We know that businesses have plenty of choices when it comes to hiring a Managed Service Provider (MSP). Many offer similar services and tout similar benefits. So how does a company in the market for IT support know how to identify the qualities of a great MSP?
Understanding your business’s needs, your team’s personality and what you truly need from an MSP is a good place to start. Once those are identified, it’s time to find the best fit.
6 Qualities of a Great MSP
Beyond the standard offerings and benefits that any MSP provides, here are six things that set Atlas apart from competitors, and what we think are qualities of a great MSP:
Extraordinarily Quick Response and Resolution Times
When comparing our response and resolution time to industry standards, we’re able to resolve support tickets before the average MSP even responds to the initial request. The ability to quickly respond to and resolve issues are one of the top qualities of a great MSP.
Clients have a variety of ways to reach us, depending on their services. This may include logging in through their customized portal, submitting support requests through our website or from their desktops, or calling our office. Our administrative staff triage support calls as they come in, passing a ticket request to the next available engineer or updating the person who was already working on it. And, our on-call personnel are available via cell phone between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. to handle after-hours emergencies.
One of the main reasons our resolution time is a fraction of the industry average is that we staff higher-level and certified engineers on our help desk. This is an uncommon practice, but we aim to resolve issues in one call rather than escalating the issue to multiple engineers, whenever possible.
Highly Trained Engineers
Unlike our competitors, we don’t hire entry-level engineers for our help desk. We want clients to have a great experience with highly trained engineers and have their issues resolved quickly.
We also strongly encourage all our engineers to pursue as many certifications and qualifications as possible. We pay for or reimburse for continuing professional education. By hosting internal lunch-and-learns with all our team members, we provide a platform for engineers to share what they learned through recent courses and programs.
Totally Transparent Co-Managed Services
We are the only MSP in Tampa Bay that allows clients to use the management tool we use as part of our co-managed services. We are a strong partner with ConnectWise, a business management software suite. We grant our clients access to ConnectWise so that our engineers and our clients’ in-house IT professionals can truly work together, alongside one another. This is just another of the top qualities of a great MSP.
In ConnectWise, in-house IT staff can see the dashboard, allocate tickets and resources, check the status of open items and communicate directly with our team. This arrangement provides our clients with better visibility, more streamlined collaboration and full transparency. It makes it easier for us to serve them, and they better understand what we’re doing and how.
Fourth among the top qualities of a great MSP involves employee retention. We’re proud to say that the first eight employees to join Atlas – which was founded in 2006 – are still with the company. In the last three years, our employee retention numbers have been 92%, 100% and 96%, respectively. These strong retention numbers are particularly notable because the company has grown in revenue and employees year over year.
Our clients have said one of the things they enjoy about working with us is that they can call and talk to the same person over the course of months or years. This isn’t the case with many other MSPs, with employee turnover being rather common in the industry.
Consistently Happy Clients
It’s difficult to give exact statistics to illustrate client retention, given the number of variables that come into play. However, we can say that in recent years, our client retention percentage has been in the upper-90s, out of 300 active customers.
We’re proud of our ability to keep our clients happy and foster long-term relationships, especially during years of significant company growth. We consider thist one of the important qualities of a great MSP.
Our Delightful Personality
We take our work and our commitment to our clients seriously; but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Our company’s core values are: Relationships, Integrity, Communication and Humor. We recently worked with a business coach to make sure our team members all espouse these values and that we are “walking the walk.”
We’ve been listed as one of the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Best Places to Work every year since 2014, and Florida Trend’s Best Companies to Work For since 2015. Our office includes a billiards area, gaming lounge and beer fridge. We offer our employees gym memberships and host company events like our annual Chili Cook-off and Ugly Sweater Party.
We also get involved in the community, supporting and sponsoring causes we believe in. It’s all about the relationships, and our team forms genuine bonds with our clients and community partners.