How to Compare Help Desk Managed Services (& See Ours)

By Margaret Concannon | January 30, 2023
Margaret is the Content Marketing Manager at Ntiva, and has been a marketer for managed services providers since 2013.

Most managed IT help desk services sound the same on the surface, however, they’re not all created equal. To help you differentiate between services and find the right managed help desk service for your company, we share six questions to consider. Along the way, we share how our help desk and managed IT service, Ntiva, measures up for each factor.

Questions we’ll cover in this guide:

  1. How quickly can you talk to the person who can solve your problem?
  2. Do their technicians have the right tools to support your devices?
  3. Do they offer proactive technical support?
  4. Do they offer onsite support? 
  5. Does the help desk offer full transparency? 
  6. What other services do they offer?

You can also learn how Ntiva can help you reduce downtime, improve efficiency, and get the most out of your IT budget by booking a consultation today

1. How quickly can you talk to the person who can solve your problem?

How quickly you can start solving your IT problem depends on two main factors: who answers the phone when you call and in what order tickets are addressed (i.e., first-come, first-serve or according to priority levels).

Who Answers the Phone When You Call

Many managed service providers (MSP) have non-technical staff answering their support line. When you call in, these representatives will ask you a few questions about your issue, create a ticket for you, and assure you a qualified technician will call you back as soon as possible. 

If the rep doesn’t fully understand the issue, they may have a technician call you back who doesn’t have the experience or skill set to handle the problem. Depending on the MSP’s escalation policy, the tech may start a long troubleshooting process (that wastes hours or days). Sometimes they’re able to eventually solve the issue but other times they’ll end up reassigning the ticket to someone else—which means even more delays.

Some MSPs have technicians answer their help desk phones to help mitigate some of these issues, but that typically results in longer wait times. Plus, the technicians are often only available during regular business hours—which may not accommodate everyone's schedule.

In What Order Are Tickets Addressed

Many help desks assign a priority level to your ticket based on how many people the issue affects, how much it impacts productivity for the company overall, and other arbitrary reasons. 

If the issue only affects you or only affects the company in a minor way (e.g., the printer can only receive jobs from one computer in the building), you may end up waiting days or weeks before getting a call back (even if your job relies on printing sales material and the printer is on the other side of the building). 

This issue can be further exacerbated by a small staff. If the help desk is finding they aren’t able to meet their service level agreements (SLA) for every critical ticket, they may redefine what qualifies as a critical ticket—leaving even more tickets without a response. 

Get a 24/7, U.S.-based Help Desk Manned by Technicians with Ntiva

Helpful IT support person.

Ntiva’s help desk is staffed by experienced technicians 24/7 and all calls are answered in less than one minute, on average. Whatever the issue, big or small, our team will help troubleshoot right away. 

With a large staff of 325+ technicians, we’re able to support over 60,000 devices and workstations, and close 10,000+ tickets each month.

75% of issues get resolved on the first phone call, and if the tech you’re speaking to isn’t able to resolve your issue, the ticket will be immediately escalated to a more experienced rep.  

Plus, all of our technicians are based in the U.S. to mitigate language barriers. 

Read more: 24/7 IT Support Services: An In-Depth Review of Ntiva

2. Do their technicians have the right tools to support your devices?

Businesses often overlook what types of tools their MSP can use for diagnosing and fixing technical issues, but the tools they use will significantly affect the service they can provide.

For example, many MSPs are well versed in Microsoft devices, tools, and issues, but they’re less equipped to handle issues with Apple devices. The MSP may advertise that they offer Apple support, however, their entire Apple department may only consist of two or three technicians. If those technicians are on vacation or sick leave (or out of office for any other reason), you won’t be able to solve the problem—no matter how critical it is. Additionally, they may be trying to use Microsoft tools to fix your Apple device. While this may work in some cases, eventually most companies run into an issue that can’t be solved without Apple-native tools.

Get Specialized Support for All Devices, All the Time

As both a Microsoft Gold Partner and a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider, Ntiva is able to fully support all Microsoft products. 

