After-hours support is something that we all like to keep to a minimum. However, when your top clients reach out to you in the middle of the night with a major crisis, you have no choice but to respond. Businesses and MSPs may stick to regular business hours but cybercriminals don’t. Hackers might even target your client’s business after work hours since they know the networks are not closely monitored during that time.
If you are an MSP, after-hours work is just a part of your job description since people expect IT to work 24/7 no matter what. While after-hours MSP support may sound daunting, it doesn’t have to be a painful process. With a well-managed service desk and some proper planning, you can come up with a strong after-hours support policy and meet your clients’ expectations.
Let’s find out how you can do that.
Define the Scope of Your Work
The first step in coming up with an after-hours support policy involves establishing the scope of your work, which involves identifying your clients’ requirements and defining what can and cannot be done after business hours.
If any of your clients operate 24 hours a day, they need 24/7 support since they cannot afford any downtime. Likewise, if you support businesses that operate in different time zones across the world, you definitely need to provide 24-hour MSP support. In these situations, your support must be high-level and must be prepared to handle all major issues. On the other hand, businesses with regular work hours may not need such extensive support.
Establish Your Support Process
The next step involves establishing a clear process for after-hours MSP support. This step focuses on everything from how to get in touch with you to what type of services can be expected after hours. Clients use different ways to contact MSPs for support, with raising a service ticket being the most common one. However, support requests can also come through emails or phone calls.
You need to clearly explain to your clients how they can get in touch with you after business hours. If support for critical issues does not arrive within a specified time, you need to let your clients know who can be contacted for escalation. For rare cases of onsite support after work hours, you need to specify that there must be someone from the client’s side present onsite while the technician visits.
Once these steps are clearly outlined in the after-hours support policy, you need to consider how you can handle the support requests. Do you need a full-fledged IT service desk? What type of staffing is required to handle the requests? Can your support staff handle critical requests? These questions need to be answered clearly before you proceed.
For small MSPs with limited customers, having a dedicated support desk with 24/7 coverage may be a costly affair. In such cases, they can outsource the requests that come after work hours. GlueConnect is a feature offered by IT Glue just for that purpose. With GlueConnect, you can partner with MSPs from the other side of the planet to provide round-the-clock NOC service and ticket handling.
Pricing Your Service
Pricing is one of the biggest considerations when providing support after work hours. Whether you have a dedicated support desk or you have outsourced support to other MSPs, you are likely to incur incremental costs based on the level of support provided. You need to keep this in mind while establishing the price in your after-hours support policy.
This starts with defining what is considered to be your regular work hours. Typically, most businesses operate from 9 AM to 5 PM. Any requests arising within these hours can be considered normal, and support can be provided as per your terms in the SLA. Any service requests arising after these hours may not be included in the basic service contract and can be billed on an hourly basis.
The key thing to note here is how much to charge for your services. You may charge 1.5 or 2 times the regular price, based on your staffing costs and quality of service.
Key Things to Note
Consider the following factors when coming up with your after-hours support policy:
- Put everything in writing: You need to mention everything in your SLA regarding what your clients can expect from you and how much you will be charging.
- Focus on superior service: With superior service quality, you can command high margins, lower customer churn and boost satisfaction.
- Use documentation for efficiency: With a great documentation tool like IT Glue, you can instantly access the history of an issue and resolve it immediately. This reduces the amount of time wasted on identifying the cause of an issue.
- Establish partnerships: As more and more businesses have started demanding 24/7 coverage, work-life balance has become an issue for MSP technicians and owners. By using GlueConnect to partner with other MSPs, you can easily overcome this issue.
If you have a well-drafted policy and a solid work plan, after-hours support is not that difficult to provide. Always make sure that your SLA is clear and don’t be afraid to charge a premium price for superior service.
IT Glue is the leading documentation platform for MSPs, designed to eliminate waste, improve productivity and help you hit your SLAs better. Head over to the Features page to learn more about how we can help you deliver top-notch support.