Call me a bit nosy, but I like knowing what’s going on in other IT organizations. As someone who’s been in the tech industry for decades, I know what an optimized process and healthy workplace looks like, and I also care that tech teams are functioning at their best – that’s why I started ServiceTree in the first place.
When it comes to a knowledge base (KB) platform, you will find that people belong to one of two groups.
Social distancing measures during the coronavirus pandemic have resulted in slapdash transitions to a remote workplace. Naturally, I was curious to see how other MSPs are handling the transition, and I’ve been fortunate enough to talk to MSPs all around the world.
Going from one MSP to another, it’s fascinating to see the similarities and also the differences in how we in the MSP community are delivering very similar services, yet going about it in very different ways.
Which PSA is the best? Perhaps that is a very biased question. For those who are a ConnectWise or Autotask you may say…
Process —ahh, that word again. The word that makes most business owners and entrepreneurs cringe. But why?
ServiceTree will be replacing its full-stack software with a plugin that seamlessly integrates with ConnectWise Manage and Autotask.
Most people are surprised when I say that a fast food restaurant and an MSP have elements in common.
One of the questions that invariably pops up when any group of MSP owners are talking is price.
What do you charge? How do you charge? What’s your best margin solution?
My answer to that question is fairly simple: Your services automation tool should answer those questions. You should be able to see the uptime (or downtime) of any solution you deploy with your customers, You should be able to easily see what products are consistently triggering support tickets, and which solutions are sailing along smoothly.
The cost of a solution isn’t its price tag, it’s the cost to your business to keep that solution delivering in your customer’s environment.
Many MSPs struggle with pricing because they don’t have or don’t know how to use the data from their own business. How do I know that? Because, in the early days of our own MSP business, This Solution, we were running blind. We were constantly trying to understand and, in some cases, micromanage our costs. The issue? We weren’t looking at our staff as a cost we could effectively manage. Instead, we were completely focused on what products we could squeeze more money out of. We also weren’t delving into where our products were adding to our costs by routinely demanding technician attention. It’s at the intersection of labor and product where most bad things happen for MPS businesses.
Tried, Tested in a Real MSP Environment
When we invested in the technology that became ServiceTree, we knew that having accurate, real-time data about each solution we deploy, in each customer’s site, was elemental to not only delivering a good customer experience but also pricing our services and offerings correctly to maintain margin.
That’s why our tool’s UI clearly shows data on each solution, its ticketing history and more. With our real-time data, MSPs can see what costs money—wasted tech time, troublesome products, needy customers (come on, we’ve all been there …). After you act to right the ship, you can then easily track the impact of whatever change you make—the data will tell the tale.
Sometimes a troubled business can make one simple change to staffing, to a product line or support level in a contract, and see a tremendous impact on their margins and, ultimately, the bottom line. Learn how our intuitive UI helps you see real-time data from your business and make seeing trends and hiccups easy.
Hi. 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.