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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreement (SLA)

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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLAs are the foundation of your MSP business. They are essential to building strong client relationships and must be clear, reasonable and well-constructed.

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10 Things I Hate about End Users

Posted February 8, 2016by Mary McCoy

10 Things I Hate about End Users

Working in IT, you have a love/hate relationship (I'll let you mentally fill in that ratio) with your end users. Curious about the most common grievances, we reached out to the online tech communities of Spiceworks, Mango Lassi and Reddit to ask members what irked them the most about the end users whose sites they support. It turns out you all have a lot to say on this matter because the responses flooded in! After three very entertaining and enlightening threads, we've narrowed it down to the biggest offenses in a list we're calling 10 Things I Hate about End Users. 

If this name sounds familiar, a tip of my hat to you for recognizing it! With it being February, we're celebrating the season of love by putting a managed IT services spin on some of the greatest rom-coms. In this latest installment, we celebrate the film adaptation of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, 10 Things I Hate about You. 

 

1. When they generalize every issue, saying there's a problem with the Internet or server

End_users_generalize_every_issue_saying_theres_a_problem_with_the_Internet_or_server.png

If you've ever faced a similar situation, this can definitely be frustrating. Just know, however, that your end users are rarely going to understand the technical aspects of their business. If you need them to provide you additional or more specific information in order to deliver stellar support, you have to ask the right questions and be able to translate the state of their environment in terms they'll understand so that they learn for next time.

2. When they don't bother to learn - they've been fated to never be "good at computers" 

end-users-dont-try-to-understand-computers.png
Man, this one's frustrating! It's as if they think computer skills are just something certain people are born with. Good thing it's in your genetic code, or you'd be out of a job.

3. When they think they can do your job better than you can

clients-think-they-can-do-your-job-better.png

It can be tempting to lose your cool, but don't. Yell at them in your head.

10-things-i-hate-about-you-you-suck-quote.gif

image source: https://media.giphy.com/media/10QdQvsM3HHQxW/giphy.gif

 

4. When they think you can fix anything, and call upon you to fix EVERYTHING

tech-support-is-interstate-down.png

This idea that techs are seen as the go-to people for everything also came up in our previous blog post, The Biggest IT Myths in Need of Busting: Can You Grant My Every Wish? One tech even admitted he was called upon to fix a stapler.

ten-things-i-hate-about-you-technicians-dont-always-have-to-be-what-clients-want-them-to-be.gif

image source: http://37.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m35pjq179q1rrv8mvo1_500.gif

 

5. When they don't give you any head's up about change requests

end-users-dont-give-heads-up-change-requests.png
As Regional Sales Manager at Continuum, Matt Hubbell warned against this very situation in How to Account for Client Change Requests & Prevent Scope Creep. If you have clients that experience frequent employee turnover, factor that in when drafting your MSP agreement.

6. When they don't understand when and when not to reboot...

end-users-dont-understand-reboot


...or think this counts

end-user-turn-off-monitor.png

10-things-i-hate-about-you-frog-dissection-scene.gif

image source: http://media1.giphy.com/media/QQzwyzzcQlRII/giphy.gif

7. When they abuse their ticketing privileges because they need you NOW

Screen_Shot_2016-02-07_at_8.18.40_PM.png

Screen_Shot_2016-02-07_at_7.21.42_PM.png

Then, you have clients that take this to a whole other level...

Screen_Shot_2016-02-07_at_7.25.07_PM.png

Non-descriptive emails marked as urgent make it challenging for you to prioritize which tasks to complete first. Perhaps it's worth going over the differences in ticket seriousness. Create documentation around examples of mission critical issues so they know when situations actually require urgent attention. Perhaps you could even devise and encourage clients to embrace a system of tickets codified to reflect the level of support required. For instance, you could ask them to name email or ticket subjects "MISSION CRITICAL" for the bigger issues and "Attention Needed" for smaller fixes.

Just hope that they are truthful with you...

end-users-send-help-emails.png

This may be something you'll want to address with these clients in your semi-annual or quarterly business reviews (QBRs). Your Service Level Agreement (SLA) shouldn't only cover what's expected of you. You need to make sure you regularly review client expectations, as well.

10-things-i-hate-about-you-about-anyone-deserve-dont-Favim.com-141911.jpg

image source: http://s1.favim.com/orig/201109/10/10-things-i-hate-about-you-about-anyone-deserve-dont-Favim.com-141911.jpg

 

8. When they ask for ridiculous or unfeasible configurations 

Screen_Shot_2016-02-07_at_7.30.22_PM.png

anything-else-10-things-i-hate-about-you-gif.gif

image source: http://45.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lodtb25RTP1qcon7ao1_500.gif 

 
9. When they don't take security awareness education seriously

Screen_Shot_2016-02-07_at_7.37.29_PM.pngSimulating attacks is just one of several drastic measures you can take to improve employee security - here are more!


10. When they don't read your emails, or worse...

end-users-dont-read-emails.png

Yes, end users can drive you up a wall, but let's face it - you need them just as much as they need you. Sure, this list points out their faults, from misrepresenting situations to failing to try to understand them. Still, you can't place the blame entirely on them. Have you set clear guidelines for what will and won't be tolerated? Have you attempted to help them become more technologically savvy by teaching them the basics or sending helpful newsletters with security tips and tech best practices to minimize the need for tickets? Once you change your outlook and see end users as students capable of learning, instead of nuisances you're forced to lecture, you may have a change of heart.
 
10-things-i-hate-about-you-dont-actually-hate-end-users.gif
 
Did you enjoy this post, and you want to read the full threads it's based on? Catch up here to hear from your peers!
MSP Guide to Managed Services SLAs  [white paper]

Meet Mary! Mary McCoy is a Demand Generation Programs Manager at Continuum, where she's worked for over two years. Mary primarily manages the MSP Blog and has consulted with hundreds of partners, lending website, blog and social media support. Before that, she graduated from the University of Virginia (Wahoowa!) with a BA in Economics and served as digital marketing intern for Citi Performing Arts Center (Citi Center), spearheading the nonprofit’s #GivingTuesday social media campaign. Like her school’s founder, Thomas Jefferson, Mary believes learning never ends. She considers herself a passionate, lifelong student of content creation and inbound marketing.

Topics: IT Community

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MSP Guide to Managed Services SLAs  [white paper]
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