Process —ahh, that word again. The word that makes most business owners and entrepreneurs cringe. But why? Is it because we like to just create our own roads and make something happen that others haven’t been able to before – and that in itself would mean we don’t like the following process? I would say there is a 99% chance that yes, that’s the exact reason.
I know the feeling; I personally have, in my MSP, for many, many years been in this exact situation. You want your team to follow the elusive (and in many cases convoluted, time-consuming and undocumented) process – but when you need to do the tickets – all that goes out the door. We just jump in and fix the issue, leaving every thought of following a process in the dust.
I can honestly say that I was in this exact position the day my COO came to me and said if I wasn’t going to follow the process (which we had built and documented), then he would not make anyone else follow the process either. That was a damning moment in my business life. My MSP had entered teenage hood — it was 13 years old, and I felt it was being rebellious to me. I can’t say that the thought of firing my COO hadn’t crossed my mind (sorry Anton, it 100% did), but it also brought the realization to the cause of this exact issue. This was a turning point for me because it was the beginning of what I called ‘Project Leonard.” As I am a huge fan of The Big Bang Theory, and have been compared to Sheldon many times, my project is now ServiceTree Connect.
Ok, so what does this all have to do with service requests and that P word. It’s pretty simple. As business owners, we want to have our business run without us having to jump in all the time to keep things flowing. We want to be adventurous and push the boundary, but we 100% don’t want all our team to do this exact same thing.
As business owners, how often are we pulled into day-to-day operations due to something that should have been done and vice versa? Be honest with yourself, and you will find that if you take your ‘senior tech/lead tech’ hat off, then it happens more often than we want. The root cause of this is because our team didn’t follow the process. They didn’t communicate to the customer, the other tech, or their manager. As techs (yes I am 100% one of them), we are not extremely effective at communicating.
My AHA Moment
A lot of the communication issue is centralized around not putting the information into the PSA. Back to the aha moment for me – it was the process of doing tickets because the admin side of doing tickets was painful. As techs, we love doing all the tech side of our job, but please don’t make us follow the process. We don’t like clicking buttons, sending emails, or updating notes.
To be successful, the ticket process needs to be simple, intuitive and not laborious. Look at what your techs are doing today and ask whether they enjoy doing the other side of tech — the admin and process side. Would you do it every business day and enjoy it? I really doubt it. I know I didn’t – and so I spent years (and a lot of money) to find and fix the root cause.
When talking about the ticket process, we can’t forget to discuss chat support or email support. Like many of the established MSPs, I am not a fan of either chat support option. Many MSPs look to these two forms of support, but would you want your team to try and fix an issue via email/chat? If they have an issue now, then they want it fixed immediately, not to chat back and forth via messages.
Your customers are paying their staff to do their job, so do you think they would appreciate extending the time to resolve an issue just because it is (supposedly) cheaper for you to deliver support via email or chat? When does the SLA of the ticket start?
For those that don’t have an SLA, how do you know if you are doing well and achieving what your customers expect? If you don’t have an SLA, then the truth is that the only thing you have to compare to your competitors is your price, and we all know how that one ends.
On this same token, look at your personal life. You’re a consumer of many other brands. Look at how the companies that you interact with use one of these two methods of support and how happy are you with that. Keep in mind that support for many consumer products is not a paid service; rather, it’s an assumed service as part of the purchase. Imagine paying $100 per year to add support to your brand new top of the range 85” ultra-thin TV, then being told that you need to use email or chat support to resolve any issues that come up. Yes, I thought you would reconsider it, too.
Managing Service Requests and Process
So how should we manage service requests and the process of doing the tickets? Make it as simple as possible. Ensure it’s simple and easy so that everyone will follow the process and the tool. If you look at an MSP, there is usually only one process for providing support, and there would be another process for selling and supplying an item to the customer. Perhaps there are another one or two processes if you are working on a project in-house. But that’s it – seriously. The difference between fixing an issue on Outlook versus a printer that’s not working is a similar process. It’s actually just a different procedure – not a different process. Simplify your MSP and your processes, and it’s a sure fire way to improve your customer satisfaction and increase profits. Take it from me: it works remarkably well.
If you’re not sure how to make your service requests or ticketing process more simple, let’s chat. I’d be happy to show you a demo of how ServiceTree CONNECT™ integrates with ConnectWise or Autotask to help maximize your current PSA and make your processes more efficient.
Want to learn more about how ServiceTree CONNECT™ improves consistency, streamlines workflow and saves your MSP money? Sign up for a demo here.
Author Paul Azad is founder of ServiceTree. Read more ServiceTree blogs here.