Build a Best-in-Class Service Desk

Increase operational efficiency of your service desk with these six principles and take your service provider business to the next level

For the managed services provider (MSP), service desk capabilities play a critical role in the level of service that customers receive and the degree to which those services are delivered efficiently and profitably. In short, the service desk can make the difference between a service provider’s success or failure.

when it comes to profitability, deliver an effective customer service that results in more customers and increasing the efficiency and productivity of staff

There are two cornerstone requirements when it comes to profitability and scaling a service provider business, delivering an effective customer service that results in more customers and increasing the efficiency and productivity of staff. The service desk is pivotal to this success; it can be the difference between a prosperous MSP service provider business and one that is fraught with high operating costs that cannot scale.

The service desk not only provides internal IT support functions but is typically the first point of contact for business users to address their immediate needs and technical issues, it comes as no surprise that global corporations spend almost 164.2 billion dollars on IT support services.

This article offers some key principles MSPs should consider to help ensure their service desk fully supports operational efficiency, optimal service levels and business growth.

top 20% of MSPs rely heavily on automation.. A best-in-class MSP needs to consider PSA and automation as one of their top priorities

Careful Consideration of Automated Ticketing

The ticketing software is arguably one of the essential tools an IT department has in their arsenal, for an MSP it is the PSA tool for others its ticketing software. Whichever you choose managing tickets and automating processes is essential to alleviate the stresses when fielding incoming support issues.

One key consideration when choosing a PSA tool is integration with other software such a CRM or backup software, managing the support process will be much easier if the systems you’re using can work together. IT Glu reported that the top 20% of MSPs rely heavily on automation to manage tickets.

A best-in-class MSP needs to consider PSA and automation as one of their top priorities which enables businesses to do more in less time, with less hassle, which leads to high margins and more time for growing the business.

instituting [self-service portals] should be job number one for any MSP that doesn’t already deliver them

24/7 Self-Service Portals

Providing customers with direct access to opportunities to resolve their issues in the service desk is one of the most beneficial things a service provider can do. Self-service portals offer a significant reduction in the volume of IT service tickets and increase the speed with which issues are resolved. This effort can both cut costs and improve customer service levels and satisfaction. Instituting these capabilities should be job number one for any MSP that doesn’t already deliver them.

Self-service software empowers business users to solve issues themselves without needing calling on the service desk. For example, password-related tickets account for more than a third of all service desks tickets, providing a self-service password reset portal enables a business user to reset their passwords whether, across Active Directory, Azure AD or other systems without any assistance.

Some self-service solutions extend these capabilities to offer identity management functions such as single sign-on like LogonBox to aid businesses in not only managing their passwords and account on a multitude of systems but also being able to then securely access an array of web applications without even needing to maintain or remember credentials for these.

Others provide a knowledge base, a central source for end-users to seek the information they need to overcome other issues such as printer problems. There are several direct benefits self-service tools offer a business; users can resolve problems far faster, the solution is available 24/7 rain or shine, allowing users to resolve issues when it is convenient to them result in happier and more productive customers. Service providers can enjoy reduced call volume, lowered costs and increased margins.

For the service provider, there is also a brand experience at play, offering a self-service portal to clients to enable them to resolve the most inconvenient and time wasteful issues like password resets 365 days a year can have a positive impact on an MSPs business.

All support tickets are not created equal, treating them as such may not be the most effective way tickets should be managed.

Triaging Issues Based on Priority

All support tickets are not created equal, treating them as such may not be the most effective way tickets should be managed.

Using triaging an IT team can better understand and evaluate incident’s per their urgency and its impact on business continuity. A triage process should consider the seriousness of the problem, the business affected, the level of impact across the company, the number of customers or service affected by the problem.

Resolving high-priority tickets quicker ensures smooth functioning of critical business activities and results in an overall improvement in the satisfaction level of the end user.

SLAs are not a stick to beat you with

Defining Achievable SLAs

A Service Level Agreement (SLA) is an agreement between you and your client that defines the services you will deliver, the responsiveness they can expect, and how you will measure performance. When done correctly, Service Level Agreements can help create a successful and mutually-beneficial relationship between MSPs and their customers.

An SLA for IT service desk agrees to provide technical support for a wide variety of services and devices within the business and contains terms around this such as uptime, first-call resolution, and time-to-recovery after service outages. It should stipulate core business hours, so customers are not expecting answers when the office is closed.

Problem resolution sets the expectation of when an issue is expected to be resolved and is crucial in fostering a respectful partnership between both parties. Problem resolution times should be focused on issue severity, ranging from top-priority, urgent issues, usually resulting in lost productivity for the client right down to routine feature requests or improvements to the system. Once a problem is triaged and the appropriate severity level assigned the SLA then acts as a guide on when a resolution can be/should be offered.

You should agree upon a realistic resolution time for each type of problem; if you intend to offer a four hour fix time for urgent network issues, then the client will expect you to have the necessary staffing and resources to achieve this.

When is a Good Time to Avoid an SLA?

In some cases it can be better to avoid SLAs altogether for example if you have taken over an unstable infrastructure which has been neglected or poorly managed, it may be best not to agree to work to an SLA – at least not at first.

There are also cases where you find yourself working for difficult or unrealistic customers that would rather see the agreement as a stick to beat you with; it is worth considering whether an SLA is something that can be avoided.

Identifying Recurring Problems

The chance that an issue coming into the service desk is unique is slim, someone in your client base has had such an issue before. Being aware of these and being proactive in resolving these issues quickly is vital when it comes to growing an MSP business.

Without good record keeping and data analysis tools, the help desk will find it challenging to identify systemic problems easily; resulting in time and wasted company resources spent investigating and resolving the same issues time and time again. If the team is unable to capture vital data, it becomes hard to create adequate action plans to address reoccurring issues and therefore reduce the number of submitted tickets.

Instilling a regular review of past issues is vital in understanding and identifying repeat issues and getting them resolved once and for all.

Leveraging Analytics

The service desk is a focal point for any MSP and as a result, utilising the information that gets collected can be a highly effective way to realise operational and procedural improvements continually.

Measuring an array of areas can help identify operational bottlenecks, infrastructure issues, areas that need processes and more. Analytics data can be used internally or it can be shared with clients to help realise service improvements.

Most actions that take place within an MSP is a data point, it is essential that an MSP has the systems and technologies to capture these consistently.

Conclusion

The service desk plays a central role in a service provider business that can deliver operational efficiencies that result in profitability and growth. These tips are designed to help a company go from early stage to a high performing, high growth, best in class. With its unrivalled combination of capabilities, LogonBox self-service password reset portal is a platform uniquely suited to helping MSPs scale their business while maximising profits.



*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from LogonBox Journal authored by Majid Latif. Read the original post at: https://www.logonbox.com/en/journal/build-a-best-in-class-service-desk/

Majid Latif

Majid Latif

Majid Latif is a product manger at LogonBox.com, specializing in password self-service and identity management solutions, to protect businesses and increase productivity. With over 20 years in IT security, Majid was also part of the team that built the first browser-based, opensource, SSL-VPN, which was merged into the Barracuda Networks SSL-VPN.

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