NEWS: Global Mentoring Solutions is now part of the Sherweb family. Click here to read more about the acquisition.

What do you do when you’re buying stuff? Say checking out a hotel or resort, or looking for a new supplier?

If you are anything like me you always check out the community ratings for the short list you’ve worked out – delving into what current or past customers have said about your prospective choice. If you are a regular user of TripAdvisor to plan your travel, or Amazon to buy your books or any of the other user driven platforms – you know what I mean.

In an MSP scenario; Service Desks are the equivalent of the ongoing community ratings your customers are assigning you and is a crucial part of your overall success. Think about it – where else do customers regularly contact the organisation, where else are they so keen to express their expectations, opinions and frustrations? Enlightened CIOs and sometimes CEOs are regularly spending time with their Service Desks to find out what customers think of their service offering – and to see how they can improve it. The power of the customer data collected through these channels is undeniable, but only the enlightened few see its value and use it effectively.

If you are not geared up to properly track, analyze these interactions, both from a ticketing and call clip recording basis you are missing out – seeking an Outsourced Help Desk vendor may be the path of least resistance to do so.

For an MSP, there are even more reasons to focus on the service desk:

At Bid Stage

You can use a visit and performance evaluation of the prospective customer’s service desk to see what they are handling in terms of advice issues, problems and complaints.

It will give you an immediate idea of what levels of service are expected and achieved, how to offer your own service and how to guage the pricing of your own support operation. All while letting the customer see your own brilliant service desk can often be a deal clincher!

At Transition

We’ve won the business, but now we need to take it on board and hit the ground running, winning hearts and minds as we go.

The service desk will show you what the customer is really feeling in terms of pain in their service – you can use this as your ‘hit list’ of service improvements. As part of this, some quick wins with solutions to perhaps small but irritating issues will serve to convert sceptical customer teams and show you’re really making a difference.

You will have already decided what level of service you should use to differentiate your offer. For example, are some customers needing premium services with a dedicated hotline, are others simply requiring a basic self-service type response with a premium back-up at a cost? Or somewhere in the middle?

For Ever More

The service desk provides you with the customer issues and problems to focus on in terms of improving the quality of the service offering. The data you use each week or month to gradually eliminate the problems or issues that are killing the quality of service to a major or minor degree, is there. How you use it is your challenge – it can establish your reputation as a world-class player.

This is the first of a series of articles I’d like to write on this topic which I see as increasingly important for the managed service market. My passion for customer service, after 30 years in IT and general customer service, remains undimmed! I hope some of it comes across and inspires you to act on behalf of your customers. Please stay tuned for the coming articles in this series.