Customers turn to managed services for many reasons, including cost and convenience. But an important reason is the expectation that they'll have someone there to support them when technology seems to turn against them. You'll be judged by the quality of your tech support team, so it's important to build a team that will make you proud – and make your customers happy.
The first step in doing that is to know your customers. Most (if not all) customers of managed services are not the DIY type. They contracted with you because they want you to do it for them. They don’t want to spend hours on the phone or in online chat with you, trying to straighten out problems. When they have to call on you for tech support, they want the problem taken care of quickly and efficiently. They also want support when they want and need it. That means you need to be able to offer after-hours support.
The help desk that provides your tech support may be the source of your MSP’s most frequent and most important personal interaction with the customers. Providing the best service starts with hiring the right people. The best help desk team members will be able to work with little supervision while still acting as part of a team, will be able to multitask, and will project a positive, upbeat, professional manner even in the face of frustration and/or upset or angry customers. It goes without saying that they need to have a strong grasp of the technical issues they will be addressing.
It’s not enough for the members of your tech support team to be knowledgeable and personable. They need to have the right equipment to work with. Of course they need good support software to work with – and they need to receive thorough training in how to use it. Different training methods – videos, classroom sessions, one-on-one training – can be used.
They need access to technologies that will enable them to remotely troubleshoot and diagnose problems at the customer’s site – preferably without involvement of the user. Intel’s vPro technology, coupled with remote desktop services make it easy for tech support personnel to “take over” a troublesome computer and manage it, even if it’s turned off. Remote monitoring and Management (RIMM) solutions allow support personnel to receive alarms and alerts and respond to problems in some cases before the customer even knows anything is wrong.
Help desk jobs traditionally have high turnover. This can be ameliorated somewhat by proper training and a working environment that makes staff members feel like important members of your MSP’s team, but it also means you should take steps to ensure that the learning curve for your help desk process is easy for new personnel. And because turnover may be high, it’s important to maintain a database of previously solved problems, so help desk personnel don’t have to keep “reinventing the wheel” when facing the same problems.
What about the option of outsourcing your help desk services to a company that specializes in that? If you aren’t able to offer top notch tech support yourself, this might be the best route – just as your customers benefit by outsourcing their IT services to you. There are a growing number of companies that offer help desk services along with Network Operations Center (NOC) services.
There are many resources available to help you improve help desk services. ConnectWise provides (for its partners only) a Help Desk Kit, that assists companies in creating a new help desk service or improving the one they already have in place. You can read more about that here.