This is a time to be particularly careful about money. One of the best policies you can put in place is that ALL work - 100% of everything - must be paid in advance once a client gives notice. After all, once the relationship is over, there's not as much motivation to pay in a timely manner. Collect a small block of prepaid labor and plan to rebate the unused portion when all the work is complete.
Awhile back we talked about new clients and I posted a Checklist for Setting Up a New Client on Managed Service. Today we're going to reverse that process with a different checklist. Of course there are a few more steps to add.
A Few Notes
First, you should give the client a "What's Next" Memo so they understand your policies from their cancellation notice to the end of the contract. This memo should include the following:
- Note that all labor to remove the client from managed services is billable (as an add/move/change it would not be covered under managed service).
- Note that the machines may be left in an unsafe state. Unless there's a billable ticket to turn on updates of some type, the machines will not receive critical updates after you remove your RMM (remote monitoring and management) agent. If anti-virus is included in your service, the machines will be without anti-virus unless there's a billable ticket to install something.
- Note reminding the client that your contract forbids them from hiring your employees without compensating you.
- Note that your company has and will abide by a non-disclosure agreement with the client company.
- Note that you will assist the client's new tech support (internal or external) with the transition, and that all labor related to that will be billable.
- Note that you will be giving the client all documentation and a summary of all outstanding issues with their machines.
Second, if the client purchases other services from you, or receives services "bundled" with the monthly maintenance service, you need to determine whether any of these services will continue. For example, if you bundle spam filtering and anti-virus in your monthly offering, is the client going to continue buying these services from you?
Clarify with the client that other contracts will remain in place (e.g., BDR, HAAS, or telephone).
Basically, you want to be as friendly and accommodating as possible. And you want to make sure you keep the client as informed as possible. Leaving with class may serve you well down the road. Who knows, you might get this client back one day.
Here's a sample Checklist for Removing a Client From Managed Services. This checklist routes from the administrative department to the tech department and then back to admin.
Remove Client from Managed Services – Checklist
Date service will stop: __________
Who at client office is our primary contact during transition? __________
Contact Phone __________
Contact Email __________
If there's another consultant we need to work with, note here: __________
Contact Phone __________
Contact Email __________
Routing Step One - Admin Dept.
- Review client's account
- - If there are any accounts receivable, make arrangements for payment.
- Contact client to inform them that all work to remove them from service is billable and all labor must be paid in advance.
- Collect prepayment of $__________ for __________ hours labor.
- Cancel automated recurring billing at merchant service.
- Set expiration date for Managed Service Monthly Recurring billing contracts in PSA.
- - Leave Billable Time and Materials contract in place and active.
- - Leave other monthly contracts in place (BDR, telephones, etc.).
- - If client will continue with "un-bundled" services, create recurring billing for these.
- If necessary, change client "terms" in QuickBooks.
- Will client still receive our newsletter? (Yes)(No)
- - If no, remove them from the newsletter mailing list.
Routing Step Two - Tech Dept.
- Create a billable service request to remove client from managed service.
- Note: All work related to removing agents, services, etc. from managed services is billable and should be logged against this ticket.
- If removing email filtering:
- - Create a billable ticket to remove from spam filter service.
- - Determine where email should be pointed.
- - Update MX records and other DNS as needed
- - Test that email is flowing before you close this ticket.
- Create a client summary report of all existing issues and tickets.
- - Service manager will email this to client.
- Verify that all documentation is up to date.
- - Deliver a copy of client documentation to client in paper or electronic format.
- - Be sure that client has a narrative description of their backup system.
- Determine whether any open tickets need to be worked before service is discontinued. Service manager will determine whether each of these is covered by the contract that is ending or is billable.
- Close all open tickets for this client that will not be worked. Add a note to each that the ticket was closed without completing service due to end of contract.
When all tickets are closed . . .
- Remove Continuum (or other) RMM agents.
- - Note: unless there is a ticket to set up automatic updates or another service, we are ONLY removing our agents.
- Update the daily monitoring documentation so we don't report all those machines as missing.
- Update Managed Services Grid
Routing Step Three - Admin Dept.
- If the client will be 100% gone, set the expiration date for the Time and Materials contract in the PSA.
When all invoices are paid and everything is settled . . .
- File all paperwork related to this client.
- Remove paper contract(s) for this client from the "current contracts" folder and place in client folder.
- Add this completed checklist to client folder
### end of checklist ###
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About this Series
SOP Friday - or Standard Operating System Friday - is a series dedicated to helping small computer consulting firms develop the right processes and procedures to create a successful and profitable consulting business.
Find out more about the series, and view the complete "table of contents" for SOP Friday at SmallBizThoughts.com.
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Next week's topic: Managing Temporary Files
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