MSP Neuron Computers finds scale
How this USA CEO re-defined and re-oriented his MSP for growth, profitability, happier clients and a happier team.
In this Case Study, Founder & CTO Kevin Sipma shares how Benchmark 365 has freed up time and resources so he and his partner can focus on sales and marketing to help them scale.
Neuron Computers provides fully managed services for all the technology needs of small and midsize businesses. Based in Los Angeles, California, they service non-profits to 100+ employee strong organizations. They serve primarily the business & professional services verticals but also provide services for manufacturers, insurance, psychotherapists, agents, brokers, accountants, and legal firms.
Scale, Scale, Scale
Our focus for this year and the foreseeable future is three words – scale, scale, scale. We needed to work on streamlining our processes and becoming more efficient is we were ever to have the time and resources to undertake the sales and marketing we needed to do.
“Benchmark 365 has been a tremendous part of that by offloading the help desk from us so we have more time to do the bigger picture things – finally!”
Continuing to streamline processes and increase efficiencies will help us achieve these objectives. We have gaps in documentation, checklists, SOPs, billing, invoicing, quoting and also agreements & documentation. Since we were focusing so much on service delivery before Benchmark 365 alleviated this from us – those more important high-level areas were severely neglected.
Benchmark 365 is 100% focused on helping your MSP grow profitably. We provide a dedicated team of 1st, 2nd and 3rd level support engineers and customer service/dispatch specialists on demand 24/7.
My partner and I were extremely burned out. We were frustrated by our processes, and the on-going requirement of handling low-level support tickets that were just eating up all of our time. The inability to do bigger picture things to drive more revenue via sales was our biggest blockage. We were trying to work 9-5 Monday through Friday but were running cloud hosted services that operate 24/7. So being “on-call” kept us tethered to the business.
We were also needing to “weed our garden” and get rid of clients that were causing us problems and weren’t paying us enough via our contracts or hourly services to make up for the extra stress they caused. It was really starting to wear on us and affect the team’s morale.
After a major server outage on a vacation weekend, I had had enough. So I stepped back and re-evaluated how we were operating and what we needed to improve. The first step was to figure out a 24/7 monitoring solution managed by 24/7 staff in some form or another.
“We had to improve our service delivery to 24 hours, and also free up our own time to finally scale and grow the business to stay ahead of client attrition rates.”
Neuron Computer’s story is one we hear often at Benchmark 365. Kevin and his team are passionate technicians and also have a great entrepreneurial spirit. The challenge is how to provide the technical support promised and find time to grow the business.
A solution that fit the problem 100%
After the server outage, we decided to specifically look for a helpdesk/NOC company that could oversee our cloud hosting and fully manage it for us. So I took to Reddit and asked for recommendations.
The thing that really appealed about Benchmark 365 was that it offered 100% outsourcing of our ENTIRE helpdesk versus just monitoring and managing our backend infrastructure on a reactionary basis.
“The fact that we could offload our entire Help Desk for less than the cost of a single full-time employee and have access to multiple dispatchers and techs 24/7 was extremely appealing.”
The conversations I had with CEO James Vickery on a business-level made tremendous sense. It was a real eye opener that we were missing key metrics such as ticket KPIs and client profitability. Having access to James and his MSP team is highly beneficial. They are a great resource for advice and we now feel like a part of a larger team with a common goal – to just be the best MSP we can be for our own clients in a hyper competitive market. With others, I did not feel as much of a personal touch in this regard.
We looked at several other solutions. It mostly came down to scope and price. Some services were strictly server monitoring only with some proactive support. Others also offered Help Desk/NOC for clients but they were very expensive. I initially wanted just reactive server/cloud monitoring but that quickly escalated to wanting to offload our Help Desk entirely to James and Benchmark 365 team.
When onboarding with Benchmark 365, a team of customer service and technical personnel are assigned to minimize the disruption & to tailor the right service model for each MSP.
Making this kind of change to your business model is significant. So we were determined to make this work. The team at Benchmark 365 guided us through a 90-day success program that included getting our documentation up to speed and setting up system access. You need to expend some effort, however, it’s a work-once, profit-many-times-over process! Well worth it.
Benchmark 365’s on-boarding process was professionally put together and the entire team came together doing their best to make the process a smooth as possible for us. In the beginning there was a a lot of back-and-forth between a couple of clients and the Benchmark 365 team. The fact that we lacked documentation on almost everything didn’t help! But, as time went on, the team learned more and more about our processes and clients.
You have to be prepared for some clients reacting negatively to a big change such as this. Things didn’t always go smoothly. But with James and the Benchmark 356 team, we were always able to rectify any issues rapidly. We sometimes got pushback from clients about calling or emailing the Help Desk versus communicating with us directly.
“We are proud to stand behind the Benchmark 356 team as they are a true extension of us at this point.:
You have to educate the client that their issues will be handled more effectively and faster via our new Help Desk – reminding them that we are always behind the scenes at the ready should any serious issues arise.
Better Customer Experiences
The fact that we know our clients are taken care of 24/7 and that our services are monitored and managed fully allows us to sleep easier and also take un-interrupted vacations! There’s no longer any ambiguity as to what time we are actually available to service requests. Some of our clients are central or east coast which made for a terrible time range compared to 9-5 PST. Now that we are truly 24/7, clients know they can get service at any time. Another bonus is that we can maintain and manage our backup services, patching and more – as we now have a team that can do those tasks at midnight.
Our clients tell us that that the service is prompt and follow through is excellent. The team is very polite and courteous. They are always on top of follow ups and initial responses. In the past, one of the biggest challenges was pinning down clients in order to service them. Everyone is busy so its great to have a team that is on top of the tickets.
From the beginning, Benchmark 365 has worked with us to make sure we have the right level and mix of tech skills. Any inconsistences are quickly rectified by further training or by replacing the resource. One thing I would really recommend is making sure your documentation is kept up to scratch. This is key in ensuring the Team continues to handle service requests quickly and efficiently.
Through Benchmark 365’s Weekly Partner Forum – MSP’s get to share with each other best practice on everything from pricing models to sales and marketing to customer success.
Real support to scale
A huge benefit is the KPIs that Benchmark 365’s provides us. It was alarming how certain clients on “unlimited plans” were putting in so many change requests and service requests that we couldn’t even bill for. This quickly made us realize how unprofitable some of our clients and their contracts were. Upgrading clients or even letting them go has been one of the biggest positive impacts on our profitability. We also realized that the top 20% of our clients were supporting the bottom 80%. The neediness and cheapness of our bottom tier clients meant we had to weed our garden, and Benchmark 365’s extremely accurate KPIs made sense of it all.
“Also, one of Benchmark 365’s best value adds is the Weekly Partner Forums. I get to be a part of a larger community of MSPs and share ideas on what works and what doesn’t.”
A better future
I used to measure success by how happy the team and I were to come to work. At the beginning of the year, both my partner and I would dread coming online because 95% of time was spent dealing with low level issues. Now we both are highly motivated to scale and streamline our processes and focus on driving revenue – and all this with better and better client relationships every day. So my new measurement of success is how motivated we are to grow and scale and increase profitability.
As James once stated we have a service engine with Benchmark 365 – now we need a Sales Engine. Time to rev up that Sales engine! I believe now that we have so much free time to focus on bigger picture things, the only thing that’s a limit is the sky itself!
So our goals our now – Scale, Scale, Scale. We want more higher quality clients and we want to double the client base next year and triple it the year after. It’s totally possible too with the help of Benchmark 365.
“Outsourcing our Help Desk and all of our service delivery needs has been tremendous driver in freeing up our time to focus on sales and marketing in order to scale. This is literally the only way to scale an MSP today and Benchmark 365 makes it possible.”
Benchmark 365 helps MSP’s lower costs, maximise sales and wow clients. As your offshore Private Label MSP Partner, we provide the around the clock Helpdesk, NOC, Level 1, 2 and 3 support you need to keep your clients loving what you do for them.