MSPs rely on a variety of tools to run their businesses efficiently. Measuring how much time it takes for a technician to do routine tasks like documentation and timekeeping can show where certain employees are lacking. Taking longer can indicate a need for more training on the tools they’re using—which is an easy fix. However, in order to measure they’re performance, you must track these types of activities. This is one of the reasons to make technicians accountable for every minute of their day. Once you measure all of their activity you can find inefficiencies and address them. Make sure to check with your vendors to see if they offer technician training to save you time.
It can be tricky to measure technical skills. The easiest way to do it is to look at similar types of tickets and average resolution times per tech for each type of ticket. The techs who take longer could use additional training on that particular type of ticket. For example, if technician A always takes longer than technician B to work tickets involving firewalls, get technician B to train technician A on common firewall issues and their resolutions. Better yet, capture that training in a knowledgebase article you can share with the entire team.
Lastly is customer service. This one can be tricky for two reasons:
- Technicians are not usually an outgoing bunch
- Soft skills are often lost on technically inclined people
Chances are your entire team could use some training from your sales team. However, as one of my favorite management professionals, Peter Drucker, says, “you can't manage what you can't measure.” Measuring customer satisfaction is important. If you aren’t doing it already, try capturing the net promoter score (NPS) for each closed ticket. NPS is measured by asking one simple question, “how likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?”
This question gauges the overall state of the customer but is heavily influenced by their most recent transaction (ticket). If you want you can add the words “Based on this latest issue,” to make it more relevant to the ticket at hand. High performing technicians will generate more positive NPS scores while underperformers will be easily identifiable. You can get more detailed in your surveys if you want but be careful not to make them too complicated. Once you’ve identified technicians who could use more training in this area, coach them using online materials or books to help them see the value in better customer service skills.
How do you get technicians to change?
One final note, incentives go a long way to create a spirit of healthy competition around these issues. Focus on one at a time to keep things simple and rotate throughout the year. Ongoing improvement involves a cycle of employee goal setting, weekly one-on-ones, coaching, and feedback. For more information on one-on-ones, feedback, and coaching, check out https://www.manager-tools.com/.
Technicians are simultaneously your most expensive and most valuable resource. They can generate a lot of revenue and profit if used efficiently. They can also cost a lot of money and decrease profits if you don’t utilize them well. It’s up to you, as the owner/manager, to set goals, measure activity, identify issues, and correct underperformers.
Eric Anthony is the Head Operations Nerd at SolarWinds MSP. Before joining SolarWinds, Eric ran his own managed services provider business for over six years.
You can follow Eric on Twitter at @operations_nerd