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5 IT Certifications to Equip Your Techs with this Year

With so many IT certifications out there, we thought we would shorten the list and give you the top five to target in order to grow your business.

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Tonya Barnett

Tonya Barnett has cumulative 15 years of IT experience, starting with 6 years active duty in the United States Air Force as a system Analyst. From there, she worked as a System administrator for an IT Company for 4 years and now works as a Technical Account Manager with Continuum. Tonya is married with two daughters, Kali 12 and Kaci 9.
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Recent Posts

4 Signs It’s Time for a Help Desk Partnership

Posted by Joseph Tavano on May 30, 2018

4 Signs It’s Time for a Help Desk Partnership

At a certain point in the growth of an MSP’s business, there comes a time where the demand for client support outpaces the time (and profitability) of existing MSP resources, ultimately resulting in the need for Help Desk capabilities.

But how should MSPs acquire these capabilities? There are a number of options available, from acquisition to partnership to building it out oneself. However, out of all these options, a partnership with an experienced Help Desk vendor can provide some of the best margins and ROI. Meanwhile, an acquisition can put a business into debt it may never recover from, and building out an in-house help desk solution can lead to skyrocketing general & administrative (G&A) expenses that may make business growth increasingly unprofitable.

So, when is it time to partner for Help Desk services? Here are four signs your MSP business may be ready.

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Topics: Business Growth, Help Desk, IT Services

Confessions of a Formerly Burned-Out Technician

Posted by Tonya Barnett on February 15, 2018

Confessions of a Formerly Burned Out Technician

I started my IT career as a technician, originally working in a high volume call center-type help desk, and then later moving to a desktop support/system admin position for a local IT company closer to home. Within a few years, I found myself at a dead end with no vertical movement within the company. I was not learning anymore, as each person had a niche and refused to train anyone else on that product, which left me and my fellow technicians feeling rather bored with large gaps in our trainings. I enjoyed my job, but my growth was stagnant, and I wasn't being challenged with any new issues. Can any of you relate?

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Topics: Business Growth, RMM, Help Desk

How to Deliver Outstanding Customer Service

Posted by Lily Teplow on December 21, 2017


If you’re going to maintain a steady flow of monthly recurring revenue, you need to build long-lasting business relationships with your customers. Great customer service is key to making this happen, yet many IT service providers struggle in this area. So, how can you take your customer service from just average to word-class?

I recently sat down with Phil Holbrook, Help Desk Technician at Continuum and winner of HDI Steel City's Desktop Support Technician of the Year award, which is given only to those who have gone above and beyond for their company and for their customers. We discussed the importance of customer service and the strategies IT service providers can put into practice to enhance their own customer service levels. Keep reading to discover Phil’s top tips for customer service success!

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Topics: Business Growth, Help Desk

5 IT Certifications to Equip Your Techs with this Year

Posted by Brandon Garcin on June 15, 2017

5 IT Certifications to Equip Your Techs with this Year

Given how constantly technology changes, managed services providers (MSPs) must be lifelong learners. On one side, you learn to identify client needs and how best to support them, and in so doing, gain their trust to create a long-lasting business relationship.

But there’s more to being an MSP. Do you know how to stay on top of new demands in high technology to maintain the awesome customer service and support you already provide to your clients? You can optimize service delivery by making sure your technicians constantly learn new skills and gain new IT certifications. By doing this, they'll be even more of an asset to your company.

With so many certifications out there, we thought we would shorten the list and give you the top five to target in order to grow your MSP business in 2017.

