IT Managed Services Provider: 5 Signs It’s Time to Find a New One
You may have been with your IT managed services provider (MSP) for a long time. They seem to do “okay” for your business, so you don’t think twice—it’s simply not as high a priority as all of the other things on your plate right now.
Sticking with your IT MSP out of habit, however, can cost you more than just money—it can cost you productivity and unplanned downtime too. Your MSP should be reaching out to you with IT support solutions that are proactive. In other words, your MSP should be working to make “good” even better for your IT needs.
If your MSP isn’t proactively offering solutions for your business, it may be time to find a new IT managed services provider.
Changing your MSP doesn’t have to be difficult. A proper MSP will take over your current IT services without affecting your productivity at all. The only differences you may notice are a smaller MSP invoice and a network that runs far more efficiently than it did before.
Read on for five signs that it’s time to change MSPs and some tips and tricks for finding the right one for your business.
1. Do Your Homework: Research and Reputation
Don’t just rely on reviews and testimonials on their site to see what other people have to say about their business—check the Better Business Bureau and Google search your MSP’s complaints to see what their website isn’t telling you. You are checking for complaints that make sense, not generic complaints that seem to be hard feelings—such as billing problems or other issues unrelated to services.
It’s also very helpful to see how the MSP has responded to complaints:
- Did they communicate with the complainer?
- Did they offer solutions for the complaint?
- Did the complainer change the review and mark it resolved following the MSP’s solution?
Is Your Current MSP Maintaining Its Reputation?
If you feel like your IT managed services provider has left you far behind, don’t be afraid to call other clients using the same services and ask them how the provider is treating them. Are the MSP’s other customers feeling the same disconnect that you are? Look for the following:
- Poor communication
- No follow through on promised updates or upgrades
- Inability to handle issues in a timely fashion
- Constant turnover in your dedicated tech team
- Changing invoices or service level agreements
- Changes in management that affect the way your services are provided
- Bad attitude from the support team when you request service
If you find frequent complaints that mirror your own, it’s a sure sign that your MSP isn’t as good at providing IT solutions as they claim to be.
Iconic IT, for instance, has pages of testimonials to back up our claims and boast excellent services and strategic IT solutions.
Do You Have MSP Buyer’s Remorse?
Your MSP isn’t performing the way they promised they would. Unplanned downtime, lost data, outdated equipment, and other IT hassles seem to be a part of daily life for your office. Your IT solution just isn’t fitting your needs. This isn’t what you signed up for!
Maybe you didn’t do as thorough a job in researching your MSP as you should have before you signed on. Now, you find that your IT managed services provider isn’t a good fit for your organization. You see that other MSPs have far better ratings and much higher client satisfaction than your current one.
Buyer’s remorse is a signal that you should be looking for a new MSP.
2. Is Their Customer Service Working for You?
Dealing with poor customer service can be frustrating, especially if you need answers right now. Calling an IT help desk that isn’t responsive is useless when you are in the middle of an IT crisis. Every minute that you spend chasing down support and playing phone tag with customer service is one of lost productivity.
Does Your IT Managed Services Provider Deliver Excellent Customer Service?
It’s all about the attitude on the other end of the phone. If you dread calling your MSP for any type of customer service, they are not a good fit for your business.
Excellent customer service is more than just offering help. Iconic IT believes customer service is an experience and a journey from the first phone call all the way through to finding an IT solution that addresses your issue.
Does the customer service desk genuinely seem to want to help you, or are they reading some carefully scripted lines with no real effort to meet your requests? Are the people on the other end of the phone friendly and personable, or do they make you feel like you are bothering them every time you call?
How willing are they to put effort into making sure your needs are met and your concerns are addressed?
Poor customer service can take many shapes, from the tone of the initial contact to the level of help they are providing. Other examples of poor customer service can include:
Long wait times on hold: There really is only so long you can listen to canned elevator music before your blood boils and you develop serious doubt that your call is actually important to them.
Constant transferring of your call to others: A good customer service agent will make sure your call is transferred to someone who can provide you the help you need.
Rudeness or no empathy for your situation: Even if your customer service agent may not understand the exact issue you are calling about, they should have empathy for the frustration you are feeling. There is never a reason to be rude to customers on the phone or to make them feel like they are anything less than a priority.
