Before you attempt to answer that question, read on.

When speaking to server providers about what services they offer customers, the first question I ask is:  Can I see the service catalog?

Why I am so quick to ask that question? Why is the service catalog so important?

First, it tells the customer what services you offer.  It also tells the competition that there is another service provider in town, and that you can and will deliver better service to your customers. Lastly, the service catalog drives the creation of the selling and marketing collateral, the service delivery model, the onboarding process, even your training content.

A quick recommendation when creating your service catalog is to keep it simple. All it should include is a title, part or SKU number, description and a bulleted list of what is included in the service.

That brings me back to my original question about the Stanley Cup. I compare the service catalog to how a hockey team approaches a power play – the simpler it is, the more effective it can be. One pass and shoot generally generates more rebounds and results with a goal. But too often teams pass four or five times before attempting a shot, which often leads to a blocked shot and a lost opportunity.  A complicated service catalog can suffer the same the fate, confusing and blocking the customer who will then pass on your service.

Another recommendation: always spell out that any additional service beyond what is listed in the service catalog will be agreed to by all parties and done at an additional hourly expense. The service catalog is not a price book or price list, a separate price list should be created.

In summary, if you’re a service provider and you don’t have a service catalog, create one following the keep-it-simple approach.  If you would like to see examples of a service catalog visit the Arcserve MSP Enablement page to download managed service offering templates and examples.