Plus, Ntiva has over a dozen Apple-certified technicians and we’re listed on Apple’s list of certified consultants (where we received five out of five stars over 50+ reviews). With a robust suite of Microsoft- and Apple-native tools, our IT professionals are able to provide you with efficient, long-lasting solutions for any device. 

Ntiva is also a certified partner for Dell and Cisco products. 

Microsoft Gold Partner, Apple Consultant Network, Dell Partner Gold, and Cisco Partner logos.

3. Do they offer proactive technical support? 

Many help desks operate on a break-fix mentality: They wait for you to report an issue and then they solve it. Ideally, potential issues should be addressed before they affect productivity. 

There are ways to proactively address many IT issues, such as keeping your software licenses and security settings up-to-date and monitoring your network 24/7. But most internal IT teams don’t have the bandwidth to implement proactive IT measures. That’s why it’s best to look for a help desk that offers multiple proactive services along with help desk support.

Take Proactive Measures to Minimize IT Issues and Increase Productivity

Ntiva offers multiple proactive services including: 

  • Server administration and management. Our team monitors all of your servers 24/7 and helps make sure the servers are operating efficiently and securely. If an issue comes up, our team begins troubleshooting right away to help you avoid costly downtime and security issues.

  • Network monitoring and management. Network management starts with identifying trends that may indicate a coming problem with your network. By spotting potential problems early on, we can take measures to minimize their impact. We also monitor your network 24/7, so we can address outages before they affect productivity. 
  • Software and hardware management. If software or hardware is installed incorrectly, it can cause issues down the line (e.g., access errors). Most companies have dozens of different software and hardware to maintain, so it can be difficult to manage them in-house. Ntiva can handle all of this for you. We’ll make sure everything has been installed properly and make sure all licenses and security settings are up to date. Because our team works around the clock, we can schedule updates at a time that’s convenient for your team.

  • Employee onboarding and offboarding. If you don’t have a detailed process in place for onboarding and offboarding employees, you’ll likely run into issues such as employees not being able to access the tools they need to do their jobs or employees sharing access codes. This creates security risks and decreases employee productivity. By letting Ntiva handle onboarding and offboarding for you, you can mitigate these issues. We have the tools and experience to help ensure smooth transitions for any employee (even remote employees). 

Bryles Research has been working with Ntiva for more than 11 years… We are very happy with Ntiva's ability to provide strategic advice beyond the tactical "break-fix" service that many other MSPs provide.”

— Scott Bryles, Bryles Research CEO 

Read the full Bryles Research case study here.

4. Does the help desk offer full transparency? 

Many companies that outsource their IT help desk have little insight into how the help desk operates and which tickets they resolve. However, knowing which devices are causing the most issues, which issues take the longest to resolve, and other key metrics can be very helpful when making strategic decisions about your IT resources. For example, if your employees are constantly having issues with a particular software, it may be time for an upgrade. 

That’s why it’s a good idea to make sure the MSP you choose is transparent about the inner workings of the help desk. 

Detailed Reports of Your Entire IT Network 

It network reports.

At Ntiva, we provide full transparency into every ticket we resolve. We automatically track and report on key details such as number of tickets closed, descriptions of each problem, how it was resolved and more. You’ll be able to review these reports at any time via a self-service portal and, if you can’t find the information you need, you can reach out to our team and we’ll help you find it. 

Plus, if you have an internal IT team, they’ll have full access to our help desk software and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) This helps centralize your service desk support and makes it really easy for our team to communicate with your team. 

Not only will you have full visibility into everything we do, but we also help you keep track of your entire IT network. We keep detailed documentation of what devices you own (e.g., laptops, mobile devices, operating systems, etc.), warranty expiration dates, which ones are operational, who’s using what, what it’s costing you, and more. 

All of this information is provided to you so you can make informed decisions about where to cut costs so you can spend your IT budget efficiently. If you need help procuring additional software or IT infrastructure, we can help. We can also work with your team to find ways to cut costs and get the most out of your IT efforts.

