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In my previous article, I recommended that MSPs make decisions based on clearly defined metrics, rather than just your gut feelings. In this post, I want to take a deeper dive into the value of managing your MSP business with metrics, by including a stories from MSPs that serve as great examples.

One MSP I know recently implemented a new backup and disaster recovery (BDR) solution from a well-known MSP vendor. This MSP rolled this solution out across their client base in the hopes of reducing their costs and increasing the resiliency of their clients. However, after a single quarter, it became apparent to the MSP owner that his engineers were spending a lot of time fixing problems with the BDR units.

The MSP owner had a gut feeling about this, from speaking to his engineers, but when he checked his help desk metrics, this gut feeling was born out in fact – the BDR solution was taking up too much of his help desk’s time to be profitable for his business.

So, armed with these metrics, our MSP owner approached the vendor and explained the challenge. Given the metric-based evidence, the vendor responded quickly.

They deployed a special technical support team to help sort out the issues with the BDR units, which then reduced the number of support tickets the engineers needed to work on. Plus, the MSP owner renegotiated with the vendor and was able to reduce his cost on the BDR solution , based on his need to turn a profit.

This is another example of where a fact-based decision can take the emotional aspect out of any tough conversation.

Using metrics to lower MSP business’ cost of support

The third and final example I’ll give of using fact-based decisions to grow your MSP business is related to the question I asked you above. Do you know how many times specific employees at your client’s call your help desk?

Based on a conversation with one of her engineers, an MSP owner I worked with decided to dig into their Professional Services Automation (PSA) tool to find out. This MSP owner told me that one of her engineers had told her “Sally is always ‘phoning us asking for help with Microsoft Excel!”

The MSP owner reviewed the metrics and found that, yes, Sally ‘phoned her Helpdesk at least 5 times every month to ask questions about Microsoft Excel’. Given the time her help desk was spending supporting Sally, our MSP owner did some calculations. If they could reduce, or indeed eliminate Sally’s calls to the help desk, how much more profitable would this client contract be? Armed with the facts, our MSP owner made a decision.

They called Sally’s boss and explained that they’d noticed Sally was a heavy user of Excel. The MSP owner asked her client “Could we arrange for Sally to have some Excel training?” When the client heard that this training would be offered to Sally at no additional cost, they were delighted!

Sally got her Excel training. Sure, it cost our MSP some time and money in delivering the training. But, the metrics don’t lie. Three months on, and Sally has only made one call to the help desk to ask for Microsoft Excel assistance. The cost of the MSP supporting this client (and Sally!) has plummeted.

This MSP used a fact-based decision to calculate a better ROI for the client, which subsequently lowered their costs and increased their profits.

The phrase “What can be managed, can be measured” should be every MSP’s mantra. By measuring the activities you take on within your MSP business, you can find opportunities to lower your cost of support, increase client satisfaction and boost your profits. Furthermore, by making fact-based decisions, as opposed to relying on gut-feeling alone, you can make those awkward conversations that bit easier to have.

The lesson here is simple. Measure everything in your MSP and don’t rely on gut feeling alone!

Photo: chainarong06 / Shutterstock

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Richard Tubb

Posted by Richard Tubb

Richard Tubb is a blogger, speaker, and author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the Northeast of England. He provides expert advice to help MSPs grow their IT business, and he has helped the owners of hundreds of MSPs to free up their time, concentrate on doing what is important, and make more money.

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