For most organizations, the IT service desk is a costly necessity that never seems to provide a good return on investment. Now companies utilize managed service providers (MSPs) for outsourced service desk solutions in response to this gap.

While this strategy can improve profitability and provide a higher quality experience for end-point users, it is vital that you choose the right MSP partner.

Frequently, that is often easier said than done. In recent years, the MSP and service desk industries have become quite crowded, making it challenging to identify which providers can offer true value to your organization.

We have identified seven attributes of an exceptional managed service provider. As you’re researching prospective partners, make sure that the MSP exhibits these vital characteristics!

1. Helps Organizations to Achieve Their Strategic Goals

The true measure of a managed service provider’s success is if they can help your organization achieve its strategic goals. As you discuss your organization’s needs, ask the MSP candidate how they plan to address specific pain points. While the core purpose of any outsourced service desk provider is to improve the quality of the user experience, top MSPs will be able to tie this into your company’s long-term goals. They should outline how they will add value to your company both immediately and as you grow and scale your business.

2. Delivers Efficiency Over Time

After identifying how the managed service provider will help your company achieve its strategic goals, you need to determine the efficiencies they will deliver over time. Working with an MSP should be a long-term partnership. They should be able to scale and improve upon the efficacy of services as your organization grows.

For instance, let’s say that your company is in a prime position to experience exponential growth at the outset of your partnership with an MSP. At the start of your partnership, your organization employs roughly 2,500 people. Over the next three years, you’ll plan to add 2,500 new employees annually and reach a peak total of 10,000 members by the end of year three.

A quality managed service provider should not increase the cost of your support services by huge amounts each year. The marginal cost of supporting each user should slowly decline. However, the cost will never drop to zero because you will eventually reach a point of diminishing returns. Still, the provider should implement processes that improve the efficiency of service until the curve flattens.

3. Views All Problems Through the Lens of Customer Service

The in-house IT team is tasked with resolving a wide array of technological issues. While they can certainly resolve service desk requests, with extensive demands on their time, they cannot always focus solely on the customer service experience. This is where a well-managed service provider will prove its worth.

A great MSP will view every problem as a customer service issue. Whether faced with an integral application crashing or a new employee locked out of their email account, the managed service desk staff should be able to resolve these issues efficiently. With strategic outsourcing, they should also provide a consistent, high-quality support experience for your team.

4. Leverages an Established Process

The most effective managed service providers should also be able to integrate into your organization seamlessly. The provider should have an established tier 1 support process that can be tailored to each client.

Specifically, you’ll want to ensure that the provider has a good triage process so that they can rapidly diagnose and resolve tickets. In addition, look for a provider that implements automation technologies to handle routine routing tasks and other redundant processes.

The MSP’s process should also outline what your staff should do for after-hours emergencies. You want your employees to have easy access to the help they need when encountering an IT issue. This is one of the most vital aspects of working with a managed service provider.

5. Possesses Technical Talent and Interpersonal Skills

Excellent MSPs will also possess a great mix of technical talent and strong interpersonal skills. They should be proficient in working with all of the big-name IT vendors and hardware.

When consulting with a prospective partner, ask what certifications they possess and which systems they are most accustomed to working with. Make sure that an MSP’s areas of expertise align with the technologies that your company uses. Even if you are well-versed in the world of IT and “tech speak,” be wary of providers that rely too heavily on technical terms.

Remember, these engineers will likely be communicating with every one of your staff members at some point. They should clearly relay information to any of your employees, including those who aren’t as familiar with technical jargon.

6. Implements User-Friendly Self-Service Tools

While the managed service provider is there to resolve your staff’s IT issues, it is essential that you empower them to perform a reasonable amount of self-service. With that in mind, seek an MSP that implements user-friendly self-service tools as part of their global service desk solutions.

At a minimum, your staff members should have a way to submit service requests. While a good old-fashioned phone call can do the trick, an electronic ticketing system is much more efficient. The employee will be able to provide the service desk with basic information about the problem, including which app is malfunctioning, what model of computer or device they’re working with, and more. They should not have to repeat the same basic information to multiple personnel, further hindering productivity.

7. Adheres to Industry-Best Practices

An excellent managed service provider will not only have a detailed resolution process, but they will also adhere to industry “best practices.” These guidelines should cover everything from how service members answer the phone to the onboarding process for new hires.

If you are ready to partner with an MSP that embodies these characteristics, then it is time to contact Astreya. Our solutions will turn your service desk into a sound investment for employee satisfaction and productivity.