7 Ways to Use Client Reporting to Improve Your MSP
Transparency. We stress it often because it’s a core value of who we are. Likewise, we think it should be a core value of your business because it’s a simple way to build, maintain, and enrich your business relationships with both clients and employees. And, if you’re an MSP, the very heart of your business, the way it grows, is through those relationships. It’s why we talk about transparency and the best mechanism you have at your disposal to provide that: reporting.
- What is client reporting?
- What is automated reporting?
- How automation is transforming the reporting process
- Why reporting is important for your MSP
- 7 best practices for automated reporting for your MSP
- Experience greater client success through BrightGauge’s client reporting tools
What is client reporting?
Client reporting is the practice of sending reports about important activities and key performance indicators (KPIs) to clients to help build transparency and trust. For managed service providers (MSPs), generating reports for clients is an important part of managing client relationships. With a well-made report, MSPs can show exactly how they are (or aren’t) meeting their service level agreements (SLAs).
What is automated reporting?
While client reporting is essential to managing client relationships, manually assembling these reports can be a big time sink for MSPs—especially when there are a lot of relevant metrics and activities that need to be tracked. Automated client reporting tools, such as BrightGauge’s reporting feature, can be a massive time-saver and transform the client reporting process.
Automated reporting enables you to identify and compile specific metrics or data into a template and automatically send it to the necessary individuals as pre-programmed intervals (like once a week or once a month).
How automation is transforming the reporting process
Think of the classic client reporting solution—the old Excel (or some other spreadsheet software) sheet with a bunch of numbers or a Word doc template with a bunch of spots for key data points. Except entering the data that populates either of those sheets is a long manual process. It takes someone significant time and effort to:
- Track down all of the necessary information;
- Copy said information into the right spots of the spreadsheet/report; and
- Review the document to make sure everything is correct and nothing is missing.
In addition to being time-consuming, manual data entry is highly susceptible to human error. That may result in important information being missed or entered incorrectly—which is less than ideal when sharing a report with clients.
Client reporting software and automation solutions are changing things by making the process of generating reports less time-consuming and more consistent. Instead of having to enter data manually, report automation solutions like BrightGauge allow users to connect a few data feeds to automatically populate a customized report—then send that report on a set schedule as needed.
Now, instead of having to spend hours poring over different data sources, MSPs can set up a bit of reporting automation and not have to think about it again—unless there’s a change in the metrics the client needs to see. And, that also means you’ve got more time for other jobs or even more reporting for clients, employees, or supervisors.
In addition to the benefits for you, your client also sees benefits in knowing what to expect, when to expect it, and exactly what’s going on with the services you’re providing.
Why reporting is important for your MSP
One of the best tools for an MSP is reporting. You’ll find no shortage of MSPs industry sites and blogs touting the importance of quarterly reporting and make no mistake, the quarterly business review (QBR) is important. However, you don’t want the QBR to be the primary touchpoint for your client relationship. In fact, if things are going well, your services can be largely invisible and so you want to take the opportunities you can to reinforce the services you provide regularly, not just quarterly.
Not only does regular reporting serve as a reminder of your service quality, but it also opens opportunities for follow-up communication and the kind of trust and transparency that builds relationships.
7 best practices for automated reporting for your MSP
While report automation can be a big boon for transparency and improving customer satisfaction, it’s important to use that automation the right way. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of reporting automation:
- Identify the data that’s most important to the client getting the report. MSPs have limited time—but so do their clients. Sending an automated report that’s chock full of all kinds of data sounds impressive, but if that information isn’t valuable to the client, then it’s a waste of their time to read it. So, it’s important to consider which data points are of the most interest to the client in question, and to customize the report so that only that information is presented to them.
- Add a data dashboard to the report. Creating a report format with a kind of KPI dashboard-like appearance that puts all of the most valuable information on a single page can be really helpful. How? It makes important data points more digestible and accessible in the report. Instead of digging through several pages of information, the data about the client’s biggest concerns can be presented front and center—which many clients will appreciate.
- Share the good and the bad. It might be tempting to alter which form fields are in a client report to highlight the successes and downplay shortcomings. However, this doesn’t build transparency. It’s important to share the good and the bad with clients in the report so they can see that nothing is being hidden. Then, on calls with clients, it may help to address the potential reasons for the shortcomings and identify ways to improve results for the next report.
- Identify all of the key stakeholders in the client’s organization. Who is responsible for what in the client’s organization? Are reports reaching all of the right stakeholders to keep important people in the loop? Get a list of all the key stakeholders that need to see the reports being generated and ensure that they’re all on the email list for the automated report send.
- Consider customizing client reports for different stakeholders. Not every stakeholder in an organization cares about the same things. Some may need to know about different things as part of their job. So, creating variations of the client report template for different departments and stakeholders can do a lot to improve communication. Some stakeholders may really appreciate getting a customized report—even if sending it costs no extra time or effort at all after the first one!
- Periodically revise the KPIs in the report. Client needs and services may change over time. For example, if a major goal with a client was to decrease ticket response times in Q1 and that goal was met, then in Q2, the goal might shift to decreased open tickets instead. Revising your client reporting software’s settings so that they are consistently presented with the KPIs they currently need to know is important for keeping clients happy and informed.
- Verify the best time to send reports. When is the most convenient time for a report to hit a client’s inbox? Taking the time to ask clients when they prefer to receive their reports can be a great way to earn some appreciation and make things easier on the client.
These are just a few best practices for using reporting automation to share important business KPIs with your MSP clients.
Experience greater client success through BrightGauge’s client reporting tools
With BrightGauge, you can easily modify your client report templates and set up customized reports for different clients or even different stakeholders within the same organization. The automated report can pull data from multiple data sources and collate them all into an easy-to-read format for your clients to peruse.
Select what data you want to share, organize it how you want, and pick out how often the report should be sent—then kick back and relax as BrightGauge’s software takes over.
Are you ready for a simple and effective client reporting solution? Then reach out to the BrightGauge team today!