Managed services providers (MSPs) spend considerable time focused on next-generation opportunities like cloud computing and mobile device management (MDM). But for some MSPs, I suspect it's time to get back to basics. Among my recommendations: Take a close look at your help desk services. Here's why.
I concede: MSPmentor didn't spend much time covering help desk services during this site's early years. But gradually, I began to drink the help desk Kool Aid. Your help desk is a managed service since it generates monthly recurring revenues (MRR). And your help desk manages some of your most critical customer interactions.
Think of it this way: Apple Stores are filled with innovative, shiny new technologies. But ultimately, it's the Apple help desk -- the Apple Genius Bar -- that drives the customer experience, and keeps millions of customers loyal to Apple.
In House or Outsource?Should you outsource your help desk and NOC (network operations center) services, freeing your staff up to focus on higher-margin services? Or should you keep such services under your roof, staffed by full-time employees who understand your corporate culture, customer platforms, and service delivery model? The answer to that question is a bit like the on-premise vs. cloud computing debate -- one size does not fit all.
A growing number of companies are offering outsourced NOC and help-desk services. There are the established names like Cloud Services Depot, NetEnrich and Zenith Infotech. And there are emerging players like Bobcares, Global Mentoring Solutions (producer of GMS Live Expert), Live Virtual Help Desk and Zendesk. There's even an emerging organization, called NetworkedHelpDesk.org, which strives to promote superior customer service. And ConnectWise recently introduced a help desk kit to help its MSP partners master customer service.
Regardless of your help desk choices, it's time for MSPs to get back to basics. Cloud is sexy. Mobility is cool. But an effective help desk -- backed by carefully tracked performance metrics -- can turn your customers into raving fans. And weak help desks can send your customers running for the exits.
Which would you prefer?