A lot of managed service providers (MSPs) often forget that a lot of their business depends on the middle word – service.
That’s right. Imagine a service provider that forgets about the part about delivering service. It is a sad fact that is happening in the industry right now.
One of the main reasons for this is the rising level of competition. As the years go by, more and more players are entering the IT services arena. As a result, a lot of companies are scrambling to get clients before they are nabbed by competition.
And that is where the problem lies. A lot of managed service providers shifted their focus to client acquisition. To them, the most crucial part of the business is to get as many clients as they can.
They forget that this approach is only sustainable if they can deliver on the expectations they had set, which unfortunately is not always the case.
So, if you are a business looking for a reliable IT service provider, you should be shrewd in your decision making. Do not be persuaded by pretty words and promises that will mean nothing in the long run.
What you want is measurable results, transparency, and accountability.
To help you out, here are some of the things that a managed service provider should have before you consider signing up with them:
An Established Ticket System
A provider might promise you a very personal relationship. However, personal can also mean informal, and that might be the case. What they do is come in, fix whatever issues you have, and leave.
However, what if the “fix” made things worse? And with no documentation of what the issue was and how it was addressed, it’s difficult to see who is at fault and what happened to get to where you are now.
That is why one of the first things that you want to ask a prospective MSP is do they have a ticketing system.
This is where the history of your IT services reside, including past and present issues. They should have tools for service requests, tracking of frequent and repeat technical problems and should be a database of everything done to your IT environment. This way, you not only have a personal relationship with your provider but a professional one.
Specific Contact Channels
A provider should be explicit about the channels they can be contacted on including specific phone numbers, email address, and even through the ticketing tool for new service requests.
You can also ask them about their communication tools. Do they employ a business phone system that has an auto-attendant so that all calls are routed to the right department?
Do they have a messaging tool that helps them communicate with clients so that they can also get support through chat?
There should also be an agreement about the standard length of time before a reply is made, a ticket is created, assigned to an IT specialist, and when it is resolved.
Regular Client Reporting
Another essential aspect that you want from your managed service provider is regular reports and updates about the health of company IT assets.
Be clear that you do not want reports only when something is wrong. You want to have regular network and system health check reports even if it does not show if anything is amiss.
This way, you are sure that they are regular checks to your IT services and not only when you are checking up on them.
Key Performance Metrics
Another question you might want to ask a prospective managed service provider is how you will be able to measure their performance. It is where key performance metrics or KPI comes in.
Aside from listing the IT services they can provide, an MSP should also be able to give you the metrics upon which their performance can be measured. Examples include response times, average times between network and system failures, the average number of hours to fix specific problems, and more.
It should be included in a service level agreement, which should also include the penalties for not meeting those KPIs.
Customer Service Training
Last, you should also ask if they provide any customer service training to their IT specialists.
It is not enough that their staff is knowledgeable. How they interact with your people also matters. Good customer experience helps build a stronger relationship between the MSP and you, the valued client.
If they don’t agree, then you must remind them that they are in the business of providing service to customers like you. If they do not take customer service seriously, then you should take your business elsewhere.
With help from an experienced Managed Services Provider in Ohio, such as Info-Link Technologies, you can maintain better business operations to reduce downtime and gain better peace of mind.