Deciding which managed IT services provider (MSP) to contract with is the most significant decision in the onboarding process.
You want to make sure whichever provider you chose will both solve your IT needs and build a professional relationship with you.
As an MSP, here at Sagewood Technical Services, some of the qualities we strive for and believe the best MSPs possess include:
- Employing a highly technical workforce
- Communicating with customers clearly
- Ensuring customer satisfaction
- Pursuing innovation
Employing a highly technical workforce
While the best MSPs try to exceed your expectations in every area of services, these four aspects are paramount for providers to stand out in the world of managed IT services.
From a technical perspective, highly technical staff is imperative to address your IT needs and provide quality service.
Quality MSPs have the ability to solve all of your IT problems without having to repeatedly escalate them to a more qualified technician.
One of the benefits of managed IT services is the ability to rely on the knowledge of highly-skilled techs. Since MSP techs allocate their knowledge and time to multiple organizations, you have access to the knowledge and skills of an IT tech who otherwise might be out of your budget.
Great MSPs should take advantage of the business model of managed IT services and employ multiple, qualified techs to address complex issues with multiple companies at the same time.
In addition to knowledgeable techs, great MSPs have a highly technical leadership team.
When not only the techs but staff all the way up to the managers and executives understand the complexities of IT, you (and other customers) only benefit.
Communicating with customers clearly
Great MSPs are also great communicators – although communication is key for all service providers, regardless of the industry.
When your IT network has an issue and you’re waiting for an MSP tech to resolve it, communication from your MSP can help set your expectations and assure you that they’re looking into your problems.
Things you want clear communication on from your MSP:
Many MSPs offer contracts for 1, 3, 5, or more years. During this time it’s important your MSP will communicate with you on any daily or weekly problems and your agreement as a whole.
Good MSPs will schedule recurring reviews to ensure they’re meeting your expectations through the term of your contract.
This cadence allows a chance for you and your tech to check-in outside of handling pressing issues.
You can evaluate what is going well, what isn’t, and if anything needs to be changed moving forward.
After your MSP has audited your IT network, they’ll quote you a price for any upfront costs and recurring monthly fees for services.
They’ll explain if there are any conditions for holiday or after-hour rates, and what your monthly fee covers.
They’ll also run through what situations would fall outside of your contract and will cost you time and material. For example, if you have a contract for 75 users and need to add another user, set up will fall outside of your agreement for 75 users. User number 76 will fall outside of your agreement until they’re incorporated into your monthly billing cycle – which varies across providers.
3. Great MSPs ensure customer satisfaction
Communication correlates with how satisfied (or unsatisfied) you are with your MSP.
Poor communication can leave a bad taste in your mouth toward an MSP. On the other hand, great communication can ease even the most unfortunate of circumstances. Communication isn’t the only part of the customer satisfaction picture, though. One of the more important tenets of customer satisfaction is response time.
MSPs triage IT requests based on their implications. (If a non-critical Windows application isn’t working, it won’t receive the same priority as a network failure halting production at a manufacturing plant.) However, you should not have to wait weeks to have even a minute request fulfilled, and a reputable MSP will keep the line of communication open to update you on receiving, scheduling, and fulfilling the request.
Great MSPs not only communicate with you about response time, but they also ask for your feedback on response time and other service-related issues in a customer satisfaction survey.
Customer satisfaction surveys are a straightforward way for MSPs to ensure they’re meeting your needs and to learn what areas they can improve in.
4. Great MSPs pursue innovation
Great MSPs are also capable of leading you into the future of technology.
Education institutions, which are frequent candidates for managed IT services, can rely on a reputable MSP to help them implement technology into their classrooms as it becomes increasingly pervasive.
Likewise, in industries like manufacturing or shipping, the Internet of Things (IoT) is an emerging technology, which promises to take companies into Industry 4.0.
A reputable MSP will work with you to implement the new technology available for your industry.
How to find a great MSP
When you’re looking for a company to provide your managed IT services, you want to make sure you choose a great MSP.
You don’t want to worry about communication issues, lacking customer service, or the inability to meet your innovation goals.
Having a highly technical staff also ensures your provider knows how to solve even the most complex of your issues.
When you’re reaching out to MSPs you’re hoping to work with, we encourage you to ask them about their customer satisfaction scores, response time, and communication policies.