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Topics: Business Growth, Help Desk

The Top 5 MSP Blog Posts of September 2016

Posted by Lily Teplow on September 30, 2016

Autumn is officially in full swing! But before we break out the Halloween decorations, let’s take a look back at the MSP blog posts you couldn’t get enough of this past month! We covered a lot in September, including inbound marketing best practices, how to sell your managed IT services, MSP pricing and much more! Here’s a roundup of the top five posts:

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Topics: Business Growth, Sales and Marketing, Help Desk

From Ants in Your Scanner to Printer Troubleshooting: How Our Help Desk Absorbs Daily Customer Support

Posted by Mary McCoy on September 6, 2016

Are your technicians on call around the clock, working nights, weekends and holidays? Are they forced to field tickets that are a waste of their valuable time and talents? You know which ones I'm talking about: password resets, new user set-ups and even the occasional printer troubleshoot. Fortunately, our partners don't have to sweat these low value, time-consuming tasks. With Level 1 and 2 support available during business hours, after hours, or with 24x7 coverage, our U.S.-based Help Desk and its 190+ certified technicians absorb all of these demands. 

But just what kind of requests have they freed our MSP partners from having to handle in-house? We asked a few of our Help Desk technicians to recount some of their more memorable client tickets for your reading pleasure. Here are 5 tedious and mundane tasks our Help Desk took off partners' hands last month:

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Topics: Business Growth, Help Desk

Why You Need to Offer 24x7x365 IT Support

Posted by Jaq Baldwin on August 10, 2016

If you're an MSP and you’re not providing 24x7x365 IT support, you're cheating your clients out of services they really need to keep their businesses afloat and stay productive.

Still, many MSPs only offer 9am-5pm Monday-Friday coverage over round-the-clock managed IT services. Why? More often than not, MSPs favor extending the support window, but simply don’t have the bandwidth or internal resources needed. Rather than stretch yourself and your technicians thin, you’re forced into only providing coverage during normal week day business hours.

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Topics: Business Growth, RMM, Help Desk

How to Improve Your SLAs with More Precise Terms

Posted by Charles Love on May 13, 2016

Let’s talk about those dreaded service-level agreement (SLA) terms you agree to with your customers. You know, the topics and terms that can lead to very heated discussions in industry peer groups. This is such a contentious issue because everyone views them differently and has a different and usually strong opinion on them.

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Topics: Business Growth, RMM, Help Desk

Change How You Measure These 3 Managed IT Services Benchmarks!

Posted by Ray Vrabel on April 13, 2016

Looking to change how you measure company benchmarks, specifically when it comes to techs, salespeople and help desk staff? If you think you can use the same measurement tools you were using before you implemented a managed IT services model, then you are doing yourself – and your employees and customers – a disservice.

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Topics: Business Growth, Sales and Marketing, Help Desk

The Top 5 MSP Blog Posts of February 2016

Posted by Lily Teplow on March 1, 2016

Spring is in the air, folks! Although most of us won’t miss the icy weather and all that snow, let’s take a look back on the month of February to recap our most read MSP blog posts. We covered a lot of topics this past month, including how to protect clients against Locky ransomware, a breakdown of the three main pricing packages and the difference between a fully-managed help desk and a network operations center (NOC). We even put a managed IT services twist on some of our favorite romantic comedies!

So without further ado, here are the top 5 MSP blog posts our readers couldn’t get enough of this February!

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Topics: Business Growth, RMM, Help Desk, Cyber Security

What Is the Difference Between a Fully-Managed Help Desk and Network Operations Center (NOC)?

Posted by Lily Teplow on February 4, 2016

It can be difficult to manage technical support and front-line user support inhouse, so many MSPs look to third-party options and offerings to help absorb some of these tasks. When doing so, it's important to know the difference between an outsourced Network Operations Center (NOC) and Help Desk in a fully-managed - meaning support is integrated with your IT management platform - business model. So what is the main difference? A fully-managed help desk is where all the end-client interaction takes place, whereas a fully-managed NOC provides back-end maintenance, problem resolution and support for the MSP.

Let’s examine both solutions more closely.

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Topics: RMM, Help Desk

The Do's and Don'ts of Help Desk Customer Service

Posted by Madelyn Newman on October 7, 2015

Your customers are the key to your success. Without happy customers, your business is doomed from the start. How can you keep clients engaged and business booming? The key is great customer service, and your first line of defense is a top-of-the-line help desk.