Repetition: Your IT managed services provider should be able to pull up your information based on a few key account details. Asking for repetitive information or not being able to find your account based on the information you have on hand is not only frustrating; it’s very unprofessional.
At Iconic IT, we are proud of our responsive customer service desk, timely solutions, and friendly attitudes.
Does Customer Service Provide You With the Answers You Need?
You don’t call customer service to discuss the weather or the score from last night’s big game. You are calling them because you have an IT issue that your MSP is contracted to fix for your business.
Is your MSP difficult to contact? Do they promise to return calls but never follow through? Do they attempt to address your concern or give up without answers if the problem is complex? Do they redirect to unhelpful literature—such as their troubleshooting website—or are they willing to go the extra mile for you and provide valuable content along the way?
Responsiveness, professionalism, and a good attitude make for a great customer service experience.
Your IT managed services provider should treat you like a valued client every time you call. If your MSP makes you feel like an afterthought rather than their main focus, it’s time for a change.
3. Are They a Real Partner and Trusted Consultant or a One-Off-Job MSP?
The key to a great working partnership with your IT services provider is trust. Do you trust that your MSP is doing the best for your business’s IT needs?
If your MSP seems disconnected from your business budget or long-term goals and is recommending change simply for the sake of change, you are no longer working with a trusted consultant. Your MSP should treat you as a partner and make sound decisions, with your approval, for the betterment of your business. Your partnership continues long after your service level agreement is signed.
How Often Do You Hear From Your IT Managed Services Provider?
If it seems the only time you hear from your IT managed services provider is when the bill is due or they have to come out to make a service call (for a price, of course), that does not show that your MSP considers you a valued client. Waiting until things break to fix them is not a viable model for any IT services provider to follow this day and age—which brings us right to our next point.
Is Your MSP Proactive or Reactive?
Your MSP should have a plan in place to proactively upgrade, update, and check your servers, network, and devices before they break down. Waiting until there is an emergency for a preventable incident is uneconomical and usually the direct result of an MSP that does the bare minimum to get by.
Is Your MSP Providing You Reliable, Predictable Invoicing?
Your MSP should have provided IT consulting before signing you up for your current plan. During this initial evaluation, they should have analyzed your budget. When you signed your service level agreement, you were ideally signing a binding document with all charges clearly explained.
Games and surprises are only fun when they don’t involve being overcharged by a partner you’re supposed to trust. Your charges should be predictable each billing cycle. There shouldn’t be any strange, unaccounted charges or fees on your IT service provider invoices.
You should never feel that your IT solution involves throwing money away for the sake of bankrolling your MSP. If you have a feeling that your MSP is no longer sharing your business values and goals and sees your business as an “opportunity” rather than a valued client, you need to change your MSP.
4. Are They an Advisor and Consultant or Simply a Service Looking for a Buck?
Remember that your MSP should work seamlessly within your business. That means they should be available in good times and bad, whether it’s a routine system upgrade or a data breach. Your MSP should be more than just an IT solution—a good small business IT managed service provider is a valuable resource for the overall success of your organization.
Does Your IT Managed Services Provider FIll In the Gaps?
If your IT managed services provider’s technology solutions seem to be letting you down, continuing to use that MSP isn’t the right move for your company. Your MSP’s strategy should be:
- Long term
- Unique to your business goals
Your IT services should be forward-facing and comprehensive while also taking into account your business’s short-term needs and goals. Your MSP should share a strategy that covers your long-term goals, too. Check your current agreement and make sure it’s a complete, big picture IT solution that covers more than just “break-fix” situations and short-term goals. There shouldn’t be any gaps in your current IT strategy and your long-term IT goals.
Does Your IT Managed Services Provider Look at the Big Picture?
Your MSP should recognize that there are many levels of a comprehensive IT strategy. They should be proactively involved in your organization, not just a team that drops in to tweak devices and occasionally update software.
One place that MSPs often fall flat is by failing to involve or train their client’s employees in the IT solution. Your employees should be offered training:
- To use new software
- In cybersecurity awareness
- To spot any and all security threats and issues and report them immediately
- To know how to react to any technology disaster—internal or external
If your MSP isn’t providing routine employee interaction with your teams, they are missing out on the opportunity to provide your workforce with the tools and knowledge they need to be an effective gatekeeper for your network security. Excluding your employees from training and information exchanges makes them far less likely to embrace the ideas, preventions, and solutions your MSP recommends. Since employees are your number one risk to your network security, it’s vital your MSP offers cybersecurity awareness training.
