Time is money. That may be an old cliché, but every entrepreneur understands how true it really is. While there are 24 hours in a day, neither the owner of an MSP nor their employees will typically work around the clock (at least not EVERY day). That’s why successful providers continually seek to improve their process efficiencies and team productivity. Without that focus, it becomes extremely difficult to balance your SLA commitments and other contractual obligations while, at the same time growing sales and hitting profit goals. The equilibrium needed to achieve each of the organization’s objectives comes from proper planning and execution of the processes that are put in place.
That’s why it’s so important for MSPs to design efficient procedures such as best help desk practices for their organization, fully document them, and then automate as much of their operations as possible. And successful managed services providers who have the best help desk practices don’t just stop there, they continue to augment their portfolios, as well as the internal and external processes required to effectively and efficiently support new products and services. Just remember, when you automate a bad process it may make it faster, but not any better. Take care to validate each procedure before making it part of your business routine if you want your business to be recognized for having best help desk practices.
Increasing efficiency should be a goal for all MSPs, seeking improvements in every area of the business at all times. When providers empower their teams to look for better ways to design, manage, and deliver solutions, creativity and productivity are sure to improve. The challenge typically inspires skilled IT professionals to generate innovative ideas and help solve new challenges—especially when their employer incentivizes these contributions. Whether proposing a new work order routing scheme to reduce resolution time or a GPS-based field service program to improve the technical team’s productivity, each adopted suggestion should at least be acknowledged. Cash rewards are typically well-received, but other inducements can have the same effect.
Smoothing Out the Productivity Kinks
Another major challenge to business efficiency is ensuring that all employees are productive. And that doesn’t just apply to the sales team driving revenue and the technical staff focused on solving issues and creating solutions for the clients. For a small MSP business, these may be the only employees and could be asked to assist in other areas when needed. To close a complex deal with a large prospect, it may require the help of the entire staff—including the office manager or receptionist.
Of course, a company could always hire new employees in hopes of securing a major contract, but that’s a risk most wouldn’t take. The time and investment required to recruit, onboard and properly train a worker are significant. The cash reserves needed to cover these costs can be a major roadblock to an emerging MSP, a pipe dream for most —unless they like to gamble.
So, without taxing their limited professional team or investing in resources they don’t need (yet), how does an IT services company land new business clients? One way to do it efficiently is to outsource part of the support services or portfolio, at least until the business (and associated revenue) is there to sustain your own dedicated team.
Live Help desk is a logical subcontracting option, allowing the company’s in-house technical staff to focus on new clients and contracts. Not only is the MSP able to provide their clients with access to a qualified team of professionals who will handle their support needs, but will likely be able to expand their service capabilities. Some providers even leverage their outsourced partners to help design and demo certain solutions.
There are many ways to streamline an MSP’s processes and remove any kinks in their workflow. Whether eliminating unnecessary maintenance steps or realigning work teams to better leverage employee capabilities, frequent reviews are beneficial to uncovering efficiency opportunities.
After these improvements have been implemented in the MSP’s business, they should be automated to maximize the results. For example, when contracting with a helpdesk provider that maintains best help desk practices such as GMS, the two companies should be able to leverage each other’s PSA systems to speed and properly document communications. That provides continuity with service tickets and creates a single resource point for both the MSP and helpdesk technical teams. When a client has a problem, internal or external service employees can work the issue or provide answers to their questions—acting as a single, cohesive support group. Automation makes it faster and seamless.
Other automation options include integration of accounting systems with the PSA, connecting VoIP to a CRM application to streamline sales and support calls, and the addition of website tools to speed the sales process. Business doesn’t have to be so complicated, at least not when MSPs apply some oil to the machine regularly.