It's not often that the channel is the subject of vivid discussion on controversial message board, but a thread on the /r/MSP subreddit on what makes a great MSP has gone just a little bit viral.
A number of replies included answers like treating employees well, providing incentives to upskill, and providing proactive service for customers.
But the most upvoted comment was a redditor describing their experience working at two MSPs they considered ‘toxic”, which had a number of replies about their own experiences.
User “DeadEyedAdmin” shared that one of the MSPs only respected its own times and not their employees’ times, recounting stories of getting reprimanded for being three minutes late and for not picking up the phone soon enough.
“I would take calls that came in at 5PM and stay 30 minutes to get the clients issue resolved, but let me get stuck in traffic and walk in the door three minutes late … and it was a 20 minute ass reaming,” the comment read.
“You think your a good employee because you are eating your lunch at your desk, why did that phone ring three times? I don't care if you had a mouth full of food, pick it up!
“Realize that it is a give and take situation, if your employees are running out the door at 5 pm on the dot, you are running a business people don't want to be at one second longer than they have to.”
DeadEyedAdmin also recounted a time when his wife went into labour and he was being hassled on when he will be coming in to work, even suggesting to opt for a C-section to “speed up the process”.
Another user replied that they are “in MSP hell”, saying that they do not remember the last time they checked out for lunch and for feeling bad when they had to run personal errands as if it was “some sort of sick stockholm syndrome”. They said that while they learned a lot in the role, the “absolute chaos” of the MSP has “almost entirely drained any passion out”.
"I have seen some serious shit in my four years of MSP, up to and including whole client crypto's recovered in less than halfday, being flown across the country to solo setup whole office buildings, and everything inbetween."
“If my next IT job is anything like this MSP. I'm out. I'll go work HVAC with my friends,” the reply read.
What makes a great MSP?
On a more positive note, user “lnclincoln” provided the following characteristics of a great MSP:
- Treating your employees like people and not members of an IT sweatshop.
- Centrally managed systems
- Incentives to train and get certified
- [Salary] raises that represent new skills employees acquired while working.
- Firing toxic people or those that cannot learn.
They said the salary raises will incentivise employees to actually stay and help the business grow. “They probably took months to learn your clients, [so] why let them leave?” As for the toxic people or those unwilling to learn, lnclincoln advised to talk to the staff member first and see if they can change.
“Everyone deserves a second or third chance. Toxic people eat at morale. People who cannot learn waste the time of more senior technicians who should be handling other service orders. Both of these types need to go.”
User “Gutter7676” suggested getting standards and processes in place beforehand, and later observe and modify when needed.
They also advised finding an RMM (Remote Monitoring & Management) solution or a PSA (Professional Services Automation) solution that fits their needs and develop processes around that, but it should be done with due diligence.
“Switching something that is so ingrained in your processes and all your clients machines is a huge workload/interruption so having a good and comprehensive product in place beforehand will save you time/money and stress,” Gutter7676 said.
“Also, do not be afraid to have a few different platforms and not to shoehorn yourself into an all-in-one package that may not be the best fit for your processes, etc.”
They added that it’s also important to establish good communication routes with and between employees, so younger and inexperienced staff should not fear asking a question.
User “Danigirl_03” said treating employees well will allow them to treat clients well and will go above and beyond for an MSP.
“Creating a great company culture where you’re employees are treated great, where they know they have an understanding boss who if they go above and beyond. Their boss will recognize and reward.”
She added that a competitor is known for having a toxic work environment and would lose one client per month, allowing them to get more business despite charging 30 percent higher. She also pointed out that her company is slow to hire to make sure to make the right hire.
User “GullibleDetective” made a few points that stood out, including having a diverse team and having diverse skillsets, being experts in a vertical, and ensuring to review best security and performance practices for network, computer and server equipment.