with you in the last few months, but since you have decided not to sign an agreement with KPEnterprises for ongoing managed services, we are not be able to continue to provide service to your organization.

Per our existing service agreement, please let this letter serve as your thirty day notice that we are terminating the agreement between our companies. Of course we will address any outstanding issues, starting with the highest priority items.

We will also help you make a smooth transition to another service provider.

If we can help you find another technical support provider, we are happy to do so. I am closely linked to the local Small Business Server Technology Users Group in Sacramento, so I can help you find someone in short order.

It is very important that you find someone who is a Microsoft Certified Small Business Specialist.

Good luck in your future endeavors. If you ever decide that you would like to have ongoing support for your system, please don't hesitate to give us a call.

Thank you for your business. I wish you tremendous success in the future.

Sincerely,
Super-Talented Consultant

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We had one client we all agreed was marginal. Didn't seem interested. Cancelled the sit-down meeting twice. Never got back to us.

We sent this letter and he called the next day to say "Don't drop me. I'm signing the agreement now."

-----

Thanks for the great questions. But don't get too far ahead. Finish the reports and research in Part One so you'll be ready for Part Two.

Tomorrow we tackle Creating a Three-Tiered Pricing Structure.

Patience.

2 comments:

  1. JHooper8:20 AM

    Any thoughts or suggestions on leaving bad clients behind when you do not have anyone to refer them to? My choices are -
    A) My only real competition technically but refuses to come out himself - a guy that pisses everyone off by raping them and sending out incompetent minimum wage kids that sit on the phone.
    B) Another guy who a client told me "Guy seemed ok but I think he was on drugs"
    C) Another guy that seemed promising but when we tried to throw business at him the clients came back and told us "That guy's number is disconnected"

    On the surface it seems this is really good for my transition to Managed Services. But a bad client is still a bad client if you service them break/fix or Managed Services.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Where are you?

    If you're looking for another (good) consultant:

    First choice would be someone from your user group.

    If you need help finding your local user group, or starting one, contact me directly.

    Second choice would be to contact your community PAM from Microsoft.

    If the clietn is a "bad" client, you don't have to refer them to anyone. Just change that letter to say goodbye and don't mention any kind of referral.

    ReplyDelete

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