By providing your IT help desk with the right tools to be successful, you’ll build stronger relationships and establish yourself as a trusted advisor. Developing the proper skill set in your help desk isn’t always easy, but by empowering your team with these best practices, you’ll ensure spot-on customer service at all times.

Here are a few do’s and don’ts that will empower your help desk to provide excellent service all the time.

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Topics: Business Growth, Navigate, Help Desk

5 Principles of Effective Help Desk Management

Posted by Madelyn Newman on August 31, 2015

Face it: your help desk is the face of your company. It's step one for customers looking for answers to their immediate questions, whether big or small. Your customer service is typically judged on clients’ help desk interactions, so you can’t afford to let things slide.

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Topics: Navigate, Help Desk

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: The Benefits of Having Employees Identify with a Team

Posted by Ben Barker on May 5, 2015


If you walked into your office and asked your employees what team they were on, what would they say? Would they reply with the name of your business? Would they even know how to answer? Having your employees identify with a team can be HUGELY beneficial to your business and the overall happiness of your employees. However, that team should not simply be the name of the company or an individual department. It should be more than that. Giving employees the chance to build team names, logos and personalities around the groups that they are working in can provide a stronger sense of identity and purpose behind their work.

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Topics: Business Growth, Help Desk

RESULTS ARE IN: MSPs Would Rather...[Infographic]

Posted by Stephanie Moncayo on April 23, 2015


If you subscribe to our blog or have it bookmarked, you may have seen our MSP edition of Would You Rather. We were overwhelmed by the amount of responses we received and knew we had to share! Between the two rounds, we asked you and your peers to answer sixteen questions, some proving more difficult to answer than others. After a whopping 1,400+ responses flooded in, we're excited to share the best results with the MSP community and encourage you to share with your networks! When it comes to mind-numbing IT tasks, nightmare-inducing cyber threats or time-consuming projects, how do you fair comparatively? The following infographic is just a snapshot of your daily life working in managed IT services, but we hope you enjoy!

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Topics: Help Desk

Would You Rather MSP Edition: Round 2

Posted by Stephanie Moncayo on April 17, 2015


image source:

Last week’s MSP Edition of Would You Rather was a total success and we hope you enjoyed our questions as much as we enjoyed reviewing your answers. Shockingly enough, getting hit with a shovel was no big deal for a lot of you when you had to choose between that and getting hit with Cryptolocker. We'll recap the results from our first round of questions next week, but there's still more fun to be had! Are you ready to play Round 2?

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Topics: Business Growth, BDR, Help Desk

How You Can Benefit From Joining a Peer Group: MSPtv Episode 41

Posted by Tim Lewis on April 14, 2015


Having the right resources to turn to is essential for you to succeed as a business. However, sometimes these resources just aren't enough. Maybe you've hit a wall - you're not sure what you can do to continue your business's success and growth. Have you thought of joining a peer group? Continuum partner and HTG member, Scott Spiro, President & CEO of Computer Solutions Group, joins us in the Boston studio to reaffirm that being a part of a peer group like HTG can significantly affect your business, and your well being, in a positive way. Tune in!

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Topics: Business Growth, Help Desk

How to Judge the Success of Your Help Desk Solution

Posted by Brandon Garcin on January 29, 2015


Just recently, we were able to visit with a partner who does something none of our others do – grades our Help Desk. Each month since mid-2013, Bryan Sullo, Vice President of Clocktower Technology, sends Continuum a report containing metrics he uses to check the success rate of Continuum’s Help Desk, his IT help desk solution.

Clocktower, has been a partner and Help Desk user for the past 5 years. Bryan leverages our Help Desk so he and his engineers can target high value business objectives, primarily focusing on building client relationships. 

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Topics: Business Growth, Help Desk

Meet the Technicians that Answer Your Clients' Calls, Continuum's Help Desk!

