If you have been following along with our Growth Hacking for MSPs series of posts, you probably now have a good idea of what growth hacking is and how you can apply the principles to your MSP. We have already demonstrated different ways to use analytics, deep learning, and automation to optimize and grow your company through a sales, marketing, and operations lens. We now look to apply this concept to the service and support sides of the business.
‘Help Desk’ labor and staffing tends to be one of the largest expenses on the profit and loss statement for almost any IT provider. This means that even slight changes in this area can make a significantly large impact on your bottom line. To make small improvements, you first need to have the right data to know what exactly is happening, and the right tools to fix it.
If you are an IT company that has committed to the managed services model, then it is highly likely you use a Professional Service Automation (PSA) platform. These tools serve as the interface from which your entire company operates. If you are not creating custom workflows in your PSA, then you should do so immediately. This can be a great way to automate the manual processes that take up valuable resource time.
Automating ticket follow-up
A perfect example of this strategy is the use of automation for Level 1 & 2 ticket follow-ups. Not every ticket can be closed on the first call. For this reason, Help Desk tickets can often be like sales leads. If contact is not made when the request is still at its “warmest” state, the request can get “cold” and making contact can be difficult. Compound this over hundreds or thousands of tickets and you end up with an overstaffed Help Desk that is eating into your profits.
Creating automation workflows to follow-up on tickets and schedule call-back appointments can be a great way to growth hack your service department. Using analytics to identify trends, you can refine these workflows and ensure they are working at the precise efficiency you are looking for.
Tracking queue balances
Measuring the productivity of your service team can be challenging, even with the help of a PSA. Level 1 tickets can spike at any moment, leaving your team scrambling and taking days or even weeks to restore the queue back to a normal balance of tickets. At the same time, it is also a common problem for the queue to slowly creep up over a long period of time. When this happens, it’s because there are more tickets being opened than being closed every day, creating a negative impact on the queue balance.
The best way to prevent this from happening is by actively tracking your queue balance in a PSA dashboard and measuring the “net productivity” of your service department at the end of every business day, week, month, quarter, and year. The goal for every period of measurement should be simple. Your team should be able to close more tickets than were opened during that time.
For example, your Level 1 service queue might have 250 tickets opened in one day. Your team closed 255 tickets in that same period, thus reducing your queue balance by five tickets. While this may seem like an insignificant impact in the short-term, repeating this consistently will ensure that queues and progress are maintained at a healthy level. This ensures that even if you add or remove customers that produce tickets, the overall productivity is still able to be measured effectively. If you are growing your company and adding customers, then your queue will likely grow as well. This metric will allow you to set goals that scale with your company.
Lowering Queue Balances
When your service team sits down at their desk each morning with a common goal, it has a great effect on the culture of your department. If you can reward and celebrate them for achieving that goal, the cultural impact is even greater. Structuring team bonuses around lowering the service queues is an excellent way to get your team to buy-in. The additional expense of bonuses is far less than the constant turnover that occurs when service queues become bloated and team morale is at an all-time low.
Using your PSA dashboards as their guide, your team should always know their real-time net productivity against the balance on each queue and how close they are to achieving the goal. This will keep the team engaged and always aware of where they stand. Having deployed this exact model in our own MSP, I can speak to the impact that it had on our team. In walking past our Help Desk, I often popped in and asked, “Where do we stand on our queue balances?” Someone in the room always knew exactly where we were and how many tickets we needed to accomplish our next goal.
For more ways to grow your Managed IT Business through integration and analytics, follow the Growth Hacking for MSPs series right here on Smarter MSP. More in-depth coverage and actionable examples of the topic can also be found on MSP Growth Hacks.
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