Why is a Knowlegde Base important for an MSP?

There’s one thing that computer users collectively hate: Having to explain a problem over and over again to different people without it being fully resolved.

We’ve all been there: talking to someone at the other end of the phone who’s following a standard script that you just know isn’t going to help. It’s frustrating and maddening. If you want your MSP business to be successful, you need to ensure it never provides this kind of irritation to customers.

Building a good knowledgebase for your workers is a key part of the solution. It’s not ALL of the solution – obviously you have to hire the right people, give them the right equipment and tools, and ensure they have the autonomy to help customers effectively. However, a knowledge base is still an absolute essential.

IT knowledgebases can take various forms. At a primitive level, we’re talking about text-based documentation and notes fields within logging systems, but it’s possible to go far beyond this.

Modern service desk solutions can do far cleverer things that deliver far more interesting benefits for your MSP team, such as:

Recording support sessions so that you can use them as a training tool, or so that less experienced staff can work through them when fixing real-life issues they’ve not encountered before.
Using keywords to automatically match problems as they are logged, pointing technicians to the relevant solutions.
As with any system, a knowledge base will only give out what’s put in. Implementing a suitable system is only half the job. Equally important is ensuring that all of your staff use it religiously. Shorthand notes that mean nothing to anyone but the person who wrote them have no place on a knowledge base.

The best way to think about this is to imagine an IT professional with no knowledge of your client systems having to man the service desk for the day. Is there enough information in the knowledge base to enable that person to “hit the ground running” and provide effective support? If not, there are still potential improvements you could make.

All IT infrastructures end up with their own little quirks, and no two clients have their PCs configured exactly the same. The mistake many IT firms make is to keep the knowledge of these details locked away in the memory of a single consultant. This may work for a limited time for a one-man-band IT firm, but not for an MSP that plans to grow.

In fact, it doesn’t even work for a one-man-band if that person EVER plans to have an undisturbed holiday.

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