IT services providers go through a lot to support their clients properly. From handling late-night and early morning service calls and pushing out updates, to tailoring myriad solutions to meet the needs of each end-user – there is no shortage of responsibilities.
That list can grow quickly as MSPs build out their portfolios of services, hire more employees, and take on more clients. Each of those processes can create their set of pain points for IT business owners.
MSPs must balance clients’ ever-changing business needs. It can take months (if not longer) to hire and train personnel for new specializations or to expand their solutions portfolio. Constructing and executing expansion plans brings even more potential challenges, from planning finance growth to stick-handling all the various details.
If properly constructed, an MSP’s solution stack can alleviate some of those pain points. Working with channel-focused vendors that understand the challenges of supporting many different types of businesses is critical, as are partner management consoles and industry-specific integrations. Today, MSPs need the ability to automate as many of their business processes as possible, from client-side alerts and ticket creation to software updates and billing. Eliminating manual steps and potential failure points helps reduce management-related hurdles.
Communication systems are a perfect example. Managing email and phone services for small businesses can be a challenge for an IT team in the most ideal of situations, but with the growing adoption of working from home (WFH), those issues can multiply. Keeping each vital connection operational while simultaneously managing all the back-end processes can be a nightmare without solutions designed specifically for the SMB and MSPs. Here are three of the major pain points every IT services provider should assess before partnering with communications vendors:
Pain Point 1: Lack of System Control/ Management Silos
Imagine the complexities involved in supporting a variety of different voice communications platforms for your clients. Learning the quirks and service requirements can be a challenge for support technicians that need to provide a quick resolution. Managing the charges, taxes, and other billing-related concerns can be just as challenging.
An MSP-centric unified communications platform can minimize these pain points. These solutions remove the data silos, simplify reporting and, when properly configured and integrated with CRMs, PSAs and other management applications, can streamline various processes. Those connections allow MSPs and their clients to improve productivity, reduce payroll, and increase customer satisfaction.
Those platforms also allow providers to easily add or subtract services based on client demand. Unlike traditional phone systems, there’s no need to purchase new equipment or invest a lot of time getting technicians acclimated to the solution – a win-win for everyone. Similarly, with a system like Cloudli's, MSPs gain the flexibility to manage and move extensions, as well as add and remove features. These applications help boost customer satisfaction, renewals and long-term revenue projections.
Pain Point 2: Lack of Support Options
The essential nature of communications systems means MSPs must be confident in their ability to quickly and effectively resolve problems. Can your team swiftly diagnose end-users’ issues, restore service, and answer questions themselves? Or could they triage those issues and let a vendor partner or third-party provider do the heavy lifting?
Most MSPs would benefit from having a bench of UCaaS support technicians answering the phones without having to hire, train and maintain that staff. Partnering with a company like Cloudli makes that possible and profitable. Our team can handle those communications support issues, which can free up your technicians and engineers to sell and service even more high-margin solutions.
Pain Point 3: Taxes, Fees and Other Billing-Related Activities
Some IT services firms avoid technology offerings that require them to collect and pay taxes and fees for their clients, especially those with variable rates or complex formulas. Phone-related services are a perfect example. Few companies want to be responsible for processes that could result in significant penalties and liabilities, if not done correctly.
For example, a New York City-based company could be subject to a long list of taxes and fees, including:
State Sales Tax
Local Gross Receipts Tax
County Sales Tax
Surcharge on Excise Tax
Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District Sale Tax
Federal Universal Service Fund
State Excise Tax
Federal Telecommunications Relay Services Fund (TRS)
FCC Cost Recovery Fee
CALEA (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies) Compliance Fee
Emergency 911 Cost Recovery
Regulatory Recovery Fee
That’s why many MSPs partner with a reputable UCaaS provider that can take the load of calculating the right payment for each client and forward payments to the appropriate local, state and federal agencies. Cloudli helps its partners without compromising other benefits such as pricing and branding control, robust margins, and simplicity. Other VoIP suppliers make MSPs give up one or more of those key channel advantages.