Posted by Ben Barker on January 15, 2015


You may have heard of Continuum's Help Desk, but do you know how it operates? Who are the people that you're trusting to fix your clients' issues and keep your business operating from day to day?

Well, they're a group of talented, certified, U.S.-based technicians who use their expertise to keep you and your clients happy 24/7.

Located in Pennsylvania, Continuum's Help Desk boasts more than 100 technicians. But to fully understand how it operates, you'd have to be there. We know that you're all too busy to book a flight to PA, so instead, we decided to give you a look at the people and personalities that make this service so amazing.
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Topics: Business Growth, Help Desk, IT Services

Give Back to Clients & Employees: IT Resolution 2

Posted by Ben Barker on January 7, 2015

So, how are those resolutions going? Hopefully you've stuck with them to this point... Today, we continue our "10 Day IT Resolution Challenge" with a goal that should be on everyone's beginning-of-the-year list, to give back - not just to charities, but to your clients and employees as well!

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Topics: Business Growth, RMM, Help Desk

Cut Back on Caffeine & Get More Sleep: IT Resolution 1

Posted by Mary McCoy on January 5, 2015

We're five days into the new year, and let me guess? It's business as usual for you. Gone is your determination to stick to the lofty unrealistic expectations you've set for either yourself or your business. Well, forget your IT SNAFUs of 2014! Let 2015 be the fresh start you need!

For the duration of the month, we invite you to "Take the 10 Day IT Resolution Challenge." Ten blog posts, ten common resolutions with an IT spin. Today, we kick off this series with a goal too many of you try unsuccessfully to meet, cutting back on caffeine and getting more sleep...

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Topics: Business Growth, RMM, Help Desk

Treating the New Year as "Business as Usual": IT SNAFU Day 10

Posted by Brandon Garcin on December 23, 2014

2015 is just around the corner, and businesses everywhere are racing to put the finishing touches on any outstanding projects, map out key goals and objectives for the new year, and close those last few deals to bring in some extra holiday cheer (and revenue). But the holidays are also a time to relax, see the family, maybe take a vacation – and of course, do some shopping.

Unfortunately, these fun and often much-needed breaks can create some sizeable IT headaches when everyone is rushing back to the office in January.

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Topics: Business Growth, RMM, Help Desk

Don't Treat Your Clients Like Black Friday Shoppers: Offer Superior Customer Satisfaction

Posted by Ben Barker on December 3, 2014


Black Friday is a day of savings. It's a day of fast-paced, high-intensity super shopping and, if you play it right, it's a day that you can look back on with a smile. However, for far too many, Black Friday is a day of bumps, bruises and bad encounters. When asking even the best Black Friday shopper to explain the experience, "positive customer satisfaction" is probably a rare response. 

A negative customer experience is fine for a single day of shopping each year, but when a company consistently provides a negative customer experience, it becomes detrimental to the business.

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Topics: Business Growth, BDR, Help Desk

8 Smart-Sourced Help Desk Myths DEBUNKED

Posted by Mary McCoy on November 25, 2014


As a former Starbucks barista, I know the popular coffee chain continues to retain customers and generate new business because of its reputation for serving a Venti-sized mug of customer service. When Joe wants his cup of Joe, a friendly face asks him how his day is going, ensuring his drink is made to his exact specification. Maybe Joe doesn’t want whipped cream in that upside-down caramel latte.

Customer service is everything. How are you managing customer support? You know you need to provide round-the-clock service for clients, but are you doing so in a scalable way? Have reservations about migrating your MSP help desk? They might not be entirely justified...

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Topics: Business Growth, Help Desk, IT Services

Smart-Source Tasks, Don’t Fire Techs

Posted by Ben Barker on November 20, 2014


The word “outsourcing” seems to make those in the managed IT services industry cringe. It can be hard to fire technicians that you’ve grown to know and trust. So, don’t do it. It can be scary to relinquish control over your practice, shipping off important business functions to an unknown party. So, don’t do it. It can be extremely difficult to rely solely on others to build rapport and strong relationships with your clients. So please, we’re begging you, DON’T GET RID OF YOUR TECHS!

