Today's MSP must deliver "Stellar Customer Experiences." Especially in this fast-approaching commoditization of the market. Master Service Providers strive to build a commonality they intend to scale. This commonality is destroying the originality of the MSP's they service. In enhance making them a commodity.
"Commonality is the road to commodity."
My experience in outsourcing the help desk with two different Master Service Providers I conclude the better option for the MSP's is to build and operate their own. Especially those MSP's who strive to stand out from the crowd. This article explains my reasons.
All MSP's need supporting vendors. However, MSP's must also differentiate themselves from a crowded field.
Vendors who support MSP's are tools to help that MSP deliver better experiences to their end-users. MSP's must search and explore all that can improve on what they do, making them unique. MSP’s have to become more unique and build a model which allows them to increase their added value. However, an MSP's uniqueness conflicts with the Master Service Providers who aspire to scale commonality.
"Dependency on others always causes unawareness to possibilities and leads to complacency."
Master Service Providers live in the world which works for them, and the MSP is forced to live in that world with them. Unfortunately, the MSP's end-user customer lives in a separate world. The bottom line, outsourcing your SLA's first line of contact (the help desk) to a master service provider is a significant risk in controlling your customer's experience. All the noise which a customer presents the help desk goes unheard by you, the local MSP the customer contracted.
This silence of awareness prevents the MSP from learning things through the customers' conversations. The MSP is then limited to generic reports of the number of calls, the number of tickets cleared, or the number of calls still on hold. Everyone in the industry understands these generic reports and sharing them with your customer executives is a complete waste of their time. Soon they can contract with Amazon, or another enterprise provider and get a report online live.
The more generic in reporting an MSP is, the more commoditized their deliverable becomes. MSP's must add more value to the conversations with their customers.
Those who call the help desk you outsourced to are the internal customers of the decision-maker who sign and renew your contracts. Think about the information which is readily available from a caller to the help desk. Your customer's internal customers are a wealth of information for those willing to listen and when appropriate, have the time to be inquisitive.
No outsourced help desk can understand the peculiarities of all your clients better than you and an outsourced help desk will not take the time to be inquisitive.
Outsourced help desks are built to close calls quickly, and they cannot engage the caller in a way the local MSP can. The Master Service Providers will not hire staff based on the MSP's Culture, and those Master Service Providers who believe they can commoditize their culture are sadly mistaken.
Those successful MSP's who have internal help desk. Built them to service their customers based on their own culture. The internal help desk will always be closer to the customer than an outsourced one could ever be. The MSP's with complicated customers will clear through the complexity much more efficient than the Master Service Provider.
"The commoditization of deliverables happens when the deliverable or service is common."
Remember, Master Service Providers can only scale commonality. This commonality approach is deadly to the uniqueness an MSP must have to differentiate themselves from a crowded field.
Master Service Providers can not scale without being common to those they serve. So, delivering services to customers' with peculiarities outside the majority of the customers they serve is impossible, or extremely challenging at best. The more a Master Service Provider influences commonality, the bigger the threat to an MSP's uniqueness. MSP's must become unique to outpace the commoditization of the deliverable. Customers won't pay more for what they deem to be the same as the many others who deliver cheaper.
What can an internal help desk do an outsourced one can't?
The noise of the customer is critical to the awareness of opportunities, and potential pitfalls, which may affect customer experience. Your help desk is your uniqueness don't let it be a commodity.
Imagine this, of course those MSP's who outsource to Master Service Providers probably experienced it firsthand
Your customer calls your outsourced help desk. This customer has an issue with a third-party software they use, or the customer is using a thin client. Both of these things are everyday occurrences with your customers. However, these things are a minority experience of the outsourced help desk who services thousands of customers. The help desk tech answering the call who has limited understanding of thin clients and they struggle in understanding a proprietary software or your customers application. The conversation that proceeds will be a fact-finding odyssey which will challenge the patients of most seeking immediate help.
Requests outside the normal scope are challenging for the Master Service Provider's help desk. The technician will simply do what they can, but rarely will they have the ability or the desire to act outside the Master Service Provider's Box.
Today's commoditization of IT Services MSP's must look to differentiate themselves and strive to then delivery above and beyond customer expectations. They do this by becoming intimate with their customers.
"It is through customer intimacy that value is determined."
Remember, Master Service Providers did not sell your customers, they did not walk through their facilities, they did not witness their workflows, they never sat face to face with the people they will serve, and they will never be as intimate with your customers as you.
"Status quo is the killer of all that will be invented."
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