5. Do they offer onsite support? 

Although most IT issues can be resolved remotely, sometimes you need a technician onsite to solve the problem (e.g., hardware failures). Some help desk solutions only offer remote IT support while others charge you an ongoing monthly fee for the option of onsite support—whether or not you actually use the service. 

Onsite Support Across the U.S.

At Ntiva, we believe you should always get the support you need but should only be charged for the services you actually use. That’s why we offer onsite support on an as-needed basis, meaning you’ll always have the option for onsite support but you’ll only be billed if/when you use the service.

We offer on-site IT support anywhere in the U.S. and, in most cases, one of our technicians will arrive onsite within the same day.

Graphic representing networking connections across the U.S.

6. What other services do they offer? 

Many teams end up outsourcing their IT help desk support because they don’t have an internal IT team or because their internal IT staff can’t keep up with all the tickets. In either case, most companies eventually need additional IT services (e.g., advanced cybersecurity services) in order to expand and/or keep up with industry standards. That’s why it’s important to look at what other services the MSP offers beyond help desk support. 

We also recommend looking at the size of the MSP and the companies they support as a way to evaluate whether or not they have the bandwidth to support your company as it grows. Many companies find themselves in a situation where the MSP they originally chose was a great fit starting out, but the MSP wasn’t able to grow with them. These companies start running into issues like slow response times or ineffective solutions because the MSP doesn’t have the staff or expertise to fully support them. 

Switching MSPs can be a huge headache—and also very costly—which is why it’s better to choose an MSP with the flexibility to support your future business needs as well as your current needs. 

“Every single company today is completely reliant on technology for growth and success. Companies who are technology enabled have a distinct competitive advantage."

— Ira Starr, Streetsense CFO

Read the full Streetsense case study here.

A Full Suite of Advanced IT Services

With over 15 years of experience, Ntiva has served organizations in many different industries including government contracting, healthcare, nonprofit, education, legal services, financial services, manufacturing, and more. 

With 300+ employees and dozens of regional partners, our team spans all of the U.S., so you can get experienced, local support no matter where you are.

Ntiva IT services and technology solutions graphics.

In addition to our 24/7 technician-run help desk and the services already mentioned—device and network monitoring, Microsoft- and Apple-specific support, employee onboarding/offboarding, and detailed reporting—we also offer many additional services including: 

  • Advanced cybersecurity. Ntiva provides a full suite of security services and features including a fully managed security operations center to help you monitor your IT security 24/7 and meet compliance requirements.

    Read more: 6 Top Managed Security Service Providers (MSSP) Guide

  • Phishing prevention training. Most security breaches are aimed at employees, so it’s crucial that all employees are well equipped to identify and respond to cyber attacks. Our team provides and manages phishing prevention training for your entire staff.

  • IT consulting. Hiring a full-time Chief Information Officer (CIO) or Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is beyond the budget of most companies, however, CIOs and CISOs can provide valuable insight to help you get the most out of your IT, cut costs, and increase security. With Ntiva, you’ll have access to high-level CIOs and CISOs for just the hours you need them. This lets you leverage their expertise for a fraction of the cost of hiring in-house.

  • Cloud solutions. Transitioning to the cloud is a massive undertaking and it can be difficult to know which cloud solution is right for you because there are so many to choose from. However, with the right solution, some companies can greatly increase productivity and cut costs. We help you decide if transitioning to the cloud is right for you and which solution is the best fit. We also help ensure the transition is as painless as possible.

  • Backup and Disaster Recovery. Having a detailed backup and disaster recovery (BDR) plan can be the difference between failing as a company bouncing back after a cyber attack or natural disaster. With our many years of experience working with companies of all sizes, we know what to include in your BDR plan. We can help you create a plan and implement the necessary procedures to ensure the longevity of your business.

  • And much more (visit our pricing page for a comprehensive list of services)

If you think Ntiva could be the right IT service provider to complement your team, book a consultation.  

Tags: Managed IT