You should never doubt that your MSP is working alongside you and can be trusted to make the right decisions for your company. If you have a suspicion that your MSP isn’t treating your business like a priority or sharing your vision, it’s time to look somewhere else for your IT managed services.
5. Is Your IT Managed Services Provider Upfront and Transparent?
It’s very common for IT companies to use highly technical language or legal speak when defining their services. Complicated language can include a deliberate vagueness that can mean anything to your MSP at any time.
Do you fully understand what your current MSP agreement says? Somewhere between legalese and technical jargon is a small piece of the agreement that both parties can understand. You will need to rely on your MSP’s explanation of what the terms, coverage, and limitations of the agreement mean for the rest of it. If you don’t fully understand your agreement, you’re setting yourself up for a surprise when what you thought would be a routine upgrade caused your IT budget to take an unplanned hit.
Hold the Jargon, Please
Your MSP should have given you a clearly written, jargon-free service level agreement and made sure you understood what you were signing before starting the engagement. Anything that was confusing and unclear should have been explained at that time. Your service level agreement should clearly outline:
- What is covered?
- What are the total monthly charges?
- What type of IT help desk services should I expect?
- What are the limitations of the agreement?
- Is there an avenue to change the service level agreement if necessary?
- How much support can I expect under this service level agreement?
Your IT managed services provider should never encourage you to sign up for a service plan you don’t fully understand.
Did Your MSP Do Their Research on Your Business?
A good MSP researches your business from the moment you contact them. Your IT solution should always be tailored to your unique organization and consider the size of your company, your ultimate goals, your vertical, and your current network infrastructure. This allows the MSP to create a customized package for your business.
You may be trapped in a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all service level agreement that leaves you under-protected in some areas and overly compensated in other areas. Your MSP should have gotten to know your company before offering out-of-the-box IT strategies that don’t necessarily reflect your business’s needs.
If you feel like the true star of your MSP’s service level agreement is the agreement itself instead of your business, you need to shop for a new IT managed services provider. You should never feel that you are just a number on their books or just another client. Your business is special, your goals are important, your needs matter, and your MSP should treat you with the respect your company deserves.
Is It Time for You to Change Your IT Managed Services Provider?
All too often, businesses stick to a “that’s the way we’ve always done it” mindset and refuse to make important changes. But your IT service solution is far too important to ignore. You need to evaluate your current MSP to make sure they are still making the right decisions for your company. Remember that your MSP needs to be a trusted partner for your business. Ask yourself these questions about your current IT provider:
- Are they maintaining their reputation? Despite a strong start, your MSP may be starting to lose cohesion and relevance. If you’ve been with them for a while already, make sure they’re following through on what they promised in the beginning.
- Is the customer service desk easy to work with? If you’d rather drink expired milk than call the “800” number when you need help, it’s surely time for a change.
- Are they a trusted partner? If you don’t trust your MSP to provide you with solid, cost-effective IT solutions, they may be more interested in your checkbook than your business.
- Is your MSP an advisor and consultant? If your MSP doesn’t update you on potential issues or reach out to you to make sure your IT solutions are still effective, they are no longer sitting in a true advisory or IT consulting seat.
- Is your service level agreement easy to navigate and understand? If your service level agreement reads like some obscure code instead of easily understood language, you may be getting more (or far less) than you bargained for when you signed it.
- Do you feel that your current MSP is meeting your needs? Are they trustworthy, and are they giving you the best value for your IT budget?
If you answered no to these questions, it’s time for a change. Let Iconic IT show you how IT MSP services should be delivered.
Iconic IT is now offering a FREE, no-obligation consultation to evaluate your current IT solution and make sure you are getting the right solutions based on your unique company needs. It’s not hard to change your IT managed service provider if your current one is no longer working for you. Iconic IT will “break up” with your current provider if you decide to move forward with us, and our 90-day, money-back guarantee means you won’t be saddled with buyer’s remorse again! Contact Iconic IT and let us evaluate your current IT strategy to make sure the IT managed services provider you have now is giving you the respect, services, and value your business really deserves.