Service, service, service. It’s the revenue type we write about the most, and with good reason: if you sign one new customer per month to a $1 monthly technology service contract, that’s an additional $78 per year in your pocket every year on every dollar you make. But don’t let us paint the metaphorical grass too green: there are significant challenges you will face by moving towards managed services.
Just ask any IT MSP. Their whole business model revolves around service, and as a result, they’ve experienced their fare share of horror stories.
While integrators aren’t dealing exclusively in IT-related technology (though that’s slowly changing), they should take the following MSP horror stories as lessons in what it takes to run a service-based business:
Will O’Neal, founder and president of Mid-Atlantic Computer Solutions
“One of our clients had a relatively new employee who got a text from the boss that said he was super busy and they needed the employee to go the Apple store and buy $900 worth of iTunes gift cards. Another text said to scratch the back and text the numbers to a client at this phone number.
She lost $900. She really wanted to impress the boss. It was just so easy to see what was going on. Thirty seconds after she did it, she knew it just wasn’t right.
There’s a reason hacking is profitable.”
Andy Espo, CEO of Macintosh Consulting
“We had a client who lost $25,000 in a phishing scheme and a week later did exactly the same thing. They lost about $1,000 the second time.
One time, there was an email going around that said hackers were able to compromise clients’ webcams and recorded videos of them having sex. They said,’ If you don’t send us money, we’ll release the video to the internet.’ One of our clients was in PR, and were like, ‘Oh my God, what do I do?’ Relax. It didn’t happen.”
Keith Newell, owner, Kean Computing
“I presented my largest customer with a business continuity solution, but he refused to do it. He said, “You’ve always saved me in the past.”
I made him sign off on that, saying he refused to do the business continuity solution. I’m currently running a business continuity appliance at their office and I’m paying for it as part of our managed services contract just so if s*** does hit the fan, it’s not going to kill me.”
Raffi Jamgotchian, president, CTO of Triada Networks:
“We find many clients have the problem of people hacking into their personal accounts as a means into their business ones. We found that when you educate them on their personal stuff, it trickles down into their business. They tend to take care of their personal stuff more diligently, and that habit can transfer easily to their business.
A niche investment model firm had the owner’s and his assistant’s personal accounts compromised, and as a result, he realized he couldn’t do ANY business from his personal account anymore.”
Bill Powers, principal at Aurental Consulting and Technology Services
“I had a guy call me up at 10 o’clock on a Friday night, telling me he’d been hacked, his data had been compromised, his company’s data had been compromised, and he didn’t think he was going to survive the weekend.
I asked him to describe the situation, and he said there was a big red dialogue box up on his computer which read: ‘YOU HAVE BEEN HACKED, DO NOT TURN OFF YOUR COMPUTER & CALL THIS NUMBER IMMEDIATELY!’
You didn’t call the number, did ya? He said no, but I erased everything, including cancelling his credit cards, etc. So I come over on Monday, the screen is still showing the message. I decide I’m going to just shut down the computer. He says ‘oh, no, wait, it says not to do that!’ And I say, ‘I think I’m going to do it anyway, if you don’t mind!’
There was nothing IN the computer, just something ON the computer. If he had made the call, it would have turned out much worse!”
MJ Shoer, founder and principal consultant of MJ Shoer, LLC
“We told a client they needed a new backup, and they said what they were doing was sufficient. Sure enough, their server crashed, it took us days to recover them. The guy had the balls to say to me, ‘WHY DIDN’T YOU JUMP UP ON MY DESK AND YELL AT ME UNTIL I AGREED TO WHAT YOU THOUGHT WAS A BETTER OPTION?!’
‘Because you’re an adult, and I’m not your father!’
I mean, he literally told me he wanted me to jump on his desk like a lunatic and yell at him!”