The quality and value of outsourced IT support and cyber security services range widely across different provider organizations.
Several factors play into the level of quality that a managed services provider (MSP) delivers. These include:
- Knowledge and ongoing education of the staff
- The staff’s natural level of concern for other people’s business issues
- Management’s oversight of customer case statuses and resolution plans
- The deployment and usage of system monitoring and customer service software
- The size of the support organization
Here are seven qualities to look for in an outsourced IT support organization, whether IT support for common issues or more complex technical problems.
They return calls and emails promptly
When an IT support issue arises, it’s essential to get someone on the phone or get a timely response to an email or web form submission. There’s little more frustrating in business than not getting help when there’s a problem.
Their organization is the right size
Everyone needs time off. But if half of a two-person support team is dirt biking in the desert when the top-performing salesperson can’t print a document (true story), that organization may be too small.
If an outsourced IT support organization is too large, the interactions can become impersonal for the customer contacts who need to report issues and coordinate onsite visits.
They let their customers know where things stand
Not all IT issues can be resolved immediately. Troubleshooting may be required. Sometimes research is needed.
When an IT support organization has deployed a customer case management system that displays dashboards and sends out alerts, it’s much easier for the support team to know when it’s time to give a customer an update on where things stand.
They focus on problem prevention
Regular preventative maintenance on servers, workstations, network equipment, and mission-critical applications. Software and firmware patches to protect against the latest security threats. Training end-users about how to avoid phishing schemes.
These are just a few proactive tasks that can stop problems from occurring. A prevention cadence can’t live in people’s heads. An IT support company needs the proper systems to ensure a proactive approach to IT support.
They give each customer access to the customer’s own information
An outsourced IT organization must have an encrypted store of a customer’s various in-house systems and cloud credentials. Those credentials belong to the customer. As such, a customer should have upon-request access to any logins and passwords that they don’t have or that have been updated from what they do have.
They treat a customer’s business as if it were their own
At an individual level, an outsourced IT support team’s staff needs to be the type of people with a genuine concern for the well-being of their customers’ business.
When someone isn’t naturally bothered by a customer’s problem, that can be reflected in the support quality. When management isn’t asking, “Why has this customer support case been open longer than average?” the level of support may reflect a lack of oversight.
They create ongoing value for each customer’s business
As with any outsourced vendor, the continued goal of an outsourced IT organization should be to create value for its customers.
In the case of IT support, this value should go beyond putting out fires. It should be about becoming a partner that helps improve each customer’s overall benefit from using technology.