Twenty-four seven, after-hours servicing is a fact of life for most MSP teams. This level of service allows MSPs to address and resolve clients’ infrastructure issues regardless of the time of day. It’s necessary to provide this service since downtime can inflict a significant cost on a client’s satisfaction as well as the long-term relationship between the MSP and its customer.

With more organizations demanding 24/7 support, MSPs that don’t offer after-hours servicing are at a serious disadvantage. After-hours service availability sets exceptional MSPs apart from ordinary MSPs. Indeed, clients will invest in an MSP that recognizes the true importance of business uptime and the need for normal business operations.

The fact is, infrastructure failures can happen at any time; after-hours servicing allows MSPs to rise to the occasion and resolve critical issues without difficulty. Moreover, ensuring 24/7 support for clients across multiple time zones means the team is always on call and always working toward resolving an incident.

A 24/7 MSP must hone and perfect its after-hours support. The three main factors to consider when thinking about running a successful 24/7 MSP are internal policies, processes and team operations.

Internal after-hour policies

Typically, labor covered under a managed service agreement (MSA) extends from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Labor that’s conducted beyond the hours specified under an MSA can be billed at 1.5-times the regular rate if it’s performed after 5 p.m. or weekend hours.

Implementing a policy like this ensures fewer emergency after-hour calls from clients and forces them to consider whether an emergency is worth the extra cost. This helps to ensure that the MSP’s team only has to handle real problems after hours. At the same time, the extra money can incentivize the MSP’s employees to handle the after-hour emergencies.

Internal processes

Using email or texts to automatically generate alerts has been a widely used practice since the early ‘90s, but it’s not an effective and efficient way of receiving critical alerts. Event notifications are a crucial part of effective remote monitoring and management (RMM) and missing even one single email or text can result in delayed incident resolution.

A better solution is to use intelligent IT service alerting (ITSA) systems. ITSA tools automate the notification process and ensure that engineers are immediately notified of critical incidents. Finding an ITSA tool that lets MSPs prioritize the severity of incidents, lessens alert fatigue and ensures that issues are dealt with based on their severity. ITSA systems must provide persistent mobile alerts and should continue to notify the engineer until he or she acknowledges the alert.

At its core, MSPs should use alerting applications to minimize the time it takes until engineers are apprised of the event, so they can reduce the amount of time it takes to repair or mitigate the occurrence.

Internal team operations

MSPs need to invest in digital schedules to share the workload. Digital on-call scheduling enables MSPs to better manage the burden of after-hour calls, so that team members can take turns being responsible for the client’s issues. Since responsibilities are rotated and these are presented in the digital on-call scheduler, no one person is responsible for all of the client’s IT outages.

With digital on-call scheduling, management can also work more diligently to minimize alert fatigue and burnout. Alert fatigue often results from engineers receiving too many alerts rather than having the burden of alerting distributed among team members. If alert fatigue is not effectively managed, many engineers will burn out and switch jobs.

By simply re-visiting these three factors, MSP teams can implement and offer a sound, 24/7 after-hours service to clients. After-hours servicing allows MSPs to achieve customer service excellence and solidify client trust in the process.

Photo: Atstock Productions / Shutterstock

Christopher Gonzalez

Posted by Christopher Gonzalez

Christopher Gonzalez is an experienced technology content marketer and copywriter based in Boston. He has experience working for innovative marketing agency and software organizations in the Greater Boston area. He has written for online publications relating to digital marketing and software technology. Christopher has an MBA with a marketing concentration from Bentley University.

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