The modern world is full of distractions. Whether it’s e-mails, SMS, Telephone calls, instant messaging or even colleagues chit-chat, it’s easy for any of us to become interrupted from what we really should be concentrating on.
Within the Helpdesk or Service Delivery department, the very nature of the environment can seemingly be interrupt driven. The bread and butter of most MSP services is providing Technical Support, advice and guidance to clients who contact them via telephone, e-mail and other methods.
There is typically a steady stream of support requests from clients, and as a a result, it becomes very easy to be distracted from whatever you are currently working on to whatever interruption next presents itself.
Some researchers believe that it can take up to 15 minutes for us to regain complete focus after a distraction. Within a Service Delivery environment, if you’re constantly being bombarded with distractions such as telephone calls - then things become very stressful very quickly.
The result of all these distractions in a Service Delivery environment is that engineers often rush to get jobs completed, eager to finish up before they are distracted.
If a distraction, such as another telephone call from a different client, comes in while an engineer is working on an existing problem – either the engineer drops what he is doing and focuses on the new problem, frustrating the existing client who wants their problem fixed, or the engineer returns to the existing problem with the new problem in his mind – distracted from the job at hand.
It’s a no-win situation, for engineers, for clients and for the business. So how can you improve this?
The solution is to remove the distractions, and encourage engineers to focus on doing one job at a time, properly, before moving onto the next job.
For the small MSP service who may only have one or two engineers and are not ready to take on further staff yet, engaging the services of an outsourced call answering service provider may be the answer. It’s important to find a call answering service that is manned by friendly and reliable professionals, as they will be representing your business to your clients. Work with the provider to help them understand who your clients are, their key members of staff, and how to deal with incoming calls effectively.
Then, turn off Voicemail on your engineer’s mobiles and forward unanswered calls to the Call Answering service. During busy periods, set the office landline to direct to the Call Answering service. The Call Answering service team can make a decision whether the call is urgent and to patch it through to you directly, or to take a message and forward it to you via SMS for semi-urgent calls, or e-mail for non-urgent calls.
If you’re worried that your clients won’t accept you not being on the other end of a phone instantly, then realize that typically, as long as clients have their expectations set for when they will receive a response, they’ll be happy.
What’s more, most clients will understand that you have to prioritize your time in order to serve them best. A server down situation always gets priority over a printer problem - and if your client was the one experiencing the server down situation, you know they’d hope you’d have your priorities straight!
By minimizing the distraction of telephone calls and taking this approach, as a small IT Solution Provider you can concentrate on the job at hand rather than being pulled from pillar-to-post.
As the former owner of an award winning IT Managed Service Provider, Richard Tubb works with MSPs to help them increase sales, take on employees and build up relationships with key industry contacts. You don't have to do it alone any more - contact Richard and have a chat about your needs and how he can help you.
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