What’s in your contract?
Managed services can be a complicated world. When an organization decides to outsource their IT services to a managed service provider (MSP) at some point, a contract will come into play. Contracts are meant to set expectations for both the MSP and the customer, but not all contracts are created equal. Do you know what you are getting for your monthly fees? How do you know if you are receiving what you paid for?
Let’s breakdown a few things to look for in a managed services contract:
Services – What are you getting every month?
Many MSPs will offer things like patching, monitoring, auditing, and warranty tracking as part of their service. Make sure you understand what this all entails and how the services will be delivered to you.
Many fixed-priced contracts will include break/fix support as part of the monthly fee. Does your contract clearly state what is and is not covered? Do you get surprise bills? Some providers will exclude certain types of service and bill you separately. Understand up-front what you may be billed for.
Responsibilities – What are the MSP expectations and what are the customer expectations?
Do you know what happens in the event of a hardware failure? What happens if someone needs to come onsite after-hours? Do you have to provide physical access to your building?
Make sure you establish a clear chain of command and responsibilities before you start your contract. This leads to less frustration and finger pointing down the road.
Availability – When is my MSP available?
Most MSPs have a support desk as well as on-call access. Do you have to pay extra for those services?
In the event that an issue arises, you want to know that you can access the team and receive the needed support as quickly as possible.
Response – When will I see you? How quickly?
There are many ways you can reach your MSP these days, but how quickly do they respond back to you? Having a provider that treats you like a priority and responds quickly is key in keeping your business running smoothly.
Resolution – Does your provider promise guarantee resolutions?
It can be hard in the technology industry to promise a resolution, but many will promise an action plan. Find a provider that will not only respond quickly, but will also get to work right away.
System Requirements – Does your environment meet the minimum standards for service?
Many MSPs will establish a baseline of technology needed in order to receive services. Often times, this means upgrades to a customer’s network before they are able to start their contract.
Contract Termination – How much notice do you have to give?
If you read the fine print of your agreement, often you will find terms stating an amount of time you have to give notice should you choose to terminate the agreement. Always review this carefully. You never want to be “stuck” with a provider just because your contract states you have a 6-month obligation to them.
Fees – Are there things hiding in your contract?
Clearly define the fee structure for your contract including out-of-contract fees and inflation increases. No one wants to be surprised with a high bill and your MSP should be upfront with you about what might be an additional charge.
Customer Service – What happens if I’m not getting what I paid for?
In the unfortunate event that you aren’t getting what you paid for, what will the company do to make it right? We are all humans and sometimes mistakes are made, but the company that provides the best customer service shows its true value.
How does Kidwell stack up?
Services – Kidwell offers a full managed solution that provides all of the standard proactive services along with clearly defined reports and assessments that help a customer understand exactly the exact health of their infrastructure
Responsibilities – We start communication from day 1 to set clear responsibilities and expectations so there are never surprises when you are in need of service.
Availability – Kidwell provides a service desk and technical staff, as well as access to our on-call technicians 24x7x365. If you need us onsite, we will be there within 2 hours ready to assist.
Response & Resolution – Kidwell will respond and put a plan in place right away.
Contract Termination – We offer flexible contract terms that meet the customer’s needs. We never want you to feel “stuck” in a contract that no longer serves your needs.
Fees – We put it all on the table. Our contracts may have a few more pages, but they make sure you know what you are getting for your monthly fee and there are not additional surprise extras behind curtain number 3.
Customer Service – Customer service should be at the heart of everything a MSP does. We treat our customers as true partners. If you run into a problem, we are going to make it right. We want our partners to be successful. Customer service is hard to write into a contract, but it’s our number 1 focus every day.
Managed services contracts can be complicated, but if you partner with a honest and customer-driven MSP they can be a rewarding agreement for business success.