All You Need and Deserve
Are you satisfied with the quality of customer service that your Managed Service Provider is providing you? For many businesses the answer to this question is ‘not completely;’ while the thought of all the effort and expense required to make a change may persuade you to make do with what you have. Without a doubt, operating this way is sure to impede your operational efficiency; it also creates distraction from what your company does best.
If you find yourself in this predicament, consequently, then you are probably missing more than just responsive capable service for problems you can see. To understand how many gaps you have between what you are getting from your Managed IT Service Provider and what you truly need for your organization, you need to evaluate your expectations. It should be noted, the fundamental purpose of outsourcing some or all of your IT needs to a MANAGED service provider is to provide management. We consider management responsibilities to include both tactical and strategic planning and execution. If you are paying for a professional service then you should, undoubtedly, expect that the underlying management duties you outsource should include an executive management function. Without someone providing executive oversight, the middle management function is not likely to be successful in executing your overall company strategy.
The issue that should be addressed, “if your Managed Service Provider is not capable of managing the basic daily support services adequately, then how can you expect them to provide any executive management services?” The real cost of marginal IT function is, above all, the marginal execution of your business strategy. While you may justify staying with the “OK” service level for daily support issues, due to the cost of changing providers, can you really justify the risk of not executing your long-term strategy?
At this point, you may be asking yourself if we are describing your situation. Therefore, consider the points below as you evaluate your MSP relationship.
Does your MSP provide strategic support, or do they merely respond to problems as they occur? Strategic planning within an organization should be a formal process. That is, strategical planning should drive full inclusion of all executive and middle management. If you are outsourcing IT then you should expect (require) formal participation from the IT management resource. When this resource is from an MSP, the MSP should understand your business flow well enough to help you establish a business strategy and ensure you align the IT strategy with your overall company vision. If you have an MSP that lacks sufficient business acumen to fulfill this type of responsibility, then you should probably evaluate your approach/perspective of where IT fits within your strategy/organization.
Frequency of Recurring Problems
Is your MSP tasked with resolving the same problems repeatedly? If this is the case, your MSP is likely working in reactive mode. Consequently, this is an example of poor strategic management within the MSP organization. Likewise with high quality customer service, you should not expect to be encountering the same problem repeatedly over a long period. A qualified IT MSP will indeed routinely identify the root cause of the problem and resolve it in a manner to prevent the problem in the future.
Response to Complaints
Does your MSP respond to complaints in a timely manner? Do they keep you informed about progress for more difficult problems that take some time to resolve? Does your MSP give you feedback to let you know they understand your problem? Do you get an estimate of time to resolve the problem when they issue a work order? Are work orders issued promptly when you enter a complaint? In the event the answer is no to any of these questions, you can benefit from an improvement in the quality of customer service you receive.
IT System Maintenance and Reporting
Does your IT MSP adhere to a defined Preventative Maintenance schedule and do they provide reports to show you how well your system is running? This activity is essential to defining negative trends and proactively responding with correction before the situation escalates into a problem that results in downtime, errors, etc. Correspondingly, you should be receiving periodic system health checks, accompanied by any notification of or recommendations for improvements.
Response to Mistakes
Whenever human beings are involved there is the potential for human error. Although a good system will be set up to minimize the opportunity for human error, it cannot be eliminated. Mistakes will happen! When your IT MSP makes a mistake, how to they respond? Do they seek to cover the mistake or explain it away as something other than their own mistake? Conversely, a good MSP will acknowledge their own mistakes, and promptly set about mitigating the current problem and making adjustments to prevent a future occurrence. One of the most prevalent ways people learn is from their mistakes. If someone does not recognize making a mistake, they likely will not learn from the mistake….and will probably repeat the mistake.
Additionally, any service organization should routinely ask the opinion of all people receiving service as to the quality and effectiveness of the service. If you have to stop and think when what the last time someone asked if you were satisfied then they probably do not really care.
In conclusion, if your company experiences issues with any of these topics, you would do well to research your options for improvement. Some of these problems may be resolved with your current managed IT service provider, by working to mutual understanding of your expectations and adjusting the performance terms of your contract to give you a mechanism to ensure compliance. In many cases, the MSP may not have the company culture, knowledge, and experience necessary to make the relevant adjustments. Hence, this is a judgment call you will need to make.
About Custom Information Services
Custom Information Services (CIS) has a good track record of delivering customer satisfaction in all of these areas of concern. Feel free to contact CIS for a free consultation to discuss their capabilities and any other IT concerns you may have.