Whether it’s because your IT team is overwhelmed, your customers are frustrated, or your current help desk just can’t keep up with demand, you’ve recognized that it’s time to outsource your help desk support to a third-party provider.
Great! Now what? As you’ve probably already discovered, recognizing the problem is only the first step. There are many potential providers you could bring in for the job, but your task now is to select one that’s right for the needs of your organization.
One of the best places to begin is to decide which type of provider will suit you the best. While it might seem like there are many varieties, you can essentially boil them down into three different categories. Here’s a breakdown of each, with some pros and cons to help you decide.
Global Enterprise Help Desk Providers Offer Lower Costs, but at a Price
The largest help desk providers are often names you’ve heard of — enterprise-tier corporations that often operate on a global scale. If you’re starting your search from scratch, the name recognition alone might be what initially draws you to this type of provider, but they do offer some other advantages that you might want to consider.
One area where these providers tend to beat out the competition is on cost. Because global enterprise help desk providers are so large and have such a vast customer base, they can often offer help desk services at a much lower price than their competitors can. If the expense of outsourcing help desk support is your biggest concern, this might make these providers worth looking into.
But be advised that there’s another side to this coin: Global enterprise providers play by their own set of rules. Instead of receiving services tailored to your business, these providers will expect you to adjust your operations to fit into their playbook. They take this cookie-cutter approach with their clients because it makes it easier for them to operate at scale. That’s great for their bottom line, but it may not be a good fit for your organization.
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If you work with a global enterprise provider, you’ll also want to be very mindful about additional costs. While the initial contract or upfront cost might be far lower than that of other providers, you can expect to get regular pitches trying to upsell you on additional services.
These large providers may also nickel and dime you when you need them the most — for example, when you need extra help during an outage, you may discover that additional support comes with an unexpectedly high surcharge. If you do go this route, make sure you read that contract carefully.
Mid-Market Help Desk Solutions Offer Flexible Service but Want You to Keep Buying More
If a global enterprise help desk provider is too big for your business, you might consider a mid-market managed services provider (MSP). Their smaller size means they can be more adaptable, so rather than expecting you to follow their playbook, they’ll be far more likely to provide a tailored solution designed around your particular needs.
MSPs can also be a great option if you’re growing your business. If you’re a small company trying to grow into the mid-market, then a mid-market help desk may be just the helping hand you need to offer support as you go. Rather than trying to grow your help desk after the fact, a mid-market help desk solution can provide you a stronger foundation to work from.
But it’s important to remember that MSPs offer more than just help desk support. As providers, they offer all kinds of IT services you may not need. This poses two potential problems: First, just like with the global enterprise providers, you can expect an MSP to try and upsell you on the other services they offer.
The second problem has to do with where they put their attention. Because help desk services are only a fraction of their overall revenue, these services only get a fraction of their focus. While an MSP may provide bodies to answer the phones, they’re not likely to create a customer experience that goes above and beyond to serve your users.
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This can also compound your headaches in an emergency situation. If you’re a smaller client, then during a crisis, you may not be your MSP’s highest priority, leading to longer wait times and slower resolutions.
Help Desk Specialists Offer Tailored Solutions and Focused Attention
If what you really need is a screwdriver, it doesn’t make sense to buy a Swiss army knife. By the same token, if what your company really needs is help desk support, global and mid-size providers probably won’t be the best fit. They’re simply focused on too many other services to offer the tailored support and focused attention your organization needs.
Fortunately, that’s where help desk specialists really shine. These kinds of help desk providers can offer custom solutions to target your biggest challenges. Specialist providers also have fewer people overhead, making it easier to get things done quickly.
While larger help desk organizations may be more mature when it comes to business intelligence, they’re far less focused on customer service. A help desk specialist provider thinks about problems from the perspective of your users and develops solutions designed with those people in mind.
And as the most public face of your IT department, it really is important to make sure your help desk provides the best possible customer service. That’s the most effective way to build trust with your users, reduce the risk of underground support and shadow IT, and keep your business operations running smoothly even when an issue arises.
Do Your Research to Find the Best Help Desk Support
When you’re looking for a good help desk provider, don’t make any rash decisions. Try to set aside concerns about cost so you can focus on evaluating the kind of service and attention potential vendors provide.
Consider not just what your organization needs today, but what you may need tomorrow as you continue to grow. And always be mindful that this is a long-term partnership. You want to find a provider you can count on for the long haul.