In April, Ian Waters posted a blog called “What’s in Your Toolkit—Essential Tools for MSPs and IT Technicians”. As a long-time MSP, Ian itemized the collection of software and hardware tools he has found to be essential in doing his job more effectively. It’s a comprehensive list, but I’d like to add one more thing.
The Information You Need Anytime, Anywhere
If your business offers any kind of onsite support service, the key to efficiency (and billing more hours!) is to arm your technicians with everything they need when they’re out and about. And what they need most is information. Instant access to things like:
- Customer contact details—people, locations, service packages, devices, and systems
- All tickets and ticket history
- Asset information—models, serial numbers, and software license expiry info
- Passwords—three permission levels allow access only to designated technicians
- Procedures and internal notes so setups and tasks can be repeated correctly
- Their appointment schedule and directions to those clients
All this information is invaluable when you’re on-site, and if you already have a robust helpdesk and billing system you’re half the way there. If it’s cloud-based, everything should be synched and accessible anytime, anywhere, and from virtually any device.
Access to Crucial Business Information
But techs also need help with things like time tracking, expense reports, and ticket upkeep. This is the sort of minutia technicians hate, as it takes their time away from providing customer support.
From a business point of view that “minutia” is of paramount importance to the business as a whole. Here’s why:
- Time and billing must be tracked accurately and in a timely way or it will have a negative effect on cash flow.
- Accurate ticket details and asset information makes future work more efficient, especially when work is done by multiple technicians. That information is always more accurate when it is entered at the point where it happened.
- Standardization is at the heart of profitability for an MSP, access to information, passwords and procedure documents can keep the work done by your techs immediately “in-hand” while keeping it safe and secure at the same time.
So what they need is a tool that is intuitive, lightning fast and designed to make frequent tasks dead simple. They need:
- Their tickets and schedule front and center
- Super quick ticket creation
- Instant notification of new tickets assigned to them or key status changes with a ticket
- The ability to take a photo and attach it to a ticket or note
- One-click start and pause time tracking, and the ability to stack timers if the tech is working multiple tickets at once
- Simple ways to take notes and log expenses
- Easy mapping of the day’s appointments so less time is spent en route, and more is spent resolving issues
- Everything kept up-to-date, always
It’s not just about what the techs need to access (everything), but also how they want to access it, and how they want to work.
That’s why we’ve redesigned the SolarWinds® MSP Manager™ Mobile app. It’s been specifically recreated to make field work easier; extending accessibility to the device that nearly everyone keeps close at hand, all the time.
Speed and Convenience
The MSP Manager Mobile app is all about speed and convenience with features like:
- Quick Ticket—Open a ticket with four quick pieces of information, all chosen from drop-downs.
- Time Trackers—With just a few clicks, you can start and pause Time Trackers to automatically report time spent with a customer. And timers can be “stacked” if a tech is working multiple issues.
- My Dashboard—Technicians can instantly see their tickets and schedule.
- Quick Login—Technicians don’t have to enter a password every time they use the app. Four-digit or fingerprint sign-in, for phones that support it, make it quick to fire up the app.
- Push Notifications—Get instant notifications of new tickets or status changes on the phone, or on an Apple Watch®. (image)
- Photo Attachment—Documenting error messages, configurations, or wiring details can all be quickly and easily. Photos can be attached to tickets and notes saving typing.
- Easy Expense Reporting—Again, with just a few clicks you can report items purchased for customers, such as cables, equipment, dongles, or software.
- Optimum Route Mapping—Planning the most efficient driving route for a day of on-site visits with mapping of all locations.
You can’t carry every tool you will need, but having a comprehensive selection of tools is essential for any field technician. It’s worth it, as you will save time and money—getting more done in a single visit and avoiding a return trip.
Eric Anthony is Principal, Customer Experience, SolarWinds MSP. He has owned two separate IT service companies: one break/fix (for 10 years), the other an MSP (for seven years) in the Central Florida market servicing a variety of SMBs.
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