MSPs (Managed Service Providers) handle various tasks for their clients; some are urgent, and some are repetitive but must be executed to ensure best practices. MSP technicians perform a lot of basic tasks regularly, such as monthly maintenance activities, onboarding new clients, patching. But when they have to deal with urgent issues, they may put the basic tasks on the back burner. It ultimately results in clients' dissatisfaction, and it will be no surprise if it leads to a breakup.
This article will consider the main reasons why MSPs often fail to retain their clients and review how automation can help fill in their managed services' gaps by optimizing their daily activities.
Why MSPs often fail: Challenges
We will discuss the reasons why a service relationship breaks.
Ineffective help desk/ticket management system:
Staying on top of support services is essential for MSPs to ensure continued satisfaction and retain customers. They have to manage a regular influx of IT service requests, and if their support and request management is fragile, it will lead to:
- Poor tracking of support requests.
- Undocumented requests (or poorly documented requests).
- Inability to generate performance reports.
- Ineffective communication between the MSP and its clients.
- Poor prioritization of tasks.
These issues lead to more precarious situations such as slow down in request management, incomplete requests piling up in the helpdesk system, and even worse– their customers will be unhappy.
Imperfect quotation process:
For anyone in the services industry, including MSPs, mastering the art of preparing quotes is fundamental to the job. When MSPs struggle to deliver clear quotes, it results in unpleasant interactions with the clients. Often, their clients ask for prices on basic requests such as turning on MDM of full disk encryption, and they are met with weeks ( or sometimes months) of red tape– one meeting after another with no progress.
Ineffective patch management:
MSP clients are frustrated with the manual patches deployment process given the application vulnerabilities and security threats arising from them. Many MSPs do not have an effective patch management system; once a client raises an issue, they initiate the search and deploy patches. It makes companies vulnerable to security threats, as when an MSP technician downloads and installs the patch, it may be too late.
Proper firewall configuration is missing:
Setting up a firewall is the first step many companies take to fend off malicious threats, but many managed service providers' firewall management and strategies are not robust. The main issue clients face is that firewalls are not enabled or properly configured.
Problem with software installations:
Another issue facing clients is that it takes weeks or months to install programs/software. A remote software installation is an essential task, but it seems like a challenge for many MSPs.
How to tackle main operational challenges
Managed Service Providers can stay successful if they can find a way to keep their expenses down and enhance their employees' productivity. A logical step may be to hire new staff to stay on top of support services and provide exceptional customer experience, but it may not be cost-effective for all.
Alternatively, MSPs can turn to automation and leverage various tools to increase efficiency without hiring additional staff. IT process automation will also help MSPs alleviate many routine and time-consuming tasks and free up their teams who can now focus on other significant business initiatives and improve their image.
Automation of daily activities such as incident management or ticket management, where bots can handle the tasks without any human intervention, will improve response time and efficiency levels. This way, MSPs can demonstrate that their services are much more valuable to their clients.
The role of automation in improving MSPs' processes
It is high time MSPs must understand the significance of doing more with less. If they can be efficient and effective without increasing their expenditures, they can achieve more success and a higher level of scalability. By investing in automation, they can also counter stiff competition, decreasing profit margins, and budgetary restrictions. When automation does the heavy lifting, MSPs will deliver consistent results and accelerate growth which are the objectives of any MSP while utilizing fewer resources.
Overall, MSPs can leverage automation to:
- Make their internal time-consuming and repetitive processes more efficient, for instance, patch management and data backups.
- Offer their clients the best user experience and fast response by automating helpdesk, onboarding, and billing activities.
Here, we present five use cases of RPA to help MSPs improve their services and stay competitive.
5 cases of RPA in Processes Improvement
Use case #1: Helpdesk
At a time when the MSP market is increasingly becoming saturated, a good customer relationship is always beneficial for a Managed Service Provider. MSPs can outshine the competition by leveraging RPA to establish a robust incident management and support ticket system.
Instead of manually interacting with the trouble tickets, MSPs should automate this function– from routing and signing tickets to initiating remediation and then tracking the ticket response to make it more efficient. This way, MSPs can improve their services and ensure all of their client's needs are addressed.
Use case #2: Billing and Quotation
In the early days, Managed Service Providers followed the break-fix pricing model where a client would request the support of an engineer when something goes wrong and then pay the time spent on resolving the issue and for any resources/materials used.
Fast forward to now, MSPs use many ways to charge their customers– value-based billing, per-device billing, flat rate billing, tiered billing, and so on. With various pricing models, the billing needs of MSPs have also changed. To maintain a healthy relationship with their clients, timely and accurate billing is essential for MSPs.
Instead of handling it manually, where MSPs also face the risk of errors that can hinder the efficiency of the billing department, implementing an automated billing system can ease the burden and allow them to operate with autonomy. The sooner this function is automated, the better the clients are not very tolerant of billing errors.
Similarly, an automated quotation generation system allows MSPs to be more responsive to their clients. Bots can handle the process of creating full-fledged quotes with product details and then submit and track them without the need to re-enter any data.
Use case #3: Patch Management
The number of security breaches is increasing every year, and so is the cost of cyber threats. Therefore, MSPs must take a proactive approach to handle security issues, and Patch management is one of the ways for them to keep their clients safe.
Patch management involves scanning network devices for missing software updates, downloading these patches, and deploying them to the client's machines. Patch management is a time-consuming activity, but overlooking it will have serious consequences, making MSP clients more vulnerable and prone to cyber-attacks.
Patch management is not only a critical step but also a key opportunity for MSPs to demonstrate that their clients' devices are secure from malicious activities and people intending to damage their IT systems. Automating this process makes sense, so MSPs can uniformly and timely propagate updates to target systems as soon as a new release, update, bug fix, or application becomes available.
Automated patching offers several benefits- enhanced endpoint security, improved IT productivity, reduce manual errors, and simplify compliance reporting. MSPs will handle various patches from a single console, deploy them network-wide when convenient, and keep their IT assets secure from endpoint vulnerabilities.
Use case #4: Remote Monitoring and Management:
MSPs remotely monitor and secure all clients’ devices on their network, perform any software changes, and keep an eye on all machines. An MSP business is a 24/7 job, and remote monitoring and management is the actual work that any service provider would do for their clients.
MSPs must continuously monitor the health and performance of all systems, so a break-fix service would not work here at all. The client does not have to stand beside the system to check any problems. If any issue develops, even during the weekends or late at night, the MSP technicians are responsible for fixing it quickly.
Instead of driving to the customer’s location to check the performance of all systems, RMM tools would save time, money, and resources and allow MSPs to review everything remotely and proactively address all issues.
Use case #5: Onboarding
Every client is different, but many onboarding activities are repeatable from one environment to another. It is time-consuming, and MSPs can face accuracy and security issues when manually performing onboarding. An automated and smooth onboarding makes for a great start to a client relationship.
This article discussed several key challenges that undermine the relationship between an MSP and its clients. We also reviewed the five best ways MSP can leverage automation to tackle these challenges.
If you are an MSP looking to automate your internal process, we recommend ElectroNeek, a trusted RPA vendor that empowers MSPs with all the tools they need to deliver excellent services. It is an easy-to-use automation platform for MSP internal activities and clients' routine process automation. ElectroNeek is the only RPA vendor with a one-of-a-kind business model with no commercial license expenditures that significantly increase MSP margins and allow them to grow their businesses exponentially. If you want to know more about ElectroNeek products and services, then book a demo today.