Four Tips for a Successful Retail Technology Support Partnership

Christine Antonelli
Sep 1, 2021 9:30:00 AM

When you have a successful relationship with your Managed Service Provider (MSP), it can be easy to take it for granted.

However, it's important to remember that a good MSP relationship, like any other, requires maintenance and support over the long-term.

Here are the top four tips for maintaining and possibly improving your relationship with your MSP post-implementation. 

Manage Your Partner Like An Employee (but Remember it’s a Two-Way-Street)

When you decide to invite an MSP to join your business as a trusted partner, you're changing the way you manage your team. Before partnering with an MSP, you had to adopt a one-to-many management style. 

However, after making the shift to an MSP, this style has to change to a one-to-one model. In this model, you're "managing the manager," building a productive relationship with your primary point of contact at the MSP. It’s more like managing a relationship with a peer than an employee or vendor.

If you've developed a clear, trust-based relationship with your point-of-contact, you'll have open communication lines that allow you to address issues before they become problems.

This level of trust, however, takes time and effort to develop. Resist the urge to view the MSP relationship as "set it and forget it," and you'll set your organization up for long-term success.

Proactively Manage Changes in Leadership, Culture & Tech 

The next tip for managing and maintaining your MSP relationship is to think proactively about organizational changes that may impact their service offering. Be sure to inform them of changes in leadership, culture, goals and technology before they take hold in your organization. 

In the retail sector, leaders often have the ability to look ahead and develop a reasonable estimate of what the upcoming season my look like. This foresight can help organizations purchase inventory and set staff levels to optimal levels.

It’s important to remember, however, your MSP will need to about these forecasts as soon as you develop them so that they can adjust their resources and approach accordingly. If you don't tell them in advance, there's no way they'll be able to prepare to meet the challenge. 

Set Meaningful Metrics & Continuously Follow Up

Good leaders know that you can't manage what you can't measure. This adage is undoubtedly correct when it comes to your MSP's performance and the impact on your professional relationship. 

MSPs will work to set up performance metrics during the implementation process, but it’s your responsibility to make the analysis and evaluation of these metrics part of your organization’s internal processes. Remember, building a successful relationship is a two-way street.

If your organization doesn’t engage with your MSP partner with attention, it can lead to organizational drift and misaligned expectations. 

According to the Association for Executives in Healthcare Information Security (AEHiS), setting quarterly review meetings can help prevent this drift from occurring.

During these meetings, it's important to assess not only the most recent data associated with each metric but also whether it is still valid. Businesses change and performance metrics should change along with them. 

Over time, this act of nurturing and occasionally paring down your array of metrics serves to ensure that they remain relevant, actionable and valuable for your organization. Remember, good metrics are a sign of a good and interactive relationship with your MSP.

Treat Them as a Part of Your Team & Celebrate Victories

Finally, make sure that you treat your MSP as part of your team, especially when celebrating success. This type of holistic approach serves to deepen links between the respective groups and strengthen relationships. 

Celebrating wins with your MSP also helps to keep morale up and make the entirety of the MSP crew feel like valued and meaningful members of the team.  

Small investments like these can dramatically change the nature of the client/MSP relationship and set the course for a long and successful partnership.

Summary

  • It's important to remember that a good MSP relationship, like any other, requires maintenance and support over the long-term. 
  • Just because you have a relationship with a MSP, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to manage. Instead, you shift from a one-to-many model to a one-to-one.
  • Be sure to inform them of changes in leadership, culture, goals and technology before they take hold in your organization. 
  • Set quarterly meetings to review the most recent data associated with each metric but also decide whether it is still valid.

Solugenix partners with restaurant and retail businesses to serve as a complete extension of your team. We bring deep expertise, management, scalability, and transparency to the table. 

Are managed services a good fit for your organization? Start a conversation today with one of our Support Center Specialists to get started.

About the Author - Chris Antonelli

Picture of Christine Antonelli

As Solugenix VP of Customer Experience and Support Services, Chris Antonelli manages the delivery of customer support services and customer experience initiatives for clients in the retail and financial services industries. Chris leverages two decades of experience in leadership roles where she has guided best-in-class customer support service solutions to global brands like McDonald’s, BMW, Citibank, Sonic Drive-In, and Jiffy Lube. As an Executive Council member for Ellevate Network, Chris is dedicated to the professional development of women in the workforce and ardent supporter of remote workforce development.

Connect with Chris Antonelli on: LinkedIn

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