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Three Classic MSP Productivity Issues and How to Address Them

Your technicians live and breathe technology every day. They set up networks and VPNs; nstall and configure new hardware and software; and troubleshoot printers, laptops and other devices. So why are they still not as productive as they should be?

December 15, 2015

5 Min Read
Three Classic MSP Productivity Issues and How to Address Them

By N-able Guest Blog 2

Your technicians live and breathe technology every day. They set up networks and VPNs; install and configure new hardware and software; and troubleshoot printers, laptops and other devices. So why are they still not as productive as they should be? Here are three classic productivity issues facing today’s MSPs, along with best practice advice from our world-class elite partners on how to address them.

1. Old-School Habits

In spite of the advanced tools that MSPs are recommending to their clients, many MSP technicians are still taking notes with pen and paper. Often technicians do it the old way because the professional services automation (PSA) solutions they’re working with are too cumbersome and complex to use efficiently, especially in the field. So they jot down notes with the intention of entering the information into the system when they get back to the office. But notes can be incomplete—often scribbled on pieces of paper that get lost—and then the knowledge resides only in the technician’s head, which leads to inconsistent service.

What to do: An effective service management platform can make all the difference for transitioning a team of technicians to a new way of tracking their activity. But the key is to select an easy-to-use platform that offers standardized fields and formatting, allowing them to make updates in seconds—which means they’ll be more likely to log in and enter their notes. When it’s simple to enter the right information with the right amount of detail about each customer’s systems and devices, your technicians can work faster and more responsively.

If the platform is cloud-based, technicians can get a rundown of the customer’s IT environment–anywhere, anytime–from their laptop or mobile device, making it an easy decision to get rid of traditional notepads. While they’re on premise, technicians can also use the information residing in the platform to notify customers about upcoming expirations for domains, antivirus software, SSL certificates and more. This attention to detail translates into a huge bonus: improved customer service as client trust in the MSP’s capabilities grows.

2. No Time for the Details

If your technicians are using pen and paper or another manual system for tracking billable hours and maintaining customer information, substantial revenue could be slipping through your fingers. Your techs are probably commuting back to the office between service calls to access or update customer information. And they have too much “dead time” because you’re not able to schedule their days efficiently. Consider this: As he’s leaving a customer site, your technician takes 10 minutes to solve a minor problem. He thinks: Why bother entering time for something so small? So he doesn’t. What if this happens to him–and to all your other technicians–at least once every day? And what if it’s just the tip of an iceberg of inefficiency?

What to do: Cloud-based service management software gives technicians the ability to update and access information about all your customers, wherever they are. This means any technician can support any customer, resulting in faster and more responsive service. It also means your technicians don’t have to jot down or print customer info or commute back and forth to the office. Instead, they can capture more billable hours and more detail about jobs, which will ultimately give customers a better sense of the value you’re bringing to their business. Another upside: you get better insight on what’s happening in the field.

3. Poor Performance Management

When you improve the efficiency of your technician team, you can drive better response times, and a stronger customer experience. It’s that simple. But, as the saying goes, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. To realize improvements, you first need to measure the performance and efficiency of your team. But that’s where many MSPs fall short, because they lack simple tools that allow them to measure and manage their successes and shortcomings.

What to do: The heart of an effective service management platform is a centralized repository of customer information. When all the important information about your customers’ IT environments is stored in a consistent format that can be accessed from any device, it becomes easier for any technician to service any customer. It also helps new technicians get up to speed on all your customers much more quickly. Most importantly, with consolidated customer knowledge at their fingertips, your technicians can offer more valuable advice to your customers. This will help them see you not as just a vendor but as a trusted IT advisor.

Ticket to Success

From help desk, to technician management and billing, the right service management solution can drive improved service delivery and deliver greater insights into your business. A cloud-based service management platform also helps MSP executives and business owners allocate resources more efficiently, maximize technician time and capture more billable hours. Ultimately, it will help you turn better customer relationships into a better bottom line.

As channel sales manager for SolarWinds N-able, David Weeks works closely with the company’s top tier partners and major accounts worldwide to understand their needs, provide insight into current market conditions, and offer strategic sales and marketing recommendations. A regular presenter at the company’s global and regional summits, David is passionate about ensuring the success of SolarWinds N-able’s partner base. Guest blogs such as this one are published monthly and are part of MSPmentor’s annual platinum sponsorship.

 

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