Business Operations Business Practices MSP Technology SLAs

Who Sets Your Support Priorities? (Hint: It shouldn’t be your tech team)

One of the most difficult parts of owning a services business is developing, standardizing and then meeting SLAs. While most MSPs, including our own This Solution, have standard agreement levels with our customers. But even with standardization comes variances and exceptions within those contracts as we tweak for size or geographies, response time tolerance, unique vertical demands, etc.
Keeping tabs on those details can be painstaking and time-consuming. Perhaps more importantly, while executing against those contracts and SLAs is definitely a team effort, managing them is not. Unfortunately, many MSPs leave those details—which customer and project combination is a priority—to their tech team members to determine, which is not only ineffective but can be costly.
Let’s be clear, you hire your techs for their skill with technology, not to be the hallway monitors for your customer contracts. Asking them to do that is simply setting them up for frustration and your business up for potential failure.

Take the Guesswork Out of SLAs
As a manager, I want to have my SLAs integrated into my services automation tool. With ServiceTree, once a contract is in the solution, support tickets are intelligently routed by customer, project, SLA and more to ensure the right ticket is getting to the right tech at the right time. No longer will your techs have to look at a list of tickets from multiple customers and waste time trying to determine the next step.
Why is this important? Not only does our PSA solution enable the manager charged with coordinating your SLAs with a full line of sight into real-time activities tied to each contract, it keeps your technicians from having to look up each contract every time a ticket hits. More effective. More timely. More accurate. That is what a good services automation tool should do for your MSP business.
Want to see how we support SLAs in your business, check out our demo.

Business Practices Uncategorized

Keeping Your Most Skilled Assets Happy              

Paul Azad | ServiceTreeHi. My name is Paul, and I’m a techie. I love to solve problems, dig into weird patterns and tackle quirks in the network. But I’m also a business leader, so I know that using my talented team of tech experts well is the foundation for a successful managed services business.

When I talk to other business leaders—who are often also techies—the conversation quickly turns to how to make the most of the technical assets we invest in as part of our business. How do we enable technicians to focus on what they do best, keeping them challenged and busy without distractions? Utilization of technical talent can be one of the biggest hurdles to MSPs’ growth, for a number of reasons:

  • Techs aren’t getting the right tickets to put their skills to use in the best way, which is a waste of their talent and pushes your costs higher.
  • A lack of process for assigning tickets and then resolving problems with standardized (read: cost effective) workflows means you can’t use your junior techs effectively.
  • Techs are being asked to make prioritization decisions about tickets and clients without any insight into contracts and SLAs. It’s literally a guessing game.
  • The urge to pick out the most challenging ticket to work on can derail SLAs and leave your best techs working too long on a single problem while the demands of other clients go unmet.
  • Then there is the paperwork. Listen, no one likes paperwork, but when you’ve invested in a technician with high levels of expertise and valuable certifications, you don’t want them doing busy work like time cards. You want him or her working on tasks that deliver value to your customers.

So, how do business owners take that investment we’ve made into our technical talent, keep it engaged, focused and excited to deliver exceptional—and profitable—services?

Use The Right Tools To Keep Your Team Focused, Effective

My answer is simple: Don’t ask your techs to do anything but tech. Enabled by ServiceTree, your techs will see the next ticket and nothing else. They don’t need to worry about what is the right fit for them, or which client has what level of support in its contract.  The system has already evaluated and prioritized that ticket to deliver it to the tech best qualified to do the work and to meet the SLAs of the customers that have tickets in the system. No more wasting time tracking down a manager to find out when ticket should have priority. Instead, that technical team member can concentrate on the task at hand.

And, because of the process baked into ServiceTree, he or she also has all the information to execute a solution according to the preferences of our business.

What does that mean:

  • Techs only see the tickets they are assigned—no distractions.
  • Business best practices and workflows are customized and integrated into the tool to ensure repeatable, streamlined processes around every type of ticket, allowing junior techs to add value from nearly day one.
  • The system has already determined the right response time and priority for every single ticket.
  • Every minute spend on a ticket is automatically captured—keystrokes, screen shots, communications—everything. Your tech isn’t trying to remember how long it took to fix that server last week; the system tracks every step. No more timecards filled with guesstimates about how long a ticket resolution took.

This solution is a win for everyone. Empowering your techs to focus on their work, unhampered by debates over SLAs or paperwork, helps them become content, engaged members of the team. Happy, well-balanced teams deliver the best experience to your customers. When it all works, your team is more satisfied, your customers are happy, and your business is growing. Win. Win. Win.