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Topics: Business Growth, Help Desk

SLIDESHARE: I Bet You Want to Growth Hack Your MSP Business...

Posted by Mary McCoy on October 27, 2014


Let me guess, things are not going well at your MSP business. Employee churn is at an all-time high because your technicians are tired of filling their 9-5 with rote tasks and answering "I can't get into Outlook" calls from clients. Maybe you're not equipped to handle spikes in service demand, but you still want to provide clients round-the-clock support. Good help is hard to find, and it's too costly to hire and train additional staff. Sound familiar? How could any MSP thrive in these stifling conditions? Answer: you can't. There is a way out though - a simple solution and a true managed IT services growth hack...

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Topics: Business Growth, Help Desk

Want to Save $194,500 as an MSP this Year? [Infographic]

Posted by Brandon Garcin on October 20, 2014

Nobody can deny the importance of quality customer service in today’s business landscape. Customers today are more empowered than ever before, and one poor experience or frustrating phone call may be enough to convince them to take their business elsewhere. For MSPs, the message is clear: Your MSP help desk offering better be up to par.

To be successful, however, there are a number of factors and considerations to keep in mind – the first of which is whether you’ll want to maintain an in-house help desk, or outsource to a third-party provider. To help you understand the core differences between an in-house and third-party help desk, we’ve created this informative infographic. Check it out, don’t hesitate to share using the embed code below, and let us know what your help desk offering looks like in the comments section!

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Topics: Business Growth, Help Desk

3 Doc Center Pages You Should Be Leveraging

Posted by Brandon Garcin on October 15, 2014


At Continuum, we strive to provide you, our partners, with all of the tools, tips, and tricks needed to grow your MSP business. One of the resources we provide is our Doc Center, a central hub for valuable managed IT services information. With the volume of content on this site, we understand that sometimes our partners might not know where to start. That’s why we've outlined three Doc Center pages you should check out below! 

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Topics: Help Desk, Cyber Security

CMIT Solutions of Cambridge Wins Help Desk Award at Navigate 2014!

Posted by Mary McCoy on September 25, 2014

Well, we're back from our inaugural user conference, Navigate 2014! It was an action-packed three days of managed IT services teaching and learning, and because we love celebrating our partners' successes, we closed the event with an Awards showcase! Please join us in congratulating CMIT Solutions of Cambridge, recipient of the Help Desk Award!
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Topics: Navigate, Help Desk

Why Every MSP Should Be Practicing ‘Smart Sourcing’

Posted by Matt Waters on September 2, 2014

Wicked-SmartImage Source:

As a business owner, your business means everything to you. Giving up control over any portion of your business can be very difficult, especially for MSP owners. It’s one of the main reasons that many have started MSPs, and is why MSPs don’t like the idea of outsourcing any part of their business – because it means giving control to someone else.

However, in order to be successful, sometimes we need to let go of control. Here’s why.

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Topics: Business Growth, RMM, Help Desk

IT Help Desk Bottlenecks: 5 Reasons Your In-House Help Desk Just Doesn't Cut It! [SlideShare]

Posted by Mary McCoy on July 23, 2014


A service desk is a single point of contact designed to help connect end users with IT administrators, and ensure that incidents and service requests are handled appropriately and in a timely manner. A service desk can help restore disruptions in service quality or availability, assist with change/release management and migration projects, and provide technical support relating to a number of essential IT functions. That's why we insist that these IT help desks are crucial for your business. Managing your service desk in-house, however, is not without its own challenges. Why not offload that burden?

