Six Ways MSPs Can Win with Help Desk

Here are six helpful hints to make the help desk experience a positive one for you and your customers:
First impressions are everything in business and in life, and nowhere is this more true than in help desk operations. As the most common point of contact between an MSP and the end customer, the help desk is your ticket to a positive first impression. That’s why winning with help desk means that the people, technologies and practices you have in place need to work fast and get the job done right in order to maximize the customer experience.
Indeed, without the backing of an effective and responsive help desk, an MSP will fail to gain customer confidence and fall far short of proving their value. With that in mind, here are six helpful hints to make the help desk experience a positive one for you and your customers:
1. Strut Your Stuff: Keeping your clients operating at peak performance is the reason that help desk services exist. And whether you’re called upon at critical IT moments or under more routine circumstances, your help desk provides you with an opportunity to shine in the eyes of your customers as you show off your technical acumen. So strut your stuff at every opportunity. If ticketing and resolution processes are streamlined and effective, your clients will like what they see, which means you’re likely to earn more business from them in the future.
2. Need for Speed: With every incident that comes into the help desk, no matter how small, remember that everything is an emergency in your customer’s eyes. If you can resolve problems faster, you minimize the impact on their business. When designing or reviewing your approach to help desk, your top priority should be speed and efficiency. Make sure the tools and approaches that you adopt allow you to get organized in advance, get notified about issues quickly and take action promptly so that you can meet your SLAs.
3. Deliver the Goods: Speed is your top priority, but you also have to deliver the goods. So how do you provide quality support, even with limited time and resources?  The first step is to determine common call drivers up front. If your help desk software provides this type of data, you can identify which issues are recurring and put a game plan in place for addressing them quickly. Also, look at ways to create a permanent fix for the most expensive issues and the most easily addressable problems that you’ve identified. Lastly, continue to educate customers and make them aware of self-service functions such as password reset, access to previous tickets (make sure tickets receive quality documentation to make this a useful strategy), suggested answers, training, videos and customer portals. This can eliminate many calls that can bog down your support for other, more pressing matters.
4. Look at the Numbers: It’s always smart to establish clear goals and areas for improvement with your help desk. Publish these goals and timeframes to keep everyone on the same page. As an MSP, key areas for improvement might include understanding which customers are driving the most tickets and identifying the most common requests and the types of issues that are taking the most time for your team.
5. Ask the Customer How You Did: There’s nothing like qualitative data to get a feeling for how well you are performing as an MSP. With help desk being one of your most critical and visible offerings, consider surveying your end users at the end of each support contact, on a set schedule (yearly, bi-annually, etc.) and by contacting them directly via phone or email. The feedback that you receive can be used to help assess the effectiveness of your technician, your approach to resolution and where you are at with your key performance indicators.
6. Continuous Improvement: At the end of the day, good performance is the result of preparation. Make corrections and prepare now so that you can achieve better and faster IT issue resolution for your customers in the future. Start by being proactive with help desk tickets. If there’s something you can add to a ticket to help the next person who encounters the same or a similar problem in the future, add it into the system. If it’s something more complex, would a knowledge base article or a video tutorial help end users or other technicians solve the issue more quickly? Also, keep an eye on recurring issues or certain issues that plague particular customers. This will allow you reach out with tailored assistance and service offerings. Finally, keep the lines of communication between you and the customer wide open. This can only help your businesses grow together.
Want to learn more about help desk best practices for MSPs? Check out these video andSlideShare resources from N-able, where we’re passionate about guiding our partners through the business, sales and technology factors that make for MSP success.
David Weeks is Channel Strategy Manager for N-able by SolarWinds. Weeks has served N-able and its partners for six years across the IT channel. He works closely with the company's top tier partners and major accounts worldwide to understand their needs, provide insight into current marketing conditions, and to offer strategic sales and marketing recommendations. A regular presenter at N-able’s global and regional summits, Weeks is passionate about ensuring the success of N-able's partner base.