4 Qualities to Look for When Hiring a Managed IT Service Provider

Think of a time when you had a customer service experience that was above and beyond what you expected.

Perhaps it was a time when you had to call a technician to your house for home repairs, and they took the time to explain some other issues you could expect in the next couple of years and warned you to start budgeting for it.

Or maybe you had to take your car to the mechanic, and while they were fixing whatever issue you had, they went ahead and topped off your fluids for free.

For me, I reflect on a time when I went to the store to stock up on pet food, and the cashier offered to load it in my car since I had my hands full with a hungry toddler.

Good service matters, and it makes you eager to work with that company again.

Technology support is no different.

Managed IT service providers (MSPs) must have the technical expertise to resolve complex issues. However, you don’t want to work with a company that forgets about the customer service component.

The best MSPs strive for high-quality service, combining IT expertise and customer satisfaction.

As a technology services provider, The KR Group’s managed services team strives to go above and beyond for our customers by listening first, communicating clearly, and showing humility.

If you’re looking for an MSP to assume the responsibility of your IT environment, here are a few other ways the greats stand out from other MSPs:

  1. They employ a highly technical workforce.
  2. Your customer satisfaction is a priority.
  3. The MSP team communicates clearly
  4. The company is committed to pursuing innovation.

Whichever MSP you ultimately sign a contract, you want to use these guidelines before signing a contract to ensure they with solve your IT needs and build a professional relationship with you.

 

Look for Managed Service Providers with a Technical Workforce

If you’re looking for an MSP, it’s because you want quality IT support. Your goal is to delegate this portion of your business operations, and ideally, you would like to take a backseat to the responsibility of IT.

So, the first quality you’ll want to evaluate with potential providers is the skill level of their engineering team; you don’t want to sign a contract with an MSP only to find out they don’t have to knowledge you need.

The good news is MSP engineers are typically more knowledgeable than the internal alternative that most small to medium businesses can afford to hire.

Great MSPs (the ones you’ll want to work with) should take advantage of the business model of managed IT services and employ multiple highly skilled engineers to address complex issues with all their customers.

MSP Hiring Pro Tip:  Ask your prospective MSP what training and certifications their MSP engineers and managers have and consider how their response would benefit your IT environment.

 

Great MSPS Communicate Clearly

Great MSPs are also great communicators – although communication is key for all service providers, regardless of the industry.

Things you want clear communication on from your MSP include:

 

1. The Ongoing Status of Service Tickets

Regardless of the length of your contract, you want throughout the course of the agreement, it’s important your MSP will communicate with you on recurring problems and your agreement as a whole. A man providing professional IT services

Good MSPs will schedule quarterly business reviews with your leadership team to ensure they’re meeting your expectations through the term of your contract.

Additionally, your MSP can embed themselves into company by attending and participating in leadership meetings. The goal is to have your MSP function as your IT department, which means they can provide input on how technology can assist or guide the direction of your business.

It also gives your MSP a chance to update you on your IT environment and hear about any ongoing issues.

MSP Hiring Pro Tip:  Ask your prospective MSP how often they schedule reviews and what they go over in them.

 

2. Pricing Additions or Changes

You’ll also want to know early-on what you can anticipate paying for your managed IT services contract.

Your MSP might not have an exact quote ready when you initially ask for more information about their services, but they should give you an estimate on how much you can anticipate spending.

You’ll also want to understand what is and isn’t covered by the recurring rate of your contract and any conditions for holiday or after-hours rates, and

MSP Hiring Pro Tip:  Ask your prospective MSP to break down how they quoted your cost of managed IT services.

 

Great Managed Service Providers Ensure Customer Satisfaction

As you’re thinking about what it would look like to trust an MSP with your IT, you’ll likely worry what ongoing information you’ll receive about your technology. 

You might not need an update on every single thing your MSP sees or handles, but they should inform you on things such as recurring issues, system updates, billing changes, etc.

One specific area of communication you’ll want to talk to your prospective MSP about is their notification process for service requests.

MSPs triage IT requests based on the impact to the organization as a whole. (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.)

You’ll want to find an MSPs that confirms they received your request, alerts you when they start working, and talks you through the resolution once an engineer has addressed it. Additionally, your MSP should ask for your feedback on response time and other service-related issues in a customer satisfaction survey.

MSP Pro Hiring Tip:  Ask your prospective MSP what their customer satisfaction scores are and how they triage requests.

 

Great MSPs Pursue Innovation

It’s no secret how fast IT evolves.

What’s cutting edge today will likely be standard technology in a couple of years, and what’s standard now will be obsolete in the same amount of time.

So when it comes to finding an MSP, you want a provider to stay on top of changes in IT and lead your company into the future of technology.

For example, if you’re a manufacturer or shipping business, IoT technology is becoming increasingly pervasive and more organizations jump into Industry 4.0.

You’ll want to find an MSP that understands what the latest in technology is for your business and is vigilant for emerging solutions your business might benefit from.

MSP Hiring Pro Tip:  Ask your prospective MSP how they’ve helped customers implement new technology and what suggestions they have for your business.

 

How to Find a Great MSP

Technology support isn’t something you should settle on. If you’re going to pursue managed IT service, you want to work with a provider you trust to give you the best service.

Of course, you want your MSP to have the knowledge and skills to address the systems and solutions within your IT environment, but you also don’t want to worry about communication issues, wonder about the status of your service requests, or be surprised by line items on your monthly invoice. You want to know your MSP values customer satisfaction, including helping you find new technology that could benefit your business.

In other words, when you’re looking for an MSP, you want to choose a great one.

As you’re asking potential MSPs about the type of service they provide, you should asking them about their customer satisfaction scores, response time, and communication policies.

And if you want to learn more about how The KR Group does managed IT services, you can check out our free e-guide.

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