Here are 5 in-house IT help desk bottlenecks sucking the life out of your MSP business…

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Topics: Business Growth, Help Desk

5 Practical Steps Every MSP Can Take to Increase Their Profitability

Posted by Ray Vrabel on June 17, 2014


Growth for MSPs can be elusive. There are many reasons for this and they are often tied to very specific reasons that apply to each MSP individually. That makes sense because every business is unique, however there are a number of common challenges many MSPs face, and with those challenges, a number of steps each MSP can take to increase their profitability.

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Topics: Business Growth, RMM, Help Desk

MSPradio Episode 8: The Help Desk Dilemma for MSPs

Posted by Nate Teplow on June 11, 2014


A service desk (a.k.a help desk) is critical for an MSP's success. Your clients will need someone to call when something goes wrong. The problem is that maintaining a full service desk is a business of its own. You need to be available 24/7, call volume can be incredibly volatile and it's difficult to find and retain top talent. Ultimately, maintaining a help desk in-house isn't scalable for MSPs.

On this episode of MSPradio, we chat with Jacque Rowden, Director of Continuum's Help Desk, as well as Bryan and Bob Sullo from Clocktower Technology Services to discuss the help desk dilemma for MSPs and how you can find success with an outsourced help desk solution.

Click here to subscribe to MSPradio on iTunes.

Android users: Get the Stitcher App and subscribe to our channel

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Topics: Business Growth, Help Desk, IT Services

Outsourcing Your Help Desk Requirements: MSPtv Episode 20

Posted by Scott Glidden on May 30, 2014


In this week's episode of MSPtv, we sit down with Bryan Sullo, owner of Clocktower Technology Services, and talk with him about his company's switch to Continuum's Help Desk offering and the successes he has experienced. We also talk a little bit about the growing concept of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and its Pros and Cons with using it. 

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Topics: Business Growth, RMM, Help Desk

Struggling with IT Staffing? How to Handle the Talent Gap

Posted by Jacque Rowden on March 17, 2014

help-wantedIf keeping high-quality employees around were easy, then the saying “good help is hard to find” never would have taken off. Yet, every managed service provider (MSP) can appreciate the problems associated with hiring and retaining the best technicians, salespeople and help desk staff. Although all industries face these challenges to some extent, IT staffing particularly has become a real concern. Let’s take a look at some numbers.

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Topics: Business Growth, Help Desk, IT Services

How to Provide IT Support Around the Clock

Posted by Jacque Rowden on January 20, 2014

service-desk-repsDoes anyone who works in the IT space (or any industry, for that matter) not think it is essential to have 24/7/365 coverage? How would you respond to a tech support company that only responds from 9 am to 5 pm EST? Would they last long? Most likely not!

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Topics: Business Growth, RMM, Help Desk, IT Services

What You Need to Know About Your Help Desk Provider

Posted by Jacque Rowden on December 18, 2013

Despite the importance of maintaining a high-quality help desk, a number of companies either don’t have the internal resources to do so, or struggle in finding an outsourced vendor that is truly high quality. By asking the right help desk qualification questions, you can be sure you’re choosing a vendor who will meet your needs and the needs of your clients.

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Topics: Business Growth, Help Desk

4 Reasons To Outsource Your Help Desk

Posted by Jacque Rowden on October 2, 2013

img-blog-reasons-outsource-serviceFor managed services providers (MSPs) or other IT resellers, a help desk that can answer phone calls, known as a help desk , is a vital MSP product that is crucial to sales and customer retention.  How help desk calls are handled and resolved can go a long way towards convincing a client that your business is providing a highly valued service.

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Topics: Business Growth, Help Desk

How to Select an Outsourced Help Desk Provider

Posted by Lauren Peyton on October 1, 2013


For many managed services providers, the question is not “why outsource” help desk services, but "what to consider" before picking the right third party. Since help desks, or help desk support services, have become de facto aspects of IT support, the questions now focus on how to handle the high level of expectations of time, flexibility and expertise of their clients through outsourcing.

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Topics: Business Growth, Help Desk

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