Experienced, knowledgeable helpdesk agents are worth an arm and a leg, as the saying goes. Not only do they work day in and day out to provide invaluable service to your MSP, but they also help guide and mentor other agents. Their very presence raises the performance and morale of your entire helpdesk.
It goes without saying that the last thing you want is to see your best agents throwing in the towel in favor of another company. But no matter how well you treat your helpdesk staff, some level of turnover comes with the territory. It is an inevitable part of managing people.
The technical service and support industry’s average turnover rate is close to 40% per year. This means that the average service desk agent remains in their position for just 2.5 years before hightailing it out of there. To make matters worse, American companies need to spend roughly $12,000 to replace a single helpdesk agent. This includes the cost of recruiting, screening, interviewing, onboarding and training. It also includes many indirect costs like temporarily reduced productivity, the overtime expenses associated with backfilling vacancies, loss of institutional memory, and reduced employee morale.
These costs, unsurprisingly, can have significant adverse effects. For instance, the higher the rate of turnover, the lower the first contact resolution rate tends to be. Same goes for the customer satisfaction rate.
Obviously, you want to avoid this. But first, it helps to understand why quality, dependable helpdesk agents just up and resign.
Why helpdesk agents walk away
The usual reasons for turnover include starting salaries that are too low, lax employee retention efforts, over-qualified agents who nonetheless lack customer service know-how, and the career goals of agents who view their helpdesk positions as mere steppingstones. Can you blame them? It’s monotonous work. Still, the after-hours, on-call factor is in a league all its own.
While on-call duties were once considered “just part of the job,” without any requirement for additional compensation, the IT culture is changing rapidly. These days, more and more on-call techs are compensated whether they end up being called out or not.
The reality is that employees—especially those with families—don’t want to endure holidays, weekends, or evenings on-call. How many people have access to after-hours on-call childcare? Not only does the on-call factor contribute to turnover, but it can also contribute to difficulty filling positions. Otherwise, excellent opportunities are declined because they include on-call coverage.
So, what are the alternatives?
After hours on-call alternatives for MSPs
Here are three after hours alternatives that your MSP should consider implementing as a solution to that pesky on-call problem you’re dealing with.
Implementing ‘follow the sun’ partnerships
It’s always daytime somewhere in the world. Since you need a way to support customers around the globe and around the clock no matter what time zone they’re in, ‘follow the sun’ coverage might be for you. By partnering with other MSPs worldwide, your company can literally follow the sun so work is always performed during normal work hours in different parts of the world. The result: smooth-sailing 24-hour service desk and NOC coverage.
While these types of partnerships have been in use for many years, they’ve never really taken off. While it can be challenging to assemble and manage a group of strategically placed, like-minded MSPs who follow similar processes to your own, most international vendors can make it happen if they set their sights on it.
Adding a second shift
This has been tried, and is not a very popular option but may work for some. Consider adding a second shift as a way of covering the majority of calls during your regular-ish hours. Advantages to this approach include continued progress in your level I and level II queues—long after 5 p.m. The problem is, even after a second shift, many companies who try this find there is still ample work left unresolved in those never-ending queues.
Despite the potential advantages, in most cases it seems there isn’t really enough volume to justify a second shift. In other words, such programs rarely offset the expense. Really, it seems far preferable to offer round-the-clock service—only as needed.
Outsourcing your service desk and NOC
If you’ve never considered outsourcing your after-hours service desk and NOC to qualified professionals, there’s no time like the present.
Outsourcing your helpdesk is a brilliant way to reduce that turnover rate. Not to mention, it’s a strategy that improves your bottom line, and increases response times to boot! If you have a sudden spike in internal turnover, your outsourced helpdesk service provider simply fills in the gaps, easily absorbing the extra workload. How is this possible? Because they already have well-trained and briefed staff on hand to jump in and get productive without delay.
If outsourcing your entire helpdesk isn’t a move you’re ready to make, you can always go for a combined or ‘hybrid’ approach by outsourcing your helpdesk function for after-hours only. This would cover any time your office is closed, such as evenings, nights, weekends and holidays. The rest of the time, your internal help desk team handles the workload.
Choose a partner with the right resources to help solve your service desk turnover
Working with Sherweb’s Helpdesk Services means lightening your workload with the help of 24/7/365 and after-hours white label support. From after-hours helpdesk phone calls, to chat, ticket management and NOC alert monitoring, the benefits are many. Extra bonus: you’ll quickly gain access to our enterprise-level SOPs, based upon millions of client interactions.
To learn more about how you can escape the frustrating cycle of helpdesk turnover while boosting productivity and even growing your business, check out our outsourcing guide.