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The Key Things to Look for in a Managed Service Provider According to Experts

You may not know which criteria matter most when looking for a managed service provider to manage a critical function or process for your organization. It is important that you get a good return on your investment, but you also want a partner who can scale and grow with your organization as it grows. Sometimes, it is difficult to find both in one provider.

In spite of the fact that two or more service providers may seem similar when it comes to the types of services they offer and their prices, you should consider other factors before choosing one. In your ideal managed service partner, you should look for the following characteristics:

Selecting a Managed Service Provider: 10 Factors to Consider

1. Expertise in the industry

There’s a good chance that some of your organization’s needs are influenced by your industry, regardless of the service. Because norms and legal requirements vary by industry, working with a service provider who has experience working with organizations like yours is essential.

“The most important thing to look for in an MSP is a company with a proven track record of providing quality managed services.” According to Ivan Marusic, CEO of RPG Overload.

A healthcare organization must hire a background check company that has proven success in meeting industry-specific screening requirements. A healthcare employer, for example, needs a screening company that is skilled in conducting sanction checks and credential verifications, even though some screening services might be the same across industries, such as a criminal records search or a trace of a social security number (SSN).

2. The accreditation process

Industry accreditation is one key characteristic that indicates a provider’s ability to operate at the highest levels of work quality, compliance, professionalism, and other criteria.

“Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) accreditation indicates that background screening providers meet strict standards that apply to all background screening providers. In the absence of accreditation from the PBSA, screening companies are likely to perform to varying standards of compliance, business processes, professionalism, and accuracy.” According to Sofia Hamberg, Content Director of Flightradar UK.

3. Automation Technology

“It is crucial that a quality managed service provider has the technology to automate manual processes and improve work efficiency—and not just any technology. The difference between service providers who use proprietary software tailored to meet client needs and those who use third-party, white-labeled technologies tailored to meet service provider needs can be noticeable.” According to Benjamin Stenson, CEO & Founder of Norsemenco.

When evaluating a service provider’s technology capability, you should also look for software capable of integrating with your existing systems, such as background screening software integrated with your applicant tracking system (ATS). To help you work more efficiently, the provider should offer technology in combination with human judgment and analysis.

4. Customization to Your Specific Needs

Providing the basic level of service is an entry-level qualification for managed service providers, so selecting a provider who can customize its offerings is critical.
A Deloitte survey revealed that 71% of executives prefer service providers to innovate rather than merely improve back-office functions. If you’re looking for a service provider who offers custom, innovative solutions, you’re not alone. “You should expect a provider to listen to your needs and customize solutions that support your organization’s growth and goals instead of engaging in a relationship where services are offered almost like commodities.” According to Wilmer Meyers, CEO of MoseWorth.

5. Turnaround times that are efficient

Business today is fast-paced and you don’t have time for slow or inefficient service providers. However, a fast service won’t help you if it’s filled with errors, compliance risks, or missing crucial information.

It is fortunately possible to achieve efficiency and accuracy when you work with a managed service provider who is experienced and capable. “You can work with a provider who offers industry-leading turnaround times and quality background screening services in the case of background screening. You get accurate background data, so you don’t make poor hiring decisions that hurt your organization’s reputation and bottom line.” According to Paul Robert, Content Director of Strategic SEO Solutions.

6. Services of a comprehensive nature

“When it comes to provider selection, it’s important to consider a provider’s range of services so that your organization can maintain future service level agreements. For example, you may need basic services such as a criminal records search, SSN trace, employment verification, and drug screening. But over time, you may want more specialized services such as continuous monitoring or fingerprinting.” According to Dave Melendez, COO of Maxi Benefit.

7. Pricing that is transparent

Obviously, you are interested in reviewing the upfront fees associated with specific services, but if you look deeper than the upfront fees, you can see the difference between a provider who offers value and one who is focused solely on profits.

“You can tell if a service provider offers transparent pricing by asking if you’re paying only for the services you need or if you’re paying for bundled services, which you may not even need. To understand the value of each dollar you invest in a service, this is an important question. Bundled services often promise value, but may be little more than an attempt to charge you for services you don’t use.” According to Florentino Wilkins, CEO of Arrow Head Hunter.

8. Support for compliance and risk management

When you work with a compliant screening provider, you get help navigating applicable laws to spare your organization costly lawsuits, fines, and other penalties.

9. Processes for Quality Assurance

“While no managed service provider will claim it is not committed to quality, not all vendors possess the necessary quality assurance processes. It is important to look for proven processes that will reduce errors and inconsistencies in reporting when evaluating a provider. Ask about the processes the service provider relies on to consistently deliver quality rather than accepting verbal guarantees.” According to Shayne Proctor, CFO of Hog Today.

10. Support for customers

In order to provide you with the level of service you need, you cannot rely on an online knowledge base or an overseas call center. As a result, you require a partner who listens to your questions and offers solutions to address any pain points that arise. A managed service provider who works as a trusted partner offers the following customer support:

  • You will be assigned a dedicated customer success manager
  • Phone support from a U.S.-based company
  • Direct messaging services integrated into your platform

The Best Managed Service Provider for Your Organization

According to RFP360, evaluating managed service providers can take 6-10 weeks on average. If you want to make the most of your time, you should distinguish among the many options available to you and decide which one will work best for your company. All critical variables that matter to you should be considered when designing a thorough RFP process in order to achieve success.

To identify the ideal managed service provider, conduct the following steps:

  • Make sure you do your homework before inviting providers to your RFP, such as those with poor online reviews and those not accredited by a reputable industry association.
  • During the discovery process, you can share your expectations with prospective providers and learn how they approach service delivery. In most cases, a 15-minute conversation with a potential provider can help you determine if he or she is aligned with your needs and should be invited to the RFP.
  • Deepen your RFP questions: Ask about more than what providers do and for what price, but how they do it and how they deliver value.
  • Ensure all relevant stakeholders are involved in the selection process, including internal champions, process owners, and end users.
  • Establish a long-term partnership with service providers

When there are so many options available, deciding which service provider is the best one for your organization is not an easy task. Your list of prospective providers will increase if you consider the necessary variables and operate an RFP process focused on more than just price.

When evaluating background check companies to help improve the effectiveness of your hiring process, you can identify your ideal partner by reviewing criteria such as price transparency, technology integration, customization, and more.