When done well, managed IT services reduce the time you spend planning, implementing, and fixing the various components of your IT infrastructure. And, it should alleviate the burden technology places on you by outsourcing it to a team of experts.
In fact, if you’re here reading this article about resolving problems with your managed services provider (MSP), you might have rolled your eyes at the first paragraph, and even muttered a few snide remarks.
Your current or previous engagement with an MSP has left you skeptical. Maybe you’re even ready to write off the potential of a managed services contract altogether.
At The KR Group, we’ve met several business owners in this exact position. They were told managed IT services would do amazing things for their business’s technology, but the actual service delivery fell flat.
So today, I’m asking you to think back about the excitement you once had for managed IT services and your dreams of using them to transform your business, and we’re going to look at what might have gone wrong and how you can address it.
Potential Problems Hindering the Quality of Service
Some common problems managed services customers report damaging their relationship with an MSP include:
- Repeat technical issues: Having problems with your technology is inevitable, and you have your MSP to get you through them. However, repeatedly encountering the same issue is a red flag that your MSP isn’t getting to the root of the problem.
- Poor communication: You’re in the dark about when issues are being addressed, ongoing maintenance, and other important IT information.
- Unresolved tickets: You requested service for a problem weeks ago, and it’s still lingering. (Keep in mind that not all IT issues are an immediate priority, but you should at least know where your ticket stands in the queue.)
- Billing issues: Whether it’s hidden fees, miscalculations, or errors on your invoices, few things can deteriorate a relationship faster.
Any of these issues (or others specific to your managed IT services experience) can make you second guess whether managed IT services are right for you. If you find yourself in this position, these are the options you have to consider:
- You can stick with your MSP until the end of your contract.
- You can talk to your provider about changing the quality of its managed IT services.
- You can exit your managed services contract.
Whichever one resonates with you right now, we’ll try to help you better understand what you can do to address and improve your IT management experience.
Option 1: You Can Stick with Your MSP
For some customers, the problems they’re facing might not be impactful enough to warrant considering prematurely leaving their managed IT services contract or confronting their MSP about it.
Whether it is a condition you knew about going into the contract or a minor issue you can easily work around, you have the option to do nothing and wait out the remainder of your MSP contract.
If you choose this option, you can’t expect any changes from your MSP’s service. However, you won’t have to worry about penalties and fees for leaving a contract early.
Option 2: You Can Try and Make a Change
If the problem is enough of an issue for you to do something about it, you can reach out to your MSP about your concerns.
Bringing up the issue, especially if it’s your first time addressing the problem, gives the company a chance to identify your concerns and try and fix them.
An MSP can’t solve what they don’t know is wrong. Having a meeting about your concerns and how the provider can address them is the best way to see if it can make things right before you look for other options.
Onboarding with a new MSP includes fees for an audit and hardware (if required), which you can avoid if your MSP turns things around enough for you to stay in your contract or even renew it in the future.
Option 3: You Can Exit Your Contract
If you’re in the first 60 days of a contract, some MSPs (including The KR Group) allow you to leave without any penalties.
But, if you decide you want to leave your managed IT services contract after that, you’ll be obligated to the terms laid out in your contract, which typically includes paying out the remainder of the contract to exit the agreement.
Before leaving a managed IT services agreement, you’ll want to check your contract.
At the end of the day, you must do what is right for your business and weigh paying out your contract against the poor quality of service.
The best option for your business might be finding an MSP better equipped to handle your IT environment and leaving your current MSP contract.
This option will be the most expensive of the three, though, since you’ll have to pay out the remainder of your contract and pay to onboard with a new MSP.
Leaving Your Managed Services Provider
So, what does the process look like if you decide to leave your MSP contract prematurely? How do you leave one provider for another?
If your contract is near its end, then you inform your MSP you won’t be renewing your contract and start looking for a new one. However, if your contract still has time left, you’ll likely have to pay early termination fees.
1. Have a new IT solution lined up
If you leave your current provider, you need to know what’s next for your IT environment.
This means searching and vetting other MSPs until you find a replacement you’re satisfied with. You’ll want to understand your company’s next steps for IT management before offboarding with your current provider to avoid a lapse in services. Having as seamless of a transition as possible between providers is critical for your business’s operations.
2. Discuss your problems and explain why you’re leaving.
Even if you’re set on leaving and there is nothing your current provider can do to persuade you to stay, bringing up the issue makes them aware of their shortcomings and why you’re leaving.
3. Offboarding with the old and onboarding with the new
You’ll need to finalize the process of leaving your current MSP and beginning coverage under your new provider. We have a whole article on this process, “How to Switch to a New Managed IT Services Provider.”
Making the Most of Managed Services
Dealing with problems with your MSP can be stressful, and deciding how to address those problems is no walk in the park either.
Whatever leads you to re-evaluate your relationship with your MSP, understand you can hope things get better, try to address the problem, or leave your contract.
If you decide to look for a new MSP, you’ll want to make sure the new provider doesn’t have the same – or even worse – issues. And, you may want to review our article “4 Qualities to Look for When Hiring a Managed IT Services Provider” to aid your search.
Additionally, if you want to research a new MSP and are considering The KR Group, you can learn more about how our services are structured in our free e-guide, which reviews everything from onboarding to ticket submission to billing.