One of the biggest tells that an MSP business is successful is how many calls it receives from customers asking for help. Providing exceptional customer service often starts with the initial MSP help desk contact.
What Is An MSP Help Desk?
An MSP help desk is exactly as it says, it is a support service for the sole purpose of customers to report issues, call if they have questions, or if they need help with a specific issue.
The purpose of the help desk is foundational to an MSP as it’s a way to notify the MSP of any issues that require immediate attention. Furthermore, a help desk filters requests so an MSP owner or teams aren’t flooded with various requests. The most effective help desks are also available during all hours – with a minimum covering usual business hours.
Overall, the help desk is to provide clear directions and steps that a customer needs for their problems. The help desk can also allow filtering email requests in addition to phone calls.
How To Make An Effective MSP Help Desk
There are 8 crucial steps that MSPs will need to take to create a help desk for the first time:
- Design the help desk goals and procedures
- Hire support technicians
- Train the technicians
- Make a schedule
- Create a ticketing system
- Implement a knowledge base system
- Monitor progress
- Look for areas to improve
Here is each step in greater detail.
Design Help Desk Goals And Procedures
Before hiring any staff for the task, it’s essential that the help desk has goals in mind and objectives to achieve those goals. The latter is most important as IT issues vary dramatically. Would it be wise for an MSP to troubleshoot all IT issues that arise, or should the help desk focus on specific tasks and carry forward more complex and time-consuming tasks upward? Depending on the MSP, a help desk can be efficient at handling the former while others might struggle.
That is just one example but defining that and many others before hiring can ensure that once the help desk is created, it can be sculpted in a way that will benefit the MSP and the clients that it serves. If a help desk is disorganized and clients must wait hours for a small issue to be resolved, it won’t reflect well on the MSP.
Hire Support Technicians
An MSP help desk is different than other traditional customer support lines. An MSP will need technicians who know their way around IT and are able to guide customers. Of course, an MSP will already have IT technicians but the question then depends on whether the current team of technicians already have a full workload or not. If every technician has a full workload, then it would be wise to hire more staff to fill in these new roles.
Training The Technicians
Even if the MSP hires experienced IT technicians for the task, there is still a learning curve. Each MSP is different in how they operate and the staff should know about these nuances. Furthermore, MSPs could be using different software tools which technicians might need to learn or relearn.
Retraining will also be necessary whenever an MSP changes business offerings or makes any updates to how the help desk operates.
Make A Schedule
The hallmark of an effective help desk is a schedule to address customers’ needs. What this schedule does is identifies to an MSP when they can expect the most calls during a particular time of the day – as well as day in the week. This allows MSPs to anticipate the busy hours so an MSP can ensure the help desk is available and is fully staffed during those times.
This schedule isn’t perfect but pinpointing a broad range for when an MSP gets the most calls will ensure an MSP is ready to address those requests. Furthermore, customers’ business operations have their own scheduling patterns and so they may be calling during a specific period as well.
Overall, this strategy is to identify when demand for customer support will peak. It won’t be perfect on day one or even week one or month one. However, by watching patterns, an MSP will be able to collect enough data to spot trends with regards to the timing of requests and adjust the schedule accordingly.
Create a Ticketing System
Ticketing systems are crucial as they track time and the nature of the requests an MSP is receiving. A ticket should always be made whenever a request comes in and should be utilized by an MSP in ways beyond knowing what the request is and how to respond to it.
There are a variety of ticketing systems that can be used that an MSP can implement. What matters is finding one that works best with the staff.
Implement A Knowledge Base System
As the help desk helps customers, the pool of knowledge will expand little by little. Each staff will have their own troubleshooting experiences and approaches. Instead of keeping those various skills and techniques to each individual, they ought to be shared with the rest of the team.
As an MSP owner, creating a repository where technicians can store knowledge and support their own help desk is vital to the growth of the team. A tool like Microsoft SharePoint, is a simple to use and popular platform where staff can store this information. It also makes for a quick and easy point of reference for other staff to find information.
Collecting metrics is another vital part for an MSP’s help desk. These metrics provide valuable data on whether a help desk is addressing all the issues and provide performance data. The most important metrics to track are:
- Requests received compared to the number of requests that are completed. This should be measured both daily and weekly
- The average time a ticket remains open
- The average hours spent responding to requests overall and by individual staff
Another way to monitor progress is to be surveying the customers themselves. Even though these customers lack an IT background, they can provide general feedback on performance. For example, whether the advice given was helpful or not, or if it led to their issue being resolved, or whether or not they had to wait a long time for their issue to be resolved.
An easy way to measure that is to send a simple rating system for clients to interact with – a small survey denoting three faces, a sad, neutral, and happy face. Use this to determine how satisfied a customer is with the service they received.
Look For Areas To Improve
Even though a help desk is established at this point, it doesn’t mean all issues are going to be resolved. Even if the help desk that’s set up is excellent in every regard, there is always room for improvement and making adjustments. On the customer end, the metrics above could always be improved such as speeding up response time through various methods. On the business side, an MSP can optimize the system to reduce how much time staff spends on support as well the overall costs of the help desk.
Finding new and innovative ways to improve the help desk to keep it efficient and streamlined is crucial. Especially as the MSP is growing.
About MSP Corp
MSP Corp understands you’ve worked hard to build your business and you want to protect it. With a mission to be a world-class business partner for MSP owners across Canada, we actively seek to acquire and partner with owners looking to secure the value of the business they have built and provide a seamless exit process that ensures business continuity and employee and client stability.
Contact us today to learn more about selling your business and maximizing its value.