How can a managed service provider (MSP) ensure its service team remains productive at all times? Here are three tips you can use to better manage your service team.

Dan Kobialka, Contributing writer

March 20, 2016

4 Min Read
Former Brainhunter CEO John Mehrmann
Former Brainhunter CEO John Mehrmann

For a managed service provider (MSP), having the ability to manage service tickets ensures its workflow remains efficient. 

In addition, an effective service management team includes service technicians who understand how service tickets should be handled and guarantee customers receive prompt, reliable support for their service issues.

Implementing an effective service management team, however, may seem challenging at times, particularly for an MSP that needs to manage many tasks simultaneously. 

So what does it take to better manage your service team? Here are three tips you can deploy to enjoy an effective service management team day after day: 

1. Establish a standard ticket process.

Standardization frequently plays an important role in service management. 

And with the right ticket process in place, you can scale your service management to ensure your service team can meet all of your customers’ needs consistently. 

“Service providers can’t afford to have a different service model for each customer. It is only by standardizing on repeatable processes that MSPs can scale,” IT management software company CA Technologies (CA) wrote in a white paper

CA Technologies also recommends a “manufacturing-style approach” to service delivery and support.

With this approach, you can establish a practice-based ticket process for your service team, CA Technologies pointed out, rather than design and deploy a ticket process from the ground up for each customer. 

“Growing MSPs need to move to more of a manufacturing style approach to service delivery and support, leveraging such ‘reusable parts’ as a formally defined service catalog, repeatable, well-defined processes and more,” CA Technologies pointed out. “When service providers establish best practice-based processes – rather than building services from the ground up for each customer – they gain a range of significant advantages.”

2. Hold your service team accountable. 

Your service team should include experts who can respond to your customers’ concerns and questions without delay. 

Each member of this team should take ownership for a service ticket and work with a customer to ensure a service problem is fully resolved. 

John Mehrmann, former CEO at career management tools network Brainhunter, noted that service technicians should try to respond to customer queries as best they can and work with customers to resolve their service problems.

In addition, incentivizing superior service may encourage your service team to deliver the best support possible at all times.

Customer satisfaction software provider Client Heartbeat, for instance, pointed out that incentivizing between 15 percent and 45 percent of a service technician’s pay based on service can deliver far-flung results for your company and its customers.

Using incentives can help make service technicians more accountable for their actions, Client Heartbeat noted, and ensure your service team achieves the best results day after day.

3. Use a “Customer Responded” metric.

Does your business use a “customer responded” metric when it evaluates its service team’s responses to customer tickets? If not, your company could be missing out on valuable data it could use to bolster its service levels.

Business intelligence (BI) dashboards provider ConnectSMART noted that it is insufficient for today’s MSPs to simply keep in touch with a customer by phone or email.

Instead, these service providers must monitor “customer responded” rates to help ensure all service requests are fulfilled consistently.

“It’s important to flag any ticket updated via email or web portal as ‘Customer Responded.’ The way this exception works is that the flag only gets cleared when a ticket is opened or manually unchecked. A workflow is triggered to change the status to be ‘Customer Responded’ when it is in the state of last updated by the customer, as long as it is not a child ticket. This makes it super easy to manage,” ConnectSMART wrote in a blog post.

Furthermore, ConnectSMART suggests implementing a rule that service technicians must respond to all customer tickets before the end of their work shifts.

No service technician wants to go through a wide range of service tickets before closing time, ConnectSMART said. Thus, service technicians likely will respond to customer tickets as soon as they receive these notifications, ConnectSMART noted, which can help an MSP improve its customer satisfaction rates.

Devote the necessary time and resources to improve your service management. By doing so, you’ll be able to better manage your service team and respond to service tickets quickly and efficiently.  

How do you manage your service team? Share your thoughts about this story in the Comments section below, via Twitter @dkobialka or email me at [email protected].

Send tips and story ideas to [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Dan Kobialka

Contributing writer, Penton Technology

Dan Kobialka is a contributing writer for MSPmentor and Talkin' Cloud. In the past, he has produced content for numerous print and online publications, including the Boston Business Journal, Boston Herald and Dan holds a M.A. in Print and Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College and a B.A. in English from Bridgewater State College (now Bridgewater State University). In his free time, Kobialka enjoys jogging, traveling, playing sports, touring breweries and watching football (Go Patriots!).  

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