Holiday cover: A Christmas Carol or a Christmas nightmare?

For many MSPs, the ability to provide cover over the holiday period is still a major headache. While many of your staff would prefer to be wrestling with the turkey or watching the Christmas blockbuster, your customers expect any problems that crop up to be resolved quickly, knowledgably and professionally. Just like on any other day.

Plus, your international clients may be among the several billion people for whom 25th December is just any other day – as it is for the many organisations here which must remain open for business over the holiday period (hospitality, health/ emergency services and call centres, for example). In fact, in today’s ‘always on’ world, very few businesses close down totally from 24th December to 2nd January, as they once did.

MSPs have traditionally used a range of approaches to ensure their customers are supported over the holidays. How confident are you about your plans for this year? Will your customers have access to the skills they need to resolve any problems that crop up?

A quick straw poll of our own service desk produced the following ‘Top 5’ most frequent support issues that crop up all the time – the Christmas period being no different:

1) Password resets
2) Printer issues
3) Third-party applications and AV related issues
4) Network-share related issues
5) Slow PCs and browser issues

Do you still have the resource available to deal with these sorts of requests over the holiday period?

By hijacking Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ – specifically, Ebenezer Scrooge’s visitations by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come – I am encouraging you to reflect on how you’ve provided holiday cover in previous years and assess whether or not that’s the best way to operate moving forward.

There is another way; a way that will ensure high levels of service are maintained for your customers, while your staff enjoy the leave they deserve and you avoid excessive overtime bills!

The Ghost of Christmas Past

How did you handle Christmas and New Year cover last year? Did you use your own team? Did you have staff members working from home to monitor customer systems? Did you outsource some or all to a partner?

Did the cover you provided meet your customers’ expectations? Were they confident that the people helping them had the necessary skills, expertise and tools to monitor, analyse and resolve any issues that occurred? Just like on any other day?

Or was it all a bit more random, with your on-call technicians clutching a mobile in one hand and a turkey leg in the other – and you suffering from 24/7 phone addiction, imagining the worst possible scenarios – a server might go down, an alert might get missed, a router might die, a customer might email in the middle of The Sound of Music..…

The Ghost of Christmas Present

What are your cover plans for this year – and how confident are you that they will work? If you had a bad experience last year, have you changed your approach? Or are you still jiggling rotas and shift patterns over the holiday period – and wincing at the increased wages bill?

Will your team be on-call throughout the holidays? Do you have your senior team members constantly accessible as well? Will your support team be working from your office, or from a palm-fringed beach – or from their kitchen, with excited children screaming in the background.

Is there a lot of crossing fingers and touching wood going on?

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

If you recognise the ‘Christmas Past’ scenario – or you’re among the ‘still jiggling’ for ‘Christmas Present’, be reassured. It needn’t be that way.

Scrooge pledges to the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come that he will “change his ways”.

If you have experienced problems with holiday cover in the past – or concerns about this year’s cover are keeping you awake at night, you can change your ways too.

You can ensure your support cover is put on a firm footing by outsourcing to a partner like Inbay. We can deliver true 24/7 services in any time zone and provide an ‘always on’ service to any location. We never close, ever.

Outsourcing your support services such as NOC and /or Service Desk means your customers are being supported in a controlled environment, with rigorous support procedures – and they benefit from the highest levels of customer service. For life – not just for Christmas!

So if you want to resolve your holiday cover issues once and for all, see what Inbay can offer

Or call us – it’s not too late to outsource this year’s holiday cover to us.

Alternatively, keep jiggling those rotas!

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