What you really want to know is: Will this company deliver what they promise? Will they minimize our downtime and keep us productive? And will I be glad that I chose them? Here are three factors you should consider to help you answer those questions.
If you’re considering a new Managed IT Service Provider (MSP) for your business, you probably know how difficult it is to assess them objectively. Many MSPs tout objective measures like Average Response Time and Mean Time to Resolve. These are important measures, but they can be manipulated by responding before a technician is ready to work on a problem or closing a ticket before the problem is truly resolved.
Great MSPs Get the Job Done
A Managed IT Service Provider does far more than patch software, monitor networks and install an antivirus suite. For many companies, an MSP serves as an alternative to an internal IT team. At companies with internal IT resources, an MSP should allow that team to offload a significant amount of their non-core workload. Either way, MSPs actively support your users and your network on a daily basis. Great MSPs should be able to prove they do these things for their clients.
● They have a strong process for proactively keeping your network up-to-date, including patching.
● They plan and recommend projects well before they need to be completed. They give your decision-makers time to consider and approve projects, and they complete most projects on time and on budget.
● Their helpdesk is in-house, and when clients’ employees have questions or face technical challenges, their helpdesk staff resolve them efficiently.
● When a technical challenge impacts multiple people at your company, the provider scales up the resources dedicated to the problem so they can resolve it quickly and recommend a short-term workaround if necessary.
● An account manager should actively seek information about your business goals so they can make the recommendations necessary for your technology to support you.
● They aren’t afraid to discuss risk and want to make sure that you understand the level of risk on your network. This includes network downtime, hardware failures, cybercrime, and data loss or data theft.
Great MSPs check all of these boxes, and you should ask a prospective MSP to prove they do these things for their clients.
Great MSPs Keep Your Employees Happy
Managed IT Service Providers know who pays the bill. Technicians are probably going to be very responsive to the highest-ranking members of your company, especially when they don’t have many chances to interact with them.
Most of your company’s technology questions and problems, however, aren’t being submitted by executives. They come from your front-line staff. And those employees should be happy with the service they’re getting from your MSP.
We’ve found that most clients’ employees are happy if the technician helping them is responsive, friendly, efficient and doesn’t condescend to them. Service quality has declined so much in many industries that it’s an outlier experience to simply receive a solution from a person who’s pleasant to work with.
None of your employees wake up hoping they’ll have to talk with a technician to resolve a technology problem. But the MSP’s technician shouldn’t frustrate them even more than the issue itself, either. Unhappy employees can be an even bigger productivity drain than technology problems. Your MSP’s technicians fix problems, they should do it in a way that brightens, rather than dampens, your employees’ days.
When you talk with a potential IT provider’s existing clients, ask them about the experiences of other employees at the company as well as their own.
Great MSPs Provide Stability and Certainty
Three years ago, Wells Fargo was banned from growing (an unprecedented restriction) by the Federal Reserve for stealing money from millions of its customers.
The bank built a bait-and-switch business model, where customers lured in by cheap services were then pressured into signing up for higher-margin services. Managers told customer-facing employees to sign customers up for new services or they’d lose their jobs. When desperate employees couldn’t convince enough customers to sign up, they signed them up without permission. It was a shocking (but not surprising) consequence of a bait-and-switch business model.
Unfortunately, the bait-and-switch business model isn’t uncommon in Managed Services. That’s tragic, because MSPs are supposed to be providing companies with more stability and certainty around their technology needs, not less.
A prospective MSP should have plenty of questions for you about your business technology needs, including your risk tolerance. Based on your answers, they’ll recommend a certain level of service at a certain price. Whatever that price is, they should believe that level of service is a good one for your company, and they should want you as a customer at that price. They should not plan on upselling you later in order to meet a revenue goal.
If an MSP recommends new services or security upgrades only months into the relationship, the odds are high that they were being disingenuous all along. Worse still is if they “throttle” your service by reducing their responsiveness after you reject the price increase. Deception is a terrible way to start a relationship.
When a potential provider makes recommendation on services and offers a monthly rate, make sure the rate includes all anticipated expenses during the first year of service. Ensure MSPs don’t anticipate recommending other services several months into the relationship.
WingSwept is an MSP serving small and mid-size businesses in the Raleigh area and DC Metro area. To learn how WingSwept can help your company, call us at 919-460-7011 or email us at Team_WingSwept@WingSwept.com.