Which is harder, finding a great outsourced IT help desk partner—or firing a bad one?
Sadly, the wrong outsourced help desk can be anything but helpful. Maybe their operating model just isn’t a good fit for your needs. Or maybe they lack the skills to provide you with meaningful support.
If you are unhappy with your help desk supplier and you need to know if the time has come to pull the plug, here are some things to look for in the relationship.
Sign 1: You Need 24/7 Support, But You’re Just Getting “Coverage”
If your definition of 24/7 support doesn’t match what your outsourced help desk considers 24/7 support, it may be time to part ways.
What are some signs that you are receiving “coverage” but not true 24/7 support? Well, the first place to look is what happens during off hours.
Outside of your usual business hours, what happens when someone calls your IT help desk? If they should get a live agent but don’t, you have cause to be unhappy.
For instance, instead of a live agent, does your help desk vendor supply an auto dialer that goes to an answering service during off hours? Or do your users hear a friendly (but often unhelpful) automated message that says someone will help them at X time on X date?
Sign 2: You Need Issue Resolution, But You’re Getting More Issues
Your help desk is in the business of resolving issues. Working with them shouldn’t be creating a bunch of new issues:
- If your outsourced help desk fails to explain issues to you clearly or thoroughly, that can create serious problems down the line.
- If your vendor fails to resolve a sufficiently large percentage of issues, that also creates a domino effect. Unresolved technical issues never go away.
- Then there’s the issue of overall system resolution. What is your provider doing to manage the resolution process to mitigate further instances? If they are doing little, you have little reason to keep them.
Sign 3: You Need to Hand Off Support, Not Do More Hand-Holding
When you picture outsourced IT help desk services, what comes to mind?
A staff of full-time IT professionals standing by to take your calls and resolve your issues? That’s what we picture too.
But some companies aren’t true outsourced help desks and operate more like a staffing service, where they provide you with revolving contractors and contingent workers. While this can certainly augment your IT help desk capacity, there is a catch: You still have to manage these people, which can require a lot more hands-on work than you were picturing when thinking about outsourcing.
You still have to manage their time. You still have to work with other support teams to manage your knowledge base and other help desk functions.
If your outsourced help desk vendor requires too much hand holding, you may find a better fit elsewhere.
Sign 4: You Need Reporting, But All You Hear Is Crickets
How is your First Call Resolution Rate? Is it better than last quarter, above the industry average, or trending in the wrong direction?
If you don’t know, your outsourced help desk provider is providing inadequate reporting, or no reporting at all.
You may discover that your vendor is a “One-and-Done” supplier. They take your calls, resolve your issues, then hang up.
Making sense of metrics? Reporting and trend analysis? Any kind of insight or information about what’s going on in your IT help desk environment? If you’re left entirely in the dark by your outsourced help desk, you won’t be able to see what’s coming your way – and may get blindsided.
Sign 5: You Need Quality Assurance, But All You Get Is Assurances
Quality standards matter. After all, your company didn’t hire a help desk in the hopes it would make things worse.
But if your help desk isn’t meeting quality standards, then you could have a serious support problem – and a lot of angry users – to deal with.
A company that cares about help desk quality (which hopefully would be all of them) will want to make sure their vendor has a robust, documented quality assurance plan.
And simply having the plan isn’t enough: Ask your help desk partner what precise steps they need to measure their performance against their standards – and yours.
If your current IT help desk company is failing when it comes to the level of quality of their service delivery, and if they have no plan in sight for monitoring, measuring and managing their quality of service, you are wise to start looking elsewhere.
Sign 6: You Need a Knowledgebase, Not Excuses
One of the beauties of IT help desk services, if we can put it that way, is that most calls are resolvable … because they have been resolved before.
Many tickets can be opened and closed quickly because the help desk provider maintains a knowledgebase that covers every known issue with every known user type – and every known platform, device and application.
In a healthy partnership, your help desk vendor shares this knowledgebase with your IT staff, so they’re aware of past issues and the solutions to them. They don’t hoard this information and require you to answer three riddles correctly before you can cross the bridge and enter their domain.
If your IT help desk company maintains a poor knowledgebase, or if they maintain an accurate and up-to-date knowledgebase but deny you access to it, you may need to head off on a quest—to find a better supplier.
Sign 7: You Need Help Desk Services, Not Regular Pitches for Other Services
Some of the larger managed service providers offer outsourced help desk services as just one of many other products and services, everything from managed hosting to cybersecurity audits, from SaaS to cloud infrastructure.
Those providers can be a great fit … for a company that needs all those things. But for a company who only needs help desk outsourcing, partnering with a large one-stop-shop can result in a lot of cross-sell and upsell offers you may not want – and more attention being given to bigger customers.
The Best Outsourced IT Help Desk Is the One That Fits Your Needs
IT challenges can be frustrating for users. A poor-fit outsourced IT help desk vendor can be frustrating for businesses.
To solve both issues and get the best ROI possible from the partnership you have with your outsourced help desk company, run their performance through this seven-point health checkup. If they have two or more of these telltale signs, that’s your sign to start looking for a new help desk provider.
Need some help with that? Check out our guide, How to Choose an Enterprise Help Desk IT Support Company