Nobody likes fielding phone calls in the middle of the night, especially after a full day of work. But when a client pays for after-hours support, you better be ready and willing to deliver that service, even if your mind and body is elsewhere.
Smaller MSPs tend to struggle with managing after-hours support. That makes sense when you think about it, doesn’t it? The smaller your business is the less help you’re going to have available to you. It’s just the way it is — so to be successful as a small MSP, you must be able to manage your time effectively if you want to succeed.
Your resources are oftentimes limited when you’re smaller in size. You don't have the luxury of focusing all your efforts on a single service delivery area when it’s just you and a couple of employees. You’re typically juggling unrelated tasks and hoping for the best. But after-hours support isn’t something you can just ignore until you get to it. When a client needs help, you usually have to react quickly.
Before determining the best way to deliver after-hours support, you must first ask yourself the following question, “Should I offer after-hours support?” Even though many organizations, especially larger ones, are looking for on-call support, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to offer it. If you don’t offer after-hours support, don’t be surprised if it puts you at a disadvantage.
If you decide to have it as an offering, there are a few options for you as a small MSP.
One way to deliver after-hours support successfully is by extending your support hours to a few hours before and a few hours past standard business hours. From my experience, most support calls come in between seven in the morning and seven at night, so by starting a little earlier and ending a little later, you can respond to the bulk of your support calls.
Even though it’s not convenient for your support team (if your MSP is mature enough to have a support team), another way to handle after-hours support is to designate an on-call tech. However, if you go this route, ensure that it’s easy for your support team members to schedule, view, and rotate their on-call hours.
Lastly, you can outsource after-hours support. Your options are to contract with an individual outside of your organization or partner with a call center.
It’s usually necessary for MSPs to offer after-hours servicing to their clients. If you decide to, don’t make things complicated. Pick